Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Ted Jacobs took Intro to Economics and a survey course in African History his sophomore fall, and was heard loudly arguing in Sharples that he had it all figured out.
“Europe came in and broke Africa starting in the 19th century. I think it’s time that we fixed it,” Jacobs said. “Foreign aid is totally the problem,” he argued. “It’s basically an industry there, and no country is going to try to improve their economy on their own when they’re getting all this free money from the rest of the world,” citing a paper by “that one guy” he totally remembered reading in class. “It’s a basic moral hazard problem,” he continued, adding that “if you send mosquito nets to Botswana, they’re not going to try to improve their basic infrastructure anymore because they love foreign aid too much, and would then have to give up all of those incredible mosquito nets.”
Jacobs was particularly adamant in blaming the IMF and the World Bank for the stipulations they place on loans they give to developing countries. “Everything was better before they got involved,” he said, recalling a quote that he had heard somewhere from a source that he couldn’t remember the name of, but was sure of its complete reliability. When asked which countries he would focus on first if he were the World Bank, Jacobs replied “oh, you know, all of them,” mumbling something about that one with red and green in its flag. “It’s all in a 7-page paper I wrote for class last semester.”
He admitted that he was confused as to why no one else had thought of taking Introductory Economics and a survey course in African history in the same semester so they could come to the same realizations that he had. Jacobs ultimately concluded, “I guess no one else is as smart as I am.”