The Self-Appointed Altruists - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Many NGO's promote economic causes - anti-globalization,repparttar banning of child labor,repparttar 132508 relaxing of intellectual property rights, or fair payment for agricultural products. Many of these causes are both worthy and sound. Alas, most NGO's lack economic expertise and inflict damage onrepparttar 132509 alleged recipients of their beneficence. NGO's are at times manipulated by - or collude with - industrial groups and political parties.

It is telling thatrepparttar 132510 denizens of many developing countries suspectrepparttar 132511 West and its NGO's of promoting an agenda of trade protectionism. Stringent - and expensive - labor and environmental provisions in international treaties may well be a ploy to fend off imports based on cheap labor andrepparttar 132512 competition they wreak on well-ensconced domestic industries and their political stooges.

Take child labor - as distinct fromrepparttar 132513 universally condemnable phenomena of child prostitution, child soldiering, or child slavery.

Child labor, in many destitute locales, is all that separatesrepparttar 132514 family from all-pervasive, life threatening, poverty. As national income grows, child labor declines. Followingrepparttar 132515 outcry provoked, in 1995, by NGO's against soccer balls stitched by children in Pakistan, both Nike and Reebok relocated their workshops and sacked countless women and 7000 children. The average family income - anyhow meager - fell by 20 percent.

This affair elicitedrepparttar 132516 following wry commentary from economists Drusilla Brown, Alan Deardorif, and Robert Stern:

"While Baden Sports can quite credibly claim that their soccer balls are not sewn by children,repparttar 132517 relocation of their production facility undoubtedly did nothing for their former child workers and their families."

This is far from being a unique case. Threatened with legal reprisals and "reputation risks" (being named-and-shamed by overzealous NGO's) - multinationals engage in preemptive sacking. More than 50,000 children in Bangladesh were let go in 1993 by German garment factories in anticipation ofrepparttar 132518 American never-legislated Child Labor Deterrence Act.

Former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, observed:

"Stopping child labor without doing anything else could leave children worse off. If they are working out of necessity, as most are, stopping them could force them into prostitution or other employment with greater personal dangers. The most important thing is that they be in school and receiverepparttar 132519 education to help them leave poverty."

NGO-fostered hype notwithstanding, 70% of all children work within their family unit, in agriculture. Less than 1 percent are employed in mining and another 2 percent in construction. Again contrary to NGO-proffered panaceas, education is not a solution. Millions graduate every year in developing countries - 100,000 in Morocco alone. But unemployment reaches more than one third ofrepparttar 132520 workforce in places such as Macedonia.

Children at work may be harshly treated by their supervisors but at least they are kept offrepparttar 132521 far more menacing streets. Some kids even end up with a skill and are rendered employable.

"The Economist" sums uprepparttar 132522 shortsightedness, inaptitude, ignorance, and self-centeredness of NGO's neatly:

"Suppose that inrepparttar 132523 remorseless search for profit, multinationals pay sweatshop wages to their workers in developing countries. Regulation forcing them to pay higher wages is demanded... The NGOs,repparttar 132524 reformed multinationals and enlightened rich-country governments propose tough rules on third-world factory wages, backed up by trade barriers to keep out imports from countries that do not comply. Shoppers inrepparttar 132525 West pay more - but willingly, because they know it is in a good cause. The NGOs declare another victory. The companies, having shafted their third-world competition and protected their domestic markets, count their bigger profits (higher wage costs notwithstanding). Andrepparttar 132526 third-world workers displaced from locally owned factories explain to their children whyrepparttar 132527 West's new deal forrepparttar 132528 victims of capitalism requires them to starve."

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at

And Then There Were Too Many

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

What is hazarded is not our life - but our quality of life. As any insurance actuary will attest, we are governed by statistical datasets.

Consider this single fact:

About 1% ofrepparttar population suffer fromrepparttar 132506 perniciously debilitating and all-pervasive mental health disorder, schizophrenia. Atrepparttar 132507 beginning ofrepparttar 132508 20th century, there were 16.5 million schizophrenics - nowadays there are 64 million. Their impact on friends, family, and colleagues is exponential - and incalculable. This is not a merely quantitative leap. It is a qualitative phase transition.

Or this:

Large populations lead torepparttar 132509 emergence of high density urban centers. It is inefficient to cultivate ever smaller plots of land. Surplus manpower moves to centers of industrial production. A second wave of internal migrants caters to their needs, thus spawning a service sector. Network effects generate excess capital and a virtuous cycle of investment, employment, and consumption ensues.

But over-crowding breeds violence (as has been demonstrated in experiments with mice). The sheer numbers involved serve to magnify and amplify social anomies, deviate behaviour, and antisocial traits. Inrepparttar 132510 city, there are more criminals, more perverts, more victims, more immigrants, and more racists per square mile.

Moreover, only a planned and orderly urbanization is desirable. The blights that pass for cities in most third world countries arerepparttar 132511 outgrowth of neither premeditation nor method. These mega-cities are infested with non-disposed of waste and prone to natural catastrophes and epidemics.

No one can vouchsafe for a "critical mass" of humans, a threshold beyond whichrepparttar 132512 species will implode and vanish.

Luckily,repparttar 132513 ebb and flow of human numbers is subject to three regulatory demographic mechanisms,repparttar 132514 combined action of which gives hope.

The Malthusian Mechanism

Limited resources lead to wars, famine, and diseases and, thus, to a decrease in human numbers. Mankind has done well to check famine, fend off disease, and staunch war. But to have done so without a commensurate policy of population control was irresponsible.

The Assimilative Mechanism

Mankind is not divorced from nature. Humanity is destined to be impacted by its choices and byrepparttar 132515 reverberations of its actions. Damage caused torepparttar 132516 environment haunts - in a complex feedback loop -repparttar 132517 perpetrators.


Immoderate use of antibiotics leads torepparttar 132518 eruption of drug-resistant strains of pathogens. A myriad types of cancer are caused by human pollution. Man isrepparttar 132519 victim of its own destructive excesses.

The Cognitive Mechanism

Humans intentionally limitrepparttar 132520 propagation of their race through family planning, abortion, and contraceptives. Genetic engineering will likely intermesh with these to produce "enhanced" or "designed" progeny to specifications.

We must stop procreating. Or, else, pray for a reduction in our numbers. This could be achieved benignly, for instance by colonizing space, orrepparttar 132521 ocean depths - both remote and technologically unfeasible possibilities. Yet,repparttar 132522 alternative is cataclysmic. Unintended wars, rampant disease, and lethal famines will ultimately trim our numbers - no matter how noble our intentions and how diligent our efforts to curb them.

Is this a bad thing?

Not necessarily. To my mind, even a Malthusian resolution is preferable torepparttar 132523 alternative of slow decay, uniform impecuniosity, and perdition in instalments - an alternative made inexorable by our collective irresponsibility and denial.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at

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