The Instigator
keni08
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
Einstein
Con (against)
Winning
27 Points

We should give money to Africa

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/20/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,834 times Debate No: 2035
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (23)
Votes (15)

 

keni08

Pro

In Africa, 1 in 3 children are orphaned because of aids (about 14 million)

o By 2010 there will be an estimated 44 million

v � of the world lives on less than $2 a day

v 30,000 kids die each day just due to poverty

v In 2006, there were approximately 160,000 Christians martyred or killed for their faith

v 6,000 people will die TODAY in Africa

o That is 2 times the number of people that died on 9/11

How can we look at these statistics and say nuke Africa or just let them die, there's no hope. We morally can't. Did you know that the US receives 2/3 of it's oil from Africa, therefore refusing to help would lead to political conflict. Your turn.
Einstein

Con

There is a substantial problem with the approach you are taking. You have listed many problems that Africa as a continent is having, and I will not disagree that these are issues which are severely affecting Africa. However, there are several problems with your approach.

First is that, many of the problems you have listed in your first argument apply to the United States as well. At least 12%, and perhaps as much 17%, of the United States, lives in poverty. Among developed countries, the United States does not even rank in the top 15 on the Human Poverty Index, the United Nations' list of which nations rank best in terms of preventing long-term poverty and its effects. I will grant you that poverty in Africa is much worse than poverty in the United States. However, this is not a justification for ignoring our own citizens. Any government's first responsibility is to protect the welfare of its own citizens; and if you agree, as you clearly do, that it is a justifiable action of a government to use money to solve issues such as poverty, then the United States should undoubtedly use its money first to solve poverty in the United States, before we focus on other areas of the world. I am not advocating necessarily advocating that we ignore Africa, but that we should address our own internal issues before we think we can have the ability to help others' internal issues.

Second, related to this first argument, is the fact that it is not the United States' job to do any of this. You have listed many reasons which might make one feel that action is justified, but you never gave any reasons why the United States specifically should address these problems. We are not the world's savior, and it is not our responsibility to deal with problems in other nations. If we would like to, and we feel that it is something that is in everyone's best interests, then we can perhaps go about helping to solve these issues. However, we have no "ethical" or "moral" responsibility to help Africans. If we did, then we would be obligated to help every single country in the world. This mindset's existence is why thousands of American lives are endangered in Iraq every day, and why your point of view suggests that we take action in other poverty-stricken, third world parts of the globe. You are essentially saying that we need to act in countries like North Korea - talk about 'political conflict.' This is because you cannot be so rash as to say that the issues of one country or region are any "worse" than any others'; is it fair to say that Africans are suffering more than North Koreans, and so we should ignore North Koreans to help other people? The logical contradiction is clear, and so it is better to avoid claims that we have some moral obligation to help Africa.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, throwing money at the problem will certainly not help the problem, and would have an equal chance of making it worse. One of the main reasons that Africa has so many of the problems it does is that most African countries have governments that are either corrupt, and do not care about their citizens, or are incapable of dealing with the problems you've suggested. If we give $50 billion to every African government and say, "Here, take care of AIDS," how effective could that possibly be? None of these African nations have the infrastructure to deal with the problems you are indicating; these are problems that even a nation with an infrastructure such as ours would have a difficult time dealing with. Throwing money at the problem is akin to saying that doing that is solving our moral responsibility, if any. There's no way that giving Africa money can possibly allow us to say we've done anything to actually solve the problem; it just makes the United States look better. The better course of action would be for us, or even better for international organizations like the United Nations and/or the African Union, to physically go into Africa and help build the infrastructure necessarily to deal with problems like AIDS and poverty. I will reiterate that if the African continent even had the potential to deal with the problems you listed, they would almost certainly be much less than they are. It is an indication of the failing of African governments that these problems are so widespread, and so giving money to Africa will probably not do a whole lot.
Debate Round No. 1
keni08

Pro

I apologize that my initial argument was weak and non specific.

In answer to the poverty argument. Yes, there are poor and needy people in the United States, but the difference between the poor in the US and the poor in Africa, is that in the US we have no reason not to get up and find ourselves a job. The official poverty rate in the US in 2006 was 12.3 percent, down from 12.6 percent in 2005. Meaning that slowly the US is already getting back on track. But in Sub-Saharan Africa the number of people in extreme poverty rose to almost 320 million, and they now make up over a quarter of the global total. Wow, say the US needed 10 years to get it's economy back to a surplus, or even a somewhat decent state of spending. But in 7 years or 2015,90 percent of those still in extreme poverty would be in the sub-Saharan Africa.

Since we're now mostly debating poverty, poverty is one of the number one killers in third world countries. Poverty leads to starvation and malnutrition, which is silently killing the children of Africa. Malnutrition in children often begins at birth, when poorly nourished mothers give birth to underweight babies. Malnourished children develop more slowly, enter school later, and perform less well. Programs to encourage breastfeeding and to improve the diets of pregnant and lactating mothers help. So do appropriate care and feeding of sick children, oral dehydration therapy, control of parasitic diseases, and programs to treat vitamin A deficiency.

This is what the United States money would go to. Not the corrupt governments, not the military, or the rebels, but the people in need of help. It would go to private organizations, baby-friendly hospitals, crisis centers, disease research, bed nets, water sanitation, and most importantly education. Our money would go to help the people in Africa understand how to live healthy lives, and provide for their children.
Einstein

Con

The main problem I have with your point of view is that you are saying that poverty in Africa is worse than poverty in the United States. While this is, in a vacuum, true, it leads us to make bad policy decisions if we think of it in this way. Poverty is a huge issue in the United States; when over 40 million people cannot have healthcare, it is not something we should just brush off. What do you think is one of the main killers in America? It's undoubtedly poverty and its side effects, when people cannot afford proper medical care for their illnesses. We may not have as many people as Africa does, but if 12% of our own citizens cannot afford the basic components of a reasonable lifestyle, it is not prudent for us to address other nations' issues first. Your argument rests on the idea that poverty is decreasing in America, and that it's some sort of linear trend; this is false. Poverty has been at least at the 12% level for many years, and while there may be small fluctuations, we must face the fact that we are not dealing with the poverty situation here correctly. We've had a "war on poverty" since LBJ's presidency, and where have we gotten on it? Really, nowhere. If we don't have the infrastructure to deal with poverty, we would not be able to deal with Africa's; not to mention, we shouldn't. The United States government has an obligation to protect its citizens' welfare before anyone else's. Also, if getting out of poverty were as easy as just "getting a job," don't you think our poverty rate would be much lower?

Also, we unfortunately do not live in a Utopian world where we can just give people money in order to deal with the problems they are facing. You have said that we should just give private organizations, hospitals, disease centers, etc. money and that would solve the problem. That is nowhere near as easy as it sounds, and as I said, money is only some of the issue that is the problem. Even if we give African organizations money, they don't have the infrastructure to use it effectively. In order to combat AIDS, and poverty, the African nations must band together in order to have a coherent solution. Otherwise, you'll be giving a few thousand dollars to individual organizations, and while that may solve some short term issues, it will not do anything on the long-term scale, and this is the most important point of view. The only way to effectively solve African poverty is by setting up a long-term infrastructure that can provide services to Africans to help them out of poverty. Just giving money to African organizations will not do anything effective, and I would like to see some evidence disproving that if I am to believe otherwise.

Finally, you have essentially conceded my argument that is is not the United States' responsibility. Saying we have some sort of obligation to the African people to deal with their problems is inviting a host of international interventions in the name of protecting other nations' citizens, and this is what justified the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, and what could justify other bad policy actions in the future. Getting involved in international affairs to help other humans is not a bad things; but how can you say that Africans "need it more" than others?
Debate Round No. 2
keni08

Pro

Obviously we both recognize that Africa is in need of help, but to argue that we should worry about our own problems first is selfish of a nation like the US. You and many other politicians seem to think that if we help Africa our country will spend too much money and crash into a recession. Hello? The debt right now is 9.1 trillion dollars, if you think that say 500 million dollars to Africa is going to start a recession and take away from our own health care think again. Look at how much the government waste by pork barrel spending:
1. $13,500,000 for the International Fund for Ireland , which helped finance the World Toilet Summit
2.$100,000,000 added by the House for the Even Start program
3. $1,000,000 million for a controversial new city swimming pool in Banning, California
4. $1,500,000 University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS for the construction of the William Faulkner Museum
5. $50 million for an indoor rain forest in Iowa
6.$1 million to aid in the search for extraterrestrial aliens

Wow, who would want to help Africa when we can find out more about aliens and build rainforest's? Anyone! Before congress ever decided to cut off our aid to Africa they would cut down on pork barrel spending.

Now on to the topic of my opponent trying to disprove that private organizations can't help.
1. The Bill and Melinda gates foundation works with PEPFAR and USAIDS to reach the people in Africa.
2. Baby Friendly hospitals~ The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative ( BFHI ), launched in 1991, is an effort by UNICEF and the World Health Organization to ensure that all maternities,whether free standing or in a hospital, become centers of breastfeeding support.
3. bednets/ malaria treatment~ Malaria begins with a mosquito bite at night while children and families sleep. For over one million children a year it ends with death. But it doesn't have to be that way. A simple long lasting insecticide treated bed net can protect a child or several children from malaria for up to five years!

finally, it is the US responsibility. All of the programs that I listed our US based and funded. No other initiative has trumped what the US is doing in Africa.
Einstein

Con

I would like to conclude by reiterating by the stances I constructed earlier, but first I will respond to some of the claims you have made. For instance, you seem to think that I and "many other politicians" believe we will fall into a recession by doing this. Please note I never made this claim. I justified my point of view on a completely different basis. Whether we have the money to do this is a completely different topic of debate, and not one I chose to bring up initially. I will not address this; I would like to keep the debate within the focus of the arguments I initially made. I will not disagree that we waste a lot of money, but this fact is certainly not a justification for spending more on Africa.

The first argument I would like to rehash is the idea that this is not the United States' responsibility, the only real argument my opponent addressed in her last response. All of the organizations she listed are certainly private organizations that have spent extensive time and money helping impoverished Africans. However, the argument she concedes is that the reason they are failing in Africa is not a lack of funds. Look at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - obviously, money is not the issue. Rather, the real issue is infrastructure. In order to create a sustainable environment for raising the overall African standard of living, we need to create a long-term effort with the goal of improving gradually. This means that no matter how much money we throw Africa's way, we can only do so much. Setting aside more money to help private organizations is one thing; but there is no effective way for the U.S. to measure any progress on its own behalf in Africa without having some physical effort involved. Finally, even if the private organizations could help, they, too, need much more than money. They need dedicated volunteers so that they can help in building an infrastructure in Africa for distributing supplies, and money cannot buy that.

Second, my opponent has still not justified why it is the United States' job to get involved in Africa. All she says is that, basically, "we're doing it now." This is not a response. The simple fact remains that any international action needs to be justified; we ought not go into other countries without being able to support our opinion externally, and more important, internally. For this reason, your plan would fail on two levels; first, the international community recognizes that this is something not just any one country can deal with, much less should try to; only the United Nations is designed, at least in part, with these types of operations in mind. The African Union, as I mentioned earlier, would be a huge help; either way, unilateral action is not warranted in any way.

To conclude this debate, I will bring up the remaining point I made earlier. My opponent has never explained why we should attempt to solve Africa's problems before our own. As I explained, I do not advocate that this means we have to necessarily stop funding international efforts. However, we do need to deal with our problems first. My opponent seems to claim that Africa's problems are more important to us than our own, when clearly they should not be. I will not deny that a sizable portion of the U.S. budget is spent in excess instead of helping important things like fighting poverty; however, as mentioned above, this is no excuse for spending even more money on others. With 12% of our nation below the poverty line, how we can possibly justify spending money on Africans and not on ourselves? My opponent has conceded the fact that it is the primary role of any government to protect its citizens. It is unfortunate that the African continent has seen these circumstances, but is it our fault? Have we done anything that would make us obligated to spend money on Africans? Again, I do not say that we should not, but only that we have no obligation, and that what's more important is helping our own citizens first. If 12% of our country, the wealthiest in the world, is impoverished, are we really even going to be able to help Africa that much?

As you can see, while my opponent has some strong rhetoric in her favor about why Africa has major problems, she clearly never justifies why United States action is warranted, and why just giving money to Africa will be a solution.
Debate Round No. 3
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
Keni , I am not AntiAfrica , I am proAmerica. I wish we had extra money to spare and we could help all needy people ... but first and foremost we need to help America , when that is done then we can talk about helping Africa. Also I never said pull the aid , your debate was give money to Africa, and I think we need to keep our money and help our country first. I am an American and want America's economy strong first. Our country is in bad economic shape.
Posted by solo 9 years ago
solo
blond guy... fourteen votes have been cast now, so how can keni have lost. She's currently down by two votes and there are still many voters that have yet to see this debate.
Posted by blond_guy 9 years ago
blond_guy
keni, the fact that you lost this debate makes me think that this voting system isn't so bad after all because you had a topic so innocent and so full of good intentions. However, you forgot we have a deficit in America and our own starving and our own poor.
Posted by keni08 9 years ago
keni08
The fact is not how much money we are going to be spending. PEPFAR is already in Africa, working. What you and other anti-africa people are suggesting is that we pull out the aid in africa, thus creating political tension with the country that we receive 2/3 of our oil from. Now doesn't that sound like a economic-friendly move. Basically, I do recognize the hard times that America is possibly soon to be facing, but pulling out our aid to africa and exercising that money for our own health care is not a good move. There are plenty of other areas in the budget that money can be pulled from than our Foreign Assisstance budget.
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
keni08, You're obviously one of those naive people that blocks out the bad in your own country that needs to be fixed. The United States of America is our country. WE have a deficit and we are at the start of a recession, call it what you want , but our economy is not in a good state. If you personally want to give your money to Africa , feel free. I however want my money to go to helping my country. Then when my country is in a good state I will be fine with helping others. have you been to Europe or the UK lately , if you have you will notice when you change your money you lose half in the UK and close to that in Europe. The dollar is losing value and quickly. The stock market is not doing that great. If rich Americans and celebrities and people like you want to give away your money ,that is your right. I however want my money to go to fixing my country first.
Posted by keni08 9 years ago
keni08
kels1123, you are so wrong. You are clearly one of those people that overexaggerate everything in the economy. It is not a bad thing to spend money. You act like Congress is a select 500 people and that they have to do everything. The US has people working in Africa (ie: PEPFAR, USAIDS~look them up) These are government funded initiatives that do not take away from our own health care. Unless there is a global impact of some sort if we're in Africa, there is no reason not to help!!! By global impact i mean: Africa's not trading oil with us, China feels like we're stepping on their toes, etc.
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
Sorry way too many typos, Meant to say I have to fix my own life first , don't I and I meant sight , I am multitasking to much right now lol.
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
I agree with audraxhearts, It is great to be able to help , but not at the expense of our economy and country. Right now the US has too much on its plate. We need to get our own country sorted first. It is not selfish. If I have a mountain of debt, no light in site and I am struggling and someone else is worse off but I don't have any money to give them , I can't lend them money that doesn't make me selfish that I have to fix my own life first does it?
Posted by audraxheartsxyou 9 years ago
audraxheartsxyou
It's not a bad idea. But we need to think of our own country. It's not selfish. We can help every once in a while. But when we can.
Posted by Einstein 9 years ago
Einstein
No one advocated that giving money to Africa is, in a vacuum, a bad idea.
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