How to Use a Condom Optimally

by on October 30, 2006 at 7:22 am in Economics | Permalink

The NYTimes has an excellent article on how foreign aid is often more about aiding local companies than aiding foreigners.  It’s a familiar story but told with a wry look at condom production in Alabama where for decades billions of condoms have been manufactured for USAID and other programs despite the fact that costs are much lower on the world market.

A central theme in the article is the contrast between the waste of foreign aid dollars and the plight of the poor, low-skilled workers who make the US condoms.  Here, however, is a way to square the circle.  The US plant typically produces about 450 million condoms a year at a cost of 5 cents each.  Condoms could be bought on the world market at 2 cents each so if the plant shuts down USAID can save $13.5 million dollars a year.   The US plant employs 260 people so every one of those employees could be paid a one-time quitting bonus of $51,923, equivalent to several years of salary of the lowest paid workers.  USAID would be indifferent in year one and would have more to spend on foreign aid in every subsequent year.  My bet is that the workers would jump at the chance to be bought out.  So there you have it, that’s how you use a condom optimally.

1 Bill Stepp October 30, 2006 at 7:42 am

Wasn’t this what the Marshall Plan was about to some extent too, with
farmers substituted for local companies?

2 Marklar October 30, 2006 at 8:32 am

The optimal use of a condom involves a fake name.

3 eriks October 30, 2006 at 8:44 am

I wonder why we didn’t learn that in sex-ed?

4 Rasfarengi October 30, 2006 at 8:53 am

This is a common problem in International Aid. If you used a fair bidding process you would be able to provide more supplies that can reach more people. However if you do not go with the more expensive domestic supplier, which will result in less supplies that can be purchased, you won’t have the money to purchase anything at all, because your budget will be blocked by some politician trying to manipulate the process to prop up his local district (sigh).

What to do†¦.? Well as long as you are allowed to add riders to budget expenditures and funding can be blocked for these reasons nothing will change. From the point of view of politicians, if they have the ability to help your district then it is your job to do so. I see this as logical from their point of view. The solution is to change the rules of how budgets are made and you will not have this situation, but that is far easier said than done.

I also see the point that many Americas are hesitant to support foreign, because they do not see it as being used to accomplish any meaningful goals, if anything they see it as being wasted due to corruption in foreign countries. I disagree that Americans would support foreign aid more if they can get some financial benefit out of it, I don’t believe most Americans see they get any financial benefit out of it now. One of the problems is that most politicians or bureaucrats involved in foreign aid are not very good at explaining the extremely complex global bureaucracy that goes into allocating aid funds, and this is way before any foreign nations are involved. They also get little news about successful programs or the complexity of issues on the ground. The typical attention span of the average American vote is the 10 second sound bites, and that is just not efficient at explaining this.

I have degrees in this and have been reading about these issues for some years now and I still have problems unraveling the complexity of some of these issues. (sigh X2).

5 Jason Voorhees October 30, 2006 at 9:01 am
6 joan October 30, 2006 at 9:31 am

With the amount of mark-up on the price, why can’t the factory sell inside the US. At a 5 cent production cost there seems to be room for profit. Is there something I am not getting here???

7 glenn October 30, 2006 at 10:35 am

so, could a person start a business by importing
inexpensive, Asian-made condoms, and selling them
at a 100% mark-up to USAid (or companies that have
existing contracts with USAid)? It would seem to be
highly profitable and nearly costless…

8 Martin October 30, 2006 at 2:14 pm

DK makes the salient point about rents to capital – surprised that Alex missed such an obvious flaw in his analysis.

And Alex – don’t you have someone who monitors the posts? See Fred above.

9 guest October 30, 2006 at 4:28 pm

“Rents to capital” is an economic oxymoron. The return to capital is interest. Rent is the return to land, natural resources and government privileges. Have you even read The Wealth of Nations?!

10 save_the_rustbelt October 30, 2006 at 6:08 pm

You are all missing the point.

Where in the Constitution does it authorize the federal government to buy
condoms for people in other countries, or here for that matter?

I know, picky picky.

If guys overseas wanna get lucky let them buy their own condoms, like at
the machine in the truck stop bathroom. Like real men. :-))

11 Ted October 31, 2006 at 9:07 am

Was it this blog where I saw a story about condoms being used in India as decorations because they were given away so cheaply (or freely) that there wasn’t any incentive to not waste them?

12 Brandon Erik Bertelsen October 31, 2006 at 5:47 pm

Tied aid isn’t really aid at all. I’ll give you X if you promise to buy Y from me and only me. There’s a fantastic article in a Canadian magazine called The Walrus, you have to sign up but it’s worth the read. There’s nothing really new, but it’s all in one place.

Here is the article

13 Thomas November 1, 2006 at 9:36 pm

I believe we still make our own condoms because if someone from another country made them there would be a rapid increase in abortions. When it comes to things like this I only trust the U.S. Despite the money that could be saved it would be more practical to keep things the way they are. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

14 diazepam+addiction+cheap November 17, 2006 at 4:11 pm

[URL=http://bemuseglom.sitesled.com/taylorism-placeware.html ]Entropy On Altace[/URL] e77484b463 fed7bdcb5cc16b4d d7a4e2ca1a823a3c [URL=http://krukuduk.tripod.com/maui/vacation-rentals.html ]Maui Vacation Rentals[/URL]

15 wslmwps August 21, 2007 at 2:05 am

liqingchao 07年8月21日

google排名
google排名
wow gold
wow gold
powerleveling
powerleveling
wow gold
wow gold
powerleveling
powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow power level
wow power level
world of warcraft powerleveling
world of warcraft powerleveling
world of warcraft power leveling
world of warcraft power leveling

china tour
china tour
hongkong hotel
hongkong hotel
beijing tour
beijing tour
翻译公司
翻译公司
上海翻译公司
上海翻译公司
北京翻译公司
北京翻译公司
北京搬家公司
北京搬家公司
鼓风机
风机
风机
货架
光盘刻录
光盘刻录
光盘制作
光盘制作
光盘印刷
光盘印刷
红外测温仪
红外测温仪
超声波测厚仪
超声波测厚仪

超声波探伤仪
超声波探伤仪
频闪仪
频闪仪
涂层测厚仪
涂层测厚仪
电火花检测仪
电火花检测仪
google排名
仓库
仓库
仓库出租
仓库出租
物流园区
物流园区
集团电话
集团电话
四环素牙
口腔常识
口腔常识
口腔医生
口腔医生
网站设计
网站设计
多媒体
监控
监控
监控系统
监控系统
门禁
门禁
门禁系统
门禁系统
搬家公司
搬家公司
条码打印机
条码打印机
牙周炎
牙周炎

16 4354fd October 8, 2007 at 3:34 am

装饰公司电话|装修公司电话|装潢公司电话
装饰公司电话|装修公司电话|装潢公司电话
装饰公司电话|装修公司电话|装潢公司电话
装饰公司电话|装修公司电话|装潢公司电话
装饰公司电话|装修公司电话|装潢公司电话
装饰公司电话|装修公司电话|装潢公司电话
装饰公司电话|装修公司电话|装潢公司电话
新房装修|新房装饰|新房装潢
新房装修|新房装饰|新房装潢
新房装修|新房装饰|新房装潢
新房装修|新房装饰|新房装潢
新房装修|新房装饰|新房装潢
新房装修|新房装饰|新房装潢
新房装修|新房装饰|新房装潢
别墅装修|别墅装饰|别墅装潢
别墅装修|别墅装饰|别墅装潢
别墅装修|别墅装饰|别墅装潢
别墅装修|别墅装饰|别墅装潢
别墅装修|别墅装饰|别墅装潢
别墅装修|别墅装饰|别墅装潢
别墅装修|别墅装饰|别墅装潢
厂房装饰|厂房装修|厂房装潢
厂房装饰|厂房装修|厂房装潢
厂房装饰|厂房装修|厂房装潢
厂房装饰|厂房装修|厂房装潢
厂房装饰|厂房装修|厂房装潢
厂房装饰|厂房装修|厂房装潢
厂房装饰|厂房装修|厂房装潢

17 william January 26, 2008 at 12:58 am

Recruit & Employment: HomeTeleRep Wanted.
Home Telemarketing Representative

Home Telemarketing: Easy & No Cold Calls.
Job Position Number:1001
Work at your home, part time / full time — unlimited $$$ for experienced telemarketers.
†¢ Call national customers and offer them NEW products — Too Easy!
†¢ All languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese … needed.
†¢ Commissions are VERY generous and uncapped.
†¢ Weekly Pay/Easy Training.
†¢ Call Now or miss out Big! Our professional agents averagely earn $15-$30 per logon hour.
The earlier you join in, the bigger market you can get!

Offered by http://www.InterTradeMart.com , one of the fast growing online stores and is becoming a main place to shop for Americans; it respects customers’ needs and privacy, provides customer complete satisfaction and fulfills their requirements. .

To apply this job position vacancy:
Web form: http://www.intertrademart.com/c_sales.asp
E-mail: jobs@InterTradeMart.com .
Postal mail: 5716 Columbia Park Rd., Cheverly, MD 20785
Fax: 301-773-8439.

It is time to change your experience to Unlimited $$$.

18 eytjyjsr October 9, 2008 at 12:43 am
19 eford October 20, 2008 at 6:06 pm

go to one condoms.com and check out the condoms there sweet

20 mırc,mirc December 23, 2008 at 3:46 am

thanks

21 chat,sohbet December 23, 2008 at 3:49 am

thanks

22 aion kina March 20, 2009 at 4:59 am
23 air jordan sneakers July 10, 2009 at 12:16 am
24 mikroenjeksiyon July 26, 2010 at 10:59 am

was an article I liked. Thanks for sharing.

25 Hali Yikama August 21, 2010 at 6:42 am
26 konteyner August 26, 2010 at 3:54 am

a significant share of your site as people think.Thanks you

27 Cöp Konteyner August 28, 2010 at 7:54 am

I always follow your site thank you wish you continued success. Thank you.

28 mikroenjeksiyon September 15, 2010 at 7:21 am

It’s very interesting. Thanks to the author…

29 acer servisleri September 25, 2010 at 7:11 am

Everything looked in here. Immediate and clear information.
Thanks admin.

30 sağlık October 27, 2010 at 10:28 am

Very successful in both content and style sheets. Thanks webmaster and content editor..
asd

31 web tasarımı December 9, 2010 at 5:11 am

soo good page.. thanks admin.

32 mirc indir January 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Yes i like this word maining thank you

33 kayseri evden eve nakliyat February 20, 2011 at 1:23 am

oke thanks you

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: