Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Help the victims

I only made my first contribution right now, using the "American Red Cross" interface at
If you don't have an account at amazon.com yet, you should definitely create one. The payment is very easy and convenient.

This short posting is addressed to you - I really mean you who is just reading this sentence, not anyone else! You may be surprised how could I know in advance that exactly you would be reading this sentence exactly at this moment - but you know, string theory is a very predictive theory. ;-) The people in Asia suffered a lot, and many of them believe that God was punishing them. You know that it's not true, don't you?

The people in the affected areas will be happy (and grateful) for every package of rice they get. This is a definitely good investment for you if you want to do something good that does not cost too much.

So far, the world has collected roughly 3 billion dollars (at least 630 million comes from America, which includes the government, corporations, as well as individuals, and which is a higher fraction than America has on the world's GDP - the latter is one fifth), and the modest estimates say that at least 2 billion more will be needed for some kind of basic reconstruction - and I hope that you share my belief that the survivors deserve more than that. The Japanese government became the largest donor among the governments (500 million).

I would specifically like to encourage the left-wing readers to donate something because so far it does not seem too obvious that the Left - which normally cares about the poor and unlucky people so much, at least verbally - has contributed a significant amount of money. What are the George Soroses and Michael Moores doing right now when their money is needed? The donations and aid is, so far, dominated by the right-wing US government and the "greedy" corporations.

I guess that the really left-wing people and governments won't donate much. But I urge others, moderate left-wing people and governments. Gerhard Schröder: I know that you're reading my blog. 20 million is pathetic. What about raising it to 500 million Euro, for example? I will appreciate it. Thank you.


  1. Very nice of you, Prof. Motl.

    I did my bit. I like to diversify so chose

    * Red Cross
    * Oxfam
    * Medecins sans Frontiers (Doctors withothout Borders)
    * Sarvodaya

    It is good that the persoanl contributions are exceeding national government contributions: that is the way it should be.

    Slightly off-topic, but actually, most poor countries would prefer trade to 'foreign aid'---"Trade not Aid" is the slogan. Trade distributes aid more equitably; aid ends up benefitting very few (corrupt)individuals.

    So the 'left-wing' (including N America and Europe) would do best to gradually start removing subsidies, especially agricultural subsidies, which are hurting the poorest nations immeasurably.

  2. Dear reader,

    you are the one who deserves the thanks! Such a diversity suggests that you were not quite "stingy". ;-) I also prefer the situation in which the real people, as opposed to abstract governments and other institutions, help other people - because it is more authentic, legitimate, and emotional.

    I also agree with you that the most affected countries should be given the freedom to export their products and services anywhere in the world - without any trade barriers - because this is the most natural way to help nearly everyone, as opposed to - possibly corrupt - officials. It's the way to help not only with the hunger and potential diseases, but also with the feeling of every person that he or she lives a full life.

    It will be important for the region to switch to some active mode of life - as opposed to just saving their lives - and my personal guess is that the help of spontaneously chosen leaders will be more efficient than the help that is waiting for the signatures of all nations in the U.N.


  3. when you refer to "tax dollars," I am sure you understand this is a gift from the people of a democracy?

    But yes of course it is a good thing, such help.

    Maybe a UN infrastuture, for early warning systems, to the people in isolated areas(ex:horns blaring)would be good for world community?

  4. The donations and aid is, so far, dominated by the right-wing US government and the "greedy" corporations.
    Just to set the record straight on your left bashing. The (left wing) Canadian government has put up $35 million, and the Canadian people have donated $65 million to private charity (those numbers will likely both go up, check cbc.ca for the latest numbers). Per person, that's comperable to the US donations. Non to mention that you explicitly say
    The Japanese government became the largest donor among the governments (500 million).
    Which is sorta at odds with your other claim.

    Also, from what I've been hearing and reading, the single most helpful thing in the region at the moment is the presence of troops (US and Australian, IIRC). In that sense, I think government aid is probably more valuable than private donations, at least in the immediate aftermath of such a horrible disaster. The US army has helicopters, C-130 cargo planes, desalination ships, engineering corps, and a whole host of other things that no amount of private donations, or non-govermental organization can replace.

  5. Yes, surprisingly I realize that the government money are tax money from the people (who can't really quite decide how this money is gonna be spent). 80% of this tax money was paid by the richest 20% people, or how the counting goes, and most of these are on the right wing.

    Also, for another person who posted. Japan confirms my claims even better because the Japanese government is currently formed by LDP, which is the largest right-wing conservative party in Japan:


    Also, Canadians are not always left-wing, and Alberta is even a part of the Jesusland. ;-) I think it is not too easy to falsify the statement that the more left-wing a group of people is, the less he contributed.

  6. Without detracting from the idealization of the helping hand, I think healthcare does not like to discriminate between the rich man and the poor man, but if you have a few mores dollars, treatment is always a little better, and quicker?

    Here's a story from the left-wing Lubos and "Jesusland"?LOL

    Mouseland – A Political fable told by Tommy Douglas in 1944It's the story of a place called Mouseland. Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played, were born and died. And they lived much the same as you and I do.

    They even had a Parliament. And every four years they had an election. Used to walk to the polls and cast their ballots. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. And got a ride for the next four years afterwards too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government. A government made up of big, fat, black cats.

    Now if you think it strange that mice should elect a government made up of cats, you just look at the history of Canada for last 90 years and maybe you'll see that they weren't any stupider than we are.

    Now I'm not saying anything against the cats. They were nice fellows. They conducted their government with dignity. They passed good laws--that is, laws that were good for cats. But the laws that were good for cats weren't very good for mice. One of the laws said that mouseholes had to be big enough so a cat could get his paw in. Another law said that mice could only travel at certain speeds--so that a cat could get his breakfast without too much effort.

    All the laws were good laws. For cats. But, oh, they were hard on the mice. And life was getting harder and harder. And when the mice couldn't put up with it any more, they decided something had to be done about it. So they went en masse to the polls. They voted the black cats out. They put in the white cats.

    Now the white cats had put up a terrific campaign. They said: "All that Mouseland needs is more vision." They said: "The trouble with Mouseland is those round mouseholes we got. If you put us in we'll establish square mouseholes." And they did. And the square mouseholes were twice as big as the round mouseholes, and now the cat could get both his paws in. And life was tougher than ever.

    And when they couldn't take that anymore, they voted the white cats out and put the black ones in again. Then they went back to the white cats. Then to the black cats. They even tried half black cats and half white cats. And they called that coalition. They even got one government made up of cats with spots on them: they were cats that tried to make a noise like a mouse but ate like a cat.

    You see, my friends, the trouble wasn't with the colour of the cat. The trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats, they naturally looked after cats instead of mice.

    Presently there came along one little mouse who had an idea. My friends, watch out for the little fellow with an idea. And he said to the other mice, "Look fellows, why do we keep on electing a government made up of cats? Why don't we elect a government made up of mice?" "Oh," they said, "he's a Bolshevik. Lock him up!" So they put him in jail.

    But I want to remind you: that you can lock up a mouse or a man but you can't lock up an idea.
    Hope you like it. Good for you, for taking the initiative, even if you are a mouse.:)

  7. Quoting Wikipedia about the Japan's LDP: "The Liberal Democratic party is Japan's largest right-wing and conservative party. Its name is a misnomer; the party is not liberal."

    They are wrong: it is not a misnomer. It's just that the common connotation of the word "liberal" in North America is utterly twisted and ahistoric. Liberalism, especially in Europe, has a proud tradition of being a principled approach resting firmly on conservative values. The naive interpretation of the word liberal as meaning "I don't care, I am pro-choice", "Let them do", etc. pp., reveals sub-standard education. In fact, it is quite amusing that left-wingers call themselves incorrectly liberals, giving away their foolishness from the out start every chance they get. :))

    Incidentally, Germany's conservative, pro-business party FDP is widely referred to as "Die Lieberalen" ("the liberals"). They were part of the government for 16 consecutive years before the current ochlochratic, socialist government was elected (that's been in power for over 6 said years now).

    BTW, I know that none of you, in particular not Lubos, made the mistake. It's Wikipedia that's not up to speed.


    PS: I am proud to say that I am a conservative liberal and, of course, I did vote for Bush. ;))

  8. Concerning the word "liberal".

    Micheal, I kind of agree; you may guess that as a European, I naturally consider the word "liberal" in the European definition and tradition - myself being a liberal conservative which can only be a contradiction in America. ;-) The word "liberal" (EU) really means "libertarian", kind of.

    You know that I did not make a mistake, don't you? What I wrote what that LDP is a right-wing party. Is that wrong?

    Wikipedia is in various cases not up to speed, but various people may disagree what are the cases. ;-)

  9. By the way. I seems so, as if the left-wing German government decided to donate 500 million Euros...how does it fit into your picture of missing contributions from non-right-wing persons / organisations.. ;-)

  10. As far as I can see, you got it right, Lubos. I was criticizing Wikipedia.

    To the previous poster: Some German socialists are talking about 500 million Euros in aid now, yes. It just is not going to happen. Germany's government is so cash-strapped by now, they had to cancel the official New Year's firework at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Of course, they say it's out of respect for the victims, but the truth is that they sent one bag of rice to Asia and went bankrupt. ;))

    So far they have given but 20 Million Euros. Let's not give them any credit for words without commitment.


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  12. OK, Michael, you are (unfortunately) right...but maybe you should call them socialdemocrats and not socialists... ;-)

  13. Yeah, right... how could I make such a stupid mistake!? ;))


  14. What do I say if the German moderately socialist government really pays 500 million euro? I will take credit for it because this was the goal of my article! ;-)

  15. The main culprits are G8 countries - Germany, Canada, US, Italy, Japan, UK and France – who not only signed up to the Millennium Goals but agreed more than 30 years ago to spend 0.7 percent of their national incomes on aid. Thirty-four years on none of the G8 have met this target and on average, rich countries today give half as much as a proportion of their income as they did in the 1960s.

    Predictably, rich countries have other priorities. In a world in which a staggering $600 billion (450 billion Euro) is spent on defence globally each year, wealthy nations spend between just $50-60 billion on overseas aid. In 2003, US spending on foreign aid measured just one-tenth of what it spent on Iraq.

    And no wonder the public is sometimes cynical. New research shows that currently only 40% of the money counted officially as aid from rich governments actually reaches the poorest and even that is often seriously delayed. For example 20% of aid from the EU arrives over a year late and 92% of Italian aid is spent on Italian goods and services. They are not alone – the US ties about 70% to US firms – not a bad Christmas present for American businesses.


  16. Listen to this leftist! (our favorite south pacific doctor)

  17. Hi Lubos,

    could it be that your last paragraph adressing Gerhard Schroeder changed slightly after your first post... ;-) Otherwise, if they are really going to pay the promised amount of money, set it as an achievement into your CV... ;-).. looks always good.