Friday, November 29, 2002
Compare and contrast: While Krugman sees a vast right-wing conspiracy on every channel, his colleague Nicholas Kristof does some good work exposing the AIDS crisis in China.
Since it is responsible for making these people sick, the Chinese government owes them supplies of the antiretroviral drugs that combat the virus. If the Communist Party used the money squandered on billboards glorifying President Jiang Zemin on these drugs, it could save many thousands of lives.
If it wanted to, China could mobilize a national campaign against AIDS, just like the successful Thai effort. The leaders control the news media, and every village has a family planning officer who sometimes monitors each woman's menstrual cycle. If the authorities just committed themselves to attack AIDS as zealously as they fight unauthorized births, the battle could be won.
The problem is the Chinese government is evil. It's as simple as that. An authoritarian government whose power does not derive from a mandate from the people will typically ignore the peoples' needs in order to benefit the ruling elite.
This shouldn't be a surprise.