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The antidote to dependency

Two days ago we posted an interview with Kenyan economist James Shikwati in which he begged that well-meaning foreign aid to Africa be abandoned since it was pauperizing the people, and creating a dependent class that would never be able to fend for itself, as well as increasing corruption in the ruling government classes.

I've just returned from a trip to northern interior British Columbia. I heard the same story that excessive handouts to the native American First People has resulted in endless problems. The stories came from people who were partly of First People descent. They spoke of drunkenness, drug-use, unemployment, and despair and the destruction of much of the donated housing and schools.

This weekend's Wall Street Journal carries a similar story about Eskimos. Having abandoned dog sleds after they were provided with snowmobiles and petrol, they can now no longer afford the rising cost of petrol, but they have forgotten how to use sleds and how to hunt so increasing poverty and hunger threaten them.

I strongly suspect that the same social and psychological mechanisms are at work in Britain's sink estates. Dependency on welfare through excessive government handouts creates an environment of negativity where substance abuse becomes rife, civic pride vanishes, and laws are broken with impunity.

Government welfare, using money taken from the hard-working taxpayer, has created these enormous prisons of dependency from which there seems little hope of escape.

The antidote to this tendency of governments to create dependent people is contained in the self-motivation and responsibility that used to be the norm in Britain, guided by Judaeo-Christian values.