09:37:19 am on
Thursday 22 Aug 2019

Wasted Effort
AJ Robinson

Following World War II, America and Europe saw the United Nations (UN) as a genuine opportunity for world peace. They wanted to work, through the UN, toward preventing yet another global conflict. After all, there had been two world wars in just over twenty years; “Never Again” was a mantra for the time.

► To solve world poverty.

Solving worldwide poverty became the vehicle for sustained peace. The search was on for a grandiose scheme that would eradicate poverty in no time. After all, need and want was often a key cause of conflict and war.

I remember reading about one project: fish farms in Bangladesh. Did you ever eat a fish from Bangladesh? Probably not and there’s a good reason you haven’t, there aren’t many fish for sale in Bangladesh. As this example suggests, the post-war project to lessen, if not eradicate, poverty was a spectacular failure.

Huge sums of money went down the drain. Many millions of dollars went to bribes, graft and corruption. In the end, there was no help, for anyone.

Today, there are many new programmes, which are more reasonable, more modest and less grandiose. All over the world, groups, companies and even private citizens offer microloans, mostly to women, as they’re usually the main support the family and local economy. I’ve seen stories about several successful efforts.

► Microloans.

One programme, I know of, gives loans of no more than $100 US to individuals. A man received a loan to help him earn a living. He drove a taxi, which he rented on a daily basis. He spent a good part of the day paying the car rental fee. Only then did he make money to support his family.

Once he owned the taxi, his circumstances changed. In a few months, he had enough money to buy a second taxi. He rent the second taxi it out to other drivers. He became a business owner.

Unfortunately, some nations, such as, the USA, had to do the big programmes first. These nations had to fail. Only then could their full, serious efforts begin.

Why is this? Well, there are many reasons. There were social engineers that saw the programmes as a way to mold the future. There were politicians that wanted a place in history, as the leader that ended poverty. As well, there were greedy people that saw a chance to make money.

Pushed aside and ignored were those women and men that actually knew what would work. Isn’t that a well-worn fact?

Now, we in the USA face a similar issue, namely, the border wall with Mexico. Countless people have said it’s pointless, it won’t stop illegal immigrants, it won’t stop drugs and it’s a huge waste of money. Unfortunately, President Trump doesn’t care for the truth or for facts.

Trump has one thing in mind: pandering to his base, in hopes of re-election. His minions don’t watch news programmes that deal in facts, so they don’t know that a wall is pointless. Sadly, many of his followers do not know or care what goes on beyond Fox News or their front porch.

Racism blinds many Trump followers. I am thus sorry to say, I believe the wall goes up, eventually. Now, mind you, I don’t see it being this grand massive structure stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico that Trump and his minions envision. As with failed poverty programmes, in the past, Trump supporters will not understand the wall serves no purpose, at least until after the wall goes up and the money squandered.

► Insanity will reign.

Trump supporters won’t accept the uselessness of the wall. No, Fox “News” and other pro-Trump media will report on how effectively the wall is working. Others will say, “It’ll work better if we just add ‘blank’.” They’ll fill in that “blank” with additions such as watchtowers, a moat, armed guards and so on. I hope we’re able to stop this insanity and save all that time, money and effort. Honestly, though, in this era of alternative facts I don’t know that it’s possible.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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