Crony Electricity Capitalism for Africa

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Africa needs electricity. What else is new? Africans need many things. So do people all over the world. Obama has “pledged” $7 billion toward we-know-not-what that is supposed to build Africa’s electricity. The White House says it will cost $300 billion by 2030. Liberals are liberals. They promote endless government programs and endless government, and often, as in this case, it’s subsidizing particular businesses that will benefit. This is crony capitalism, which is not free market capitalism. And, as has often been the bi-partisan case, they promote funds that trickle down through corrupt governments, which is to say all governments, and are largely wasted and mis-directed.

I’d be happy to invest in legitimate power companies in Africa and elsewhere. I’ve even looked at investments in North Africa during the worst of the upheavals. Why do I need Obama to decide to invest taxpayer funds into anything whatever in Africa or America for that matter? He and Congress have the political power, but I surely didn’t give it to them. And would I do that if I could? Are these lawyers supposed to be money managers who direct funds to investments expected to earn a return on invested capital? How do I monitor an “investment” such as Obama is promising when it has none of the characteristics of an actual investment. Where’s the prospectus? Where’s the stock price? Where’s the reporting? Where’s the board of directors? What are my shareholder rights? How do I withdraw funds if the investment is failing? What Obama is doing is a fraud, when he sells it as some sort of “investment”.

If Obama thinks that his decision to plough American taxpayer dollars into African infra-structure is going to pay off for Americans, he is very badly mistaken. It won’t. It will be wasted. How can it not be wasted, stolen, mis-used and mis-appropriated when bureaucrats and government officials are handling the funds and making all the allocation decisions? Any fool, even a fool who has never read Mises, but who simply reads the papers knows that government programs of every kind and shape are rife with overpayments, abuse, corruption, waste and fraud. Obama can think of no better way to compete with the Chinese than to use the American version of state socialism and crony capitalism. His ignorance of free market capitalism and how to extend it to Africa is absolutely appalling. All the more reason why his foray into Africa is to be shunned.

8:44 am on June 30, 2013