GOOD

The GOOD 100: Dambisa Moyo

We love to take care of Africa. But does Africa need taking care of?

Since 1960, Africa has received more than $1 trillion in foreign aid, and by many measures, its people aren't better off. Of course, if an old white man were to argue that perhaps that trillion has done more harm than good, it would be easy to write off his opinion. To hear that same opinion from the mouth of Dambisa Moyo, however, casts it in a whole different light.Moyo, the author of Dead Aid, was born in Zambia, educated at Harvard and Oxford, and has worked at the World Bank and Goldman Sachs. So when she says that there are better solutions to African poverty than simply throwing money at it, it's worth listening to her."Let's get real," she says. "If a company had 60 years with the record of performance that aid to Africa has had, the company would have been shut down."Dead Aid offers a prescription for African development that doesn't involve giving away money, but instead proposes a capitalistic approach to enable African nations to tap into the financial markets to their own benefit. By receiving and slowly improving credit ratings and by issuing bonds, while encouraging foreign investment, Moyo argues, African nations can free themselves from a damaged system and grow using the same paradigm that works for developed nations. It's not as far off as you might think: There are 19 African stock markets, and 16 countries have credit ratings. "You never hear that story," says Moyo. "All you hear is bad news."For a fairly dense treatise on economic policy, Moyo's book has received a surprising amount of attention. Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame, praised Moyo's arguments in an op-ed for the Financial Times; Jeffrey Sachs, a tireless advocate of U.S. aid to Africa, denounced them, accusing Moyo of accepting the equivalent of aid in scholarships to attend Harvard and Oxford, and noting that Kagame's country still depends largely on aid.Moyo isn't deterred. "Unfortunately, people like Jeffrey Sachs, their response was kind of disappointing, because there is definitely a debate to be had. To outright dismiss [the book] as a crazy argument seems rather silly," she says.Measuring the efficacy of aid is tricky, and it's indeed possible that aid is "working," but the system surely isn't working perfectly. Having a discussion about improving it can only help. And having a native African as a prominent part of the discussion is refreshing, to say the least, especially as a check to the elements of paternalism and colonialism that can insidiously slip into the discussion."I never thought I would be quoting George Bush, but he said that we need to be careful of the soft bigotry of low expectations," Moyo says. "The world is sleepwalking through the problems that are afflicting Africa because we have very low expectations from that continent."


Infographics

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

Health

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet
Instagram / Leonardo DiCaprio

This August, the world watched as the Amazon burned. There were 30,901 individual fires that lapped at the largest rainforest in the world. While fires can occur in the dry season due to natural factors, like lightning strikes, it is believed that the widespread fires were started by loggers and farmers to clear land. Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, cites a different cause: the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio wasn't accused of hanging out in the rainforest with a box of matches, however President Bolsonaro did accuse the actor of funding nonprofit organizations that allegedly set fires to raise donations.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet