why doesnt the government do anything for the starving people in africa? and why dont they do anything for those with AIDS too?why doesnt the government do anything for the starving people in...

why doesnt the government do anything for the starving people in africa? and why dont they do anything for those with AIDS too?

why doesnt the government do anything for the starving people in africa? and why dont they do anything for those with AIDS too?

Expert Answers
geosc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The proper role for government: Here is a story for your consideration.  It is not why the government doesn't do anything for starving people; it is about what the government should and should not do.

There was a country in Africa where war was ended and law and order was established.  It became possible for farmers to plant crops and harvest and sell them and make a profit without war destroying their crops or bandits or corrupt government officials stealing their profits.  Some farmers in a particular valley planted some extra rice and at the end of the year, sold it to the government for a profit.  The next year they planted more extra rice and made a bigger profit by selling it to the government.  The third year, they invested heavily in their rice crop so as to raise a lot of it.  At the end of the year, they tried to sell it to the government, but the government told them, "We don't need your rice.  An aid organization from the U.S. has given us all of the rice that we need."  This wiped out the farmers; all of their resources had been invested in the rice crop.  The next year (the fourth year), they did not plant any extra rice. 

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you are talking about the government of the US, or your own country in terms of foreign aid, there are several reasons.  The tragic truth in America is that helping Africa is not politically popular - that is, it doesn't translate into votes.  The second reality of such foreign aid is that, give the state of corruption and often war, it is almost impossible to guarantee the money and aid gets to who it was intended for.  Food and medicine can be used by those governments as instruments of control as well.

If you are talking about why those governments in Africa don't do more, then poverty would top the list.  Most countries on that continent do not have the resources.  Most countries are a collection of tribes, with often long standing and bloody rivalries, so there is not always intrinsic motivation on the part of one tribe, to help another tribe.  Thirdly, the problem is so massive, with some nations struggling under a 25% HIV positive rate, that there seems no way out of the issue for some of them, and a sense of hopelessness saps their national will to try.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a very fine balance that needs to be struck in such issues.  I think that one thing that our government and our society has done a good job with is publicizing the need for change in nations where starvation and AIDS are on the rise.  It is difficult for any outside government to enter a nation and say that they are going to "fix" the problem.  Attempts have been made to share scientific solutions to increase food production and research in AIDS prevention.  Social programs have been present in this domain as well, and in using information technology, messages about safe sexual behavior to reduce the spread of AIDS has been shared.  American businesses have been supportive of the "Think Red and Give Back" idea where certain portions of purchases go towards fighting the spread of HIV in Africa.  I think that the government has been supportive of these measures, but in the end, local governments in Africa will have to do more in order to fully combat the challenges of starvation as well as the spread of HIV/ AIDS.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The United States provides financial assistance to lots of different countries. The fact of the matter is that the United States does not have the money to help everyone. We have very limited resources and right now the country really doesn't have the funds due the recession.

In certain parts of Africa there is also a lot of fighting and governmental disputes, etc. On top of that, poverty and HIV are pretty widespread. It is just impossible to get the help to everyone who needs it and be certain the money is going where it is supposed to go.

In addition, there are a lot of people right here in our country who have these same problems. Here there are public programs in place to help them. These kinds of programs aren't necessarily available in other countries so we need to ask ourselves if we know the money is going to the right places.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a lot of reasons for this:

  • Many of the starving people in Africa are living in countries where the government is totally corrupt.  In many places, any aid that we give just goes to make the government people rich and does not help the poorest people.
  • Not all governments want the US coming in and telling them how to feed their people or how to help them if they have AIDS.
  • It's not that great of an idea to just give people food and have them depend on us forever.
  • It's not like we have unlimited resources.  We have huge budget problems here and unemployment is high.  It would be politically risky to spend a lot of money helping others when we have so many problems of our own.