Foreign aid - why do goverments keep on doling it out?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Fiona_TG, Aug 29, 2012.

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  1. An article from Bloomberg.

    Poor in India Starve as Politicians Steal $14.5 Billion of Food - Bloomberg

    The situation it describes does not surprise me, but when you see the facts and figures plus the attitudes of those complicit in the existance of this situation, you just have to wonder when are we going to get the poiitician who will state the simple truth that much aid is (and always will be) observably a waste of time, so therefore it makes good sense to stop giving it and that is what is going to happen.

    What is the point of continuing to give when the reality is known by one and all.
  2. It's a form of emotional blackmail - "please be our friend, look we give your country lots of the money we can't really afford to give you, so please buy our exports and be nice to us when you're a world power and we've sunk to the bottom of the shit heap".
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Maybe that is the answer. Clearly we couldn't just "buy" friends directly, illegal of course. However give the money on the pretext it will be distributed as aid but knowing that said officials will simply pocket it gives a neat way round restrictions on bribery. If this was not the case then surely the practice would have been stopped years ago.

    Cue more of this smoke and mirrors stuff for years and years to come, courtesy of taxpayer generosity.
  4. Take your pick from:

    Buying influence.
    Helping people who are poorer than your for very little money.
    Doing the "right thing".
    Stopping other countries buying influence.
    Stopping conflict before it gets to the point we need to send in 16X and 3X.
    Opening up markets for UK PLC by enabling a country to be in the right place to buy our goods.

    But apart from that kind of stuff, there's no real reason to do it all.
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  5. To secure lucrative trade deals - pure and simple. It was easier when we administered these countries, now we have to bribe them.
  6. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    I wonder how much of that is demonstrable with objective hard facts

    Buying influence, I would suggest that in India, for example, it is either absolutely nothing to do with real influence or actually counter-productive

    Doing the right thing, pick your atrocity worldwide, pick you disaster worldwide, the list is endless and will be forever endless and doing the right thing with your own money is fine but a government should not have a guilt trip.

    Again, what influence, say in Africa, is our aid preventing others from doing so. Compare our influence with China

    Stopping conflict, I actually agree with you on this, we should be doing more of it

    Opening up markets for UK PLC, UK PLC can do very well by itself without programmes for women's contraception and reproductive rights in Sierra Leone

    I honestly find most of the arguments for aid quite weak
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  7. Personally I think that we should do it because it's cheap and it's the right thing to do. This may make me a bleeding heart liberal but that's the way it goes.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    0.7% of spending as a target is not cheap, its more than our peers and we are are effectively borrowing money to give to others

    I agree that it is a good thing to do, even the right thing to do and can be in the national interest but whether it should be coming from taxes and at that level are two completely different arguments
  9. The foreign aid programme provides sinictures for useless civil servants to build empires and visit third world countries during the winter staying in 5 star hotels.

    Scrap the aid budget in it's enerity and sack the wasters in the Department for International Aid (or whatever it is called) forthwith.

    • Like Like x 3
  10. It costs less than 2 pints of lager, per person, per week. I'm comfortable with that.


    (all amounts in millions, apart from the beer and week bit!)

    Spending on Development - 9007
    Spending on Official Development Assistance - 8665
    (from here - DFID - SID 2011 Key Statistics)
    Total spent on 'Aid' = £17672 Million

    Number of people in UK - 62.641 Million
    (Demography of the United Kingdom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which goes to the ONS Census report)

    17672/62.641 = £282.12 per person per annum
    £5.42 per person per week

    average cost of pint of lager = £2.90

    (United Kingdom - Pintprice, compare beer prices from around the world)

    Therefore 'Aid' per person < 2 pints of lager per week.
  11. Whilst it is a nice thing to do, and gives politicians a warm fuzzy feeling when they give away money that isn't actually their own, I would suggest that, as there is no money in the UK that is surplus to requirements, surely aid should be given when this country is back on its feet? Like the aircraft safety demo, fit your own oxygen mask, THEN, deal with the others.

    Obviously if anyone on this thread has re-mortgaged their home to give money to Oxfam/Save the children I will stand corrected and look a bit silly, especially if their utilities are cut off for non-payment of bills.

    Alfred the great, the overseas aid minister said specifically that gaining markets and influence was NOT an aim in overseas aid, which is just as well as India takes our cash and buys stuff from France, who give how much in aid?
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  12. Governments are run by politicians. Once you remember the reasons why politicians do anything - greed, vanity, ignorance, arrogance, self-interest - the answer pretty much presents itself.

    I'm a great believer in pragmatic aid but doubt the pragmatism of much of it and suspect the motives of those granting it. Too often, it's about giving what it suits us to give rather than what the recipients need to receive.

    If it's been sent from my HTC Sensation using Tapatalk then I'm probably pissed.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. This sum is still unjustified and should not be spent in this manner.
  14. What are you going to do with your £5.42 a week? Any other bit of the budget you'd like back?
  15. Deleted as the computer ate my first effort, then decided it was fit to print.