Douglas Carswell

22 JAN 2016

Oxfam's crusade against capitalism will keep Africa poor

Oxfam is on another crusade against inequality. It claims the richest 1% will soon own more than the other 99%, and points the predictable finger at capitalism. But Oxfam's Occupy agenda is dishonest: the free market is finally ending Africa's poverty. The socialist politics of aid agencies are selling out the world's poorest people.

Fifty years ago, Asia, not Africa, was the poorest place on Earth. Famine was endemic, and millions starved. Yet today, famine in Asia is a thing of the past. What changed?

The big shift was down to capitalism. India, China, and countries across the Far East opened themselves up to private investment and foreign markets. Catastrophic Communist economic planning was reined in. As a result, living standards rapidly rose.

Meanwhile, what has happened to Africa? Many countries that were once rich have gone backwards. Rhodesia was once the breadbasket of Africa; Zimbabwe, under Mugabe, has become one of the continent's poorest countries. Dictators, warlords, and militias have perpetrated genocides and entrenched economic collapse. That is, until recently.

In the last few years, things have started to change. Corruption is being constrained, and democracy starting to develop. Investment – instead of aid - is flowing in. Wealth and health are on the up. "Capitalism," as Fraser Nelson writes, "is lifting people out of poverty at the fastest rate in human history." 

But what's Oxfam's big solution? Clamping down on tax havens. Now let's be honest: making sure that HMRC gets more money from the jet-setting rich won't make life any better for the African poor. Oxfam is just selling the socialist dogma that - as a great lady once said - would rather the poor were poorer provided the rich were not so rich.

Markets – not redistribution - are the solution to Africa's problem. We need to remove the constraints on African economies – like EU tariffs – that keep the continent poor. We have to enable Africans to produce and sell, not abandon Africa to more decades of dependency. That's why UKIP believes in trade, not aid.

Oxfam needs to be honest: capitalism is making lives better; it's time to stop fighting it.

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