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Monday, August 30, 2010

Guns or butter?

One of the classic tradeoffs college students are taught in Economics 101 is guns v. butter. An economy has a certain quantity of resources and it must choose what percentage of those resources to devote to guns (military might) and what percentage to devote to butter (taking care of its citizenry). Unsurprisingly, in a dictatorship, it is more often than not the case that the choice leans too heavily to the side of guns. And therefore, it's not surprising that people are starving in Syria, one of the most repressive regimes in the world.
About 800,000 people have left their homes in northeastern Syria, following four years of drought and lack of government infrastructure. The United Nations says most of them have moved into camps without electricity or running water near cities. The residents complain that there are no schools and children have to work to support their families.

Those who remain in the villages are selling their property for food and are dependent on the aid of the UN and the Syrian government. The World Food Program has begun to distribute food to about 200,000 people and is calling on the international community to get together to deal with the crisis.
The long-term solution to this crisis is to depose Bashar al-Assad and to restructure the economy into a market economy that produces goods that people can use - and eat.

What do you think the odds are of that happening so long as the West continues to try to coddle up to the dictator by sending him ambassadors.


At 2:59 PM, Blogger Y.K. said...

NE Syria? IIRC That area was populated by Kurds, and has significant oil resources?

It's quite possible the regime is comfortable with the people moving away...


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