Foreign aid is a contentious issue for many reasons. Many people believe that Government should assist domestically before assisting abroad. Others believe that nations most in need do not receive the aid they need. Others believe that monies end up with foreign political leaders, rather than assisting those who need it.
All of these arguments have substance and when we examine the total amount of money devoted to aid by developed nations in comparison to money spent on other areas we get a clearer picture of the situation.
The UK has doubled the amount it pays in Foreign aid since 1997, with a target of providing 0.7% of Gross National Income in foreign aid by 2013. Total US foreign aid (US Govt) is approximately $25 billion annually. The largest recipients are Israel and Egypt and much of the money is tied to the purchase of US arms. Neither Egypt nor Israel is the world’s most needy country – in fact between them they receive one third of US foreign aid.
Foreign aid is primarily determined as a strategic measure. Countries in the developing world receive very little aid. Tying aid to the purchase of military equipment is a scary reality. Ensuring that a country is armed well enough to threaten its own population or others is a difficult justification for providing aid. Again – could the money be better spent elsewhere? The answer is yes and reinforces that politics are at play everywhere
Decisions are rarely made purely for the common good – they are made for political reasons. The World Health Organisation (WHO) promised to provide treatment to 3 million HIV and AIDS patients by the end of 2005. This promise was broken and on the surface there appeared to be no consequences. The G8 nations declared at Gleneagles that treatment would be available to all that required it by 2010 – of course this will not happen.
This aid would save millions of lives but is simply not forthcoming. Money is put elsewhere and this has massive implications for the world in terms of the cost of ignoring such need. Maybe the next 9/11 style terrorists will come from an impoverished nation – a nation which receives little aid or attention. These nations are wonderful breeding grounds for extremist groups and the ultimate cost in terms of defense spending is massive.
What is the possible cost to human life in ignoring impoverished people? Do we look at problems from the wrong angle? Are we focused on treating the problem rather than preventing it in the first place?
Total foreign aid in the world is incredibly small in total – in fact much less than 1% of Gross National Income in most cases. Domestically foreign aid can sometimes receive adverse media attention as many people believe the money could be better spent at home. Those most in need rarely receive aid or not enough to make a significant change. Our lack of will to confront the needs of millions of people around the world helps organizations like Al Qaeda to easily find recruits from the ranks of the marginalized, displaced and desperate.
Part 7(c) - Universal Health Care
The MASTERPLAN part 1 – My “Solution” to the Economic Mess (with podcast)
The MASTERPLAN part 2 – Credit Cards, Consumer Credit & Endless Economic Growth (with podcast)
The MASTERPLAN part 3 – Government Debt (with podcast)
The MASTERPLAN part 4 – Banking, Company Regulation & Limiting the Size of Corporations (with podcast)
The MASTERPLAN part 5 – Capitalism, Nationalization, and Executive Pay Limits (with podcast)
The MASTERPLAN part 6(a) – The Car Industry
The MASTERPLAN plan 6 (b) – Climate Change
The MASTERPLAN part 7 (a) – The Cost of War & Foreign Policy