Should our foreign aid come with teeth?

TheIronDuke

ADC
Book Reviewer
#1
“Diplomacy is the soft words you use to a mad dog until you can find a big enough stick to kill it”

Should we be using foreign aid as the big stick?

The cyclone in Burma has killed 22,000 with another 41,000 missing. And for once I find myself in agreement with George Bush who seems to be saying “Our navy is offshore and will help. But you need to let us in.” The French foreign minister has refused to send cash – the preferred solution of the Burmese military leaders. The charmers shot 36 prisoners and injured another 70 after the cyclone hit. *Linky*

My take on the situation? Same as it was with Mohammed The Teddy. At the time we were sending Sudan (from memory) £4bn a year in aid. So that would have stopped on day one.

Same with Burma, N. Korea, Zimbabwe and a number of other repressive dumps. I’m no fan of the US “Vote Democracy or we’ll bomb you” school of foreign policy, but I find myself an increasing fan of loading strings onto our foreign aid, and demanding the UN do the same.
 
#2
Just like the Russians and Chinese did for years you mean? I dunno. I say we stop it all and concentrate on getting us back on our feet.

Once pensioners don't have to freeze in the winter or suffer from malnutrition in this country I will be happy to allow money to go abroad.

Start with Headley court and keep on going.

Charity begins at home IMHO.
 
#3
No - there should be no government aid, except in exceptional circumstances.

Why?

It merely discourages internal investment by recipient governments and encourages the most talented within a country to join the government (where a slice of foreign aid can enrich them) instead of building wealth through entrepreneurship.

Want to help make Africans (for example) better off - watch this video

Pay_Mistri
 
#4
My fundamental problem with aid is that nearly 50 years after most colonies gained independence, many of them seem no further along the road to development. By providing aid we encourage a subsistence culture - lets cut it completely and let them be. I feel no moral imperative to assist former colonies, I wasn't alive when they were colonies and frankly would rather see my tax money spent here, rather than overseas.
 
#6
No No No Sven.... These proud African people all voted for or sometimes fought for their independence from us and the French and the Belgians et al aka the colonial oppressor!! They should have it in full..... Therefore if they now find themselves at the mercy of bloodthirsty depots who rape and pillage the natural wealth of their lands while enriching their Swiss bank accounts, they should take the initiative and oust them.... They got what they wanted now let them sort it....We need to look after our weak and hungry, like the good people of Dewsbury!
 
#7
Sven said:
Hmmmmmm

Do what we say or Your people can starve.

Most ethical :roll:
Once again Sven you jump feet first in to a debate without actually bothering to properly read the contributions, assuming you are the only one with compassion and attributing the worst motives to everyone else. Are you a politician? :roll:

I want people in poor countries to be affluent. I want them to eat well. I want them to have the opportunity to pull themselves out of poverty.

The empirical record of aid shows that it cannot raise people and countries out of poverty.

Investment, however, such as the micro credit systems pioneered by Mohammed Yunis, whilst they have some drawbacks are incredibly successful.

Go and watch the video I linked to and then come back and make a useful contribution to the discussion.

Pay_Mistri
 
#8
Mr_Deputy said:
We already to tie strings to much of our aid - especially in Africa I believe.
Strings become ropes when it comes to funding development (not just aid) whereas the Chinese don't burden the locals with these hang-ups and are probably going to gain a good standing in the African continenet now into the future.

As regards Burma - what are you going to do with teeth there?
Its a messed up neurotic/paranoid government (as usual in Burma? I believe) surrounded by stronger neighbours. Thailand has arrived (crossed the Burmese border with military cargo aircraft and landed on Burmese airstrips) with some aid already I know that.
You are indeed correct Mr_D, the strings attached to foreign aid actually leave most countries worse off. In order to receive aid a country has to open its doors to our produce. This would be fine if we did it fairly but we don't. We flood their markets with subsidised produce such as sugar and rice, which can be made in that same country.

In Mozambique the EU takes away a third of its international aid with sugar alone. The subsidised prices are lower than the farmers in those countries can produce it for. The money made from doing this goes into the pockets of the rich manufacturers whilst we are told it is done to keep jobs open. All of this is against WTO anti-dumping policies, yet we seem to get away with it........

I agree, we should attach strings to foreign aid, countries should be given the money for specific development projects (some countries actually do this),if the government is corrupt or there is not a proper government; the aid should be given to NGO's to carry out the development work.

The reason we do not see much development after 50 years of giving aid is because the countries rarely get to use it, all of the aid and more goes back into paying back loans to the IMF and the WB (before anybody says, why shouldn't they pay back the loan, this is lost money, nobody makes any money from it being paid back).

Following make poverty history campaign 22 countries had their debts cancelled (42 were promised but again political decisions were made....), countries such as Zambia now have free primary school education just 2 years later. Another country has free medical care.

When countries cannot provide free education or medical care, but its farmers and workers are being put out of jobs, how do you expect any development to happen? If weactually helped countries with the aid, by providing these basic necessities it would take a generation or two for it to thrive and stand on its own two feet.

One final fact, in the UK, we spend more on wine and champagne than we do on international aid.
 
#9
Mr_Deputy said:
If "do what we say" is "pull your finger out / develop infrastructure / invest in your people's future / stop creating civil unrest" then yes - ethical and rational and practical.

Better that than 'here's lots of yuan' sieze power with it and here in fact you can spend it on AK and RPGs too which we can provide. I take that back I do admire the simple approach that the Chinese in Arica have adopted. Such as the programme turning sand into building bricks. I cannot find a link/article but will keep searching. Small practical projects which benefit without having any 'strings'
Who is offering money?

the world community is offering the like of bottled water and food (mostly handed out by NGOs) - and not 'lots of yuan'
 
#10
Sven said:
Hmmmmmm

Do what we say or Your people can starve.

Most ethical :roll:
Hhhhmmmm been to the congo recently have you?Or the central african republic?The problems in these places require a lot more than simply propping up whatever 'democratically elected' despot is running the palce this week.The primary requirement for these places is not cash but security.And there is NO will within the power structures of the 'liberated' colonies to change the status quo.Ethics?Go to some of these places dripping about that and you will get told to ram it.Africa is Africa and requires stick before carrot.
 
#11
Mr_Deputy said:
If "do what we say" is "pull your finger out / develop infrastructure / invest in your people's future / stop creating civil unrest" then yes - ethical and rational and practical.

Better that than 'here's lots of yuan' sieze power with it and here in fact you can spend it on AK and RPGs too which we can provide. I take that back I do admire the simple approach that the Chinese in Arica have adopted. Such as the programme turning sand into building bricks. I cannot find a link/article but will keep searching. Small practical projects which benefit without having any 'strings'
Like selling arms to Zimbabwe during its current politcal unrest....or could it be supporting the attrocities in Sudan. Most people in Africa want China here less than they want the west.
 
#12
Pay_Mistri said:
Sven said:
Hmmmmmm

Do what we say or Your people can starve.

Most ethical :roll:
Once again Sven you jump feet first in to a debate without actually bothering to properly read the contributions, assuming you are the only one with compassion and attributing the worst motives to everyone else. Are you a politician? :roll:

I want people in poor countries to be affluent. I want them to eat well. I want them to have the opportunity to pull themselves out of poverty.

The empirical record of aid shows that it cannot raise people and countries out of poverty.

Investment, however, such as the micro credit systems pioneered by Mohammed Yunis, whilst they have some drawbacks are incredibly successful.

Go and watch the video I linked to and then come back and make a useful contribution to the discussion.

Pay_Mistri
You mean You AREN't talking about emergency aid to a country suffering ffrom a cataclysmic event? You're talking about aid to ease the everyday suffering?

In that case I withdraw my comments [sarcasm] [/sarcasm]
 
#13
insert-coin-here said:
Sven said:
Hmmmmmm

Do what we say or Your people can starve.

Most ethical :roll:
Hhhhmmmm been to the congo recently have you?Or the central african republic?The problems in these places require a lot more than simply propping up whatever 'democratically elected' despot is running the palce this week.The primary requirement for these places is not cash but security.And there is NO will within the power structures of the 'liberated' colonies to change the status quo.Ethics?Go to some of these places dripping about that and you will get told to ram it.Africa is Africa and requires stick before carrot.
Note my last post above
 
#14
jest265 said:
Mr_Deputy said:
If "do what we say" is "pull your finger out / develop infrastructure / invest in your people's future / stop creating civil unrest" then yes - ethical and rational and practical.

Better that than 'here's lots of yuan' sieze power with it and here in fact you can spend it on AK and RPGs too which we can provide. I take that back I do admire the simple approach that the Chinese in Arica have adopted. Such as the programme turning sand into building bricks. I cannot find a link/article but will keep searching. Small practical projects which benefit without having any 'strings'
Like selling arms to Zimbabwe during its current politcal unrest....or could it be supporting the attrocities in Sudan. Most people in Africa want China here less than they want the west.
I've been reading stuff along those lines here, lot's of locals are getting tired of being treated like shit by the Chinese in factories or being pushed out of business by cheaper chinese products
 
#15
jest265 said:
We flood their markets with subsidised produce such as sugar and rice, which can be made in that same country.

In Mozambique the EU takes away a third of its international aid with sugar alone. The subsidised prices are lower than the farmers in those countries can produce it for. The money made from doing this goes into the pockets of the rich manufacturers whilst we are told it is done to keep jobs open. All of this is against WTO anti-dumping policies, yet we seem to get away with it........
Looks like we are at least reading from the same book, if not exactly the same page :D

Subsidies like the CAP are directly responsible for:

(1) Higher EU taxes

(2) Decreased productivity

(3) Unfair trade barriers to developing countries

They should be scrapped forthwith.

Pay_Mistri
 
#16
Sven said:
insert-coin-here said:
Sven said:
Hmmmmmm

Do what we say or Your people can starve.

Most ethical :roll:
Hhhhmmmm been to the congo recently have you?Or the central african republic?The problems in these places require a lot more than simply propping up whatever 'democratically elected' despot is running the palce this week.The primary requirement for these places is not cash but security.And there is NO will within the power structures of the 'liberated' colonies to change the status quo.Ethics?Go to some of these places dripping about that and you will get told to ram it.Africa is Africa and requires stick before carrot.
Note my last post above
And note what I said about about the will to actually change things,in a meaningfull way,for the the better.Sending bottled water,mozzy nets ect is like using a plaster on a broken leg.But if it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling sven.....
 
#17
insert-coin-here said:
Sven said:
insert-coin-here said:
Sven said:
Hmmmmmm

Do what we say or Your people can starve.

Most ethical :roll:
Hhhhmmmm been to the congo recently have you?Or the central african republic?The problems in these places require a lot more than simply propping up whatever 'democratically elected' despot is running the palce this week.The primary requirement for these places is not cash but security.And there is NO will within the power structures of the 'liberated' colonies to change the status quo.Ethics?Go to some of these places dripping about that and you will get told to ram it.Africa is Africa and requires stick before carrot.
Note my last post above
And note what I said about about the will to actually change things,in a meaningfull way,for the the better.Sending bottled water,mozzy nets ect is like using a plaster on a broken leg.But if it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling sven.....
That is generally how it is done by NGO's. The Red Cross for example, following the Tsunami fed, watered and sheltered people meanwhile they also rebuilt peoples houses. They didn't just out them up anywhere,they researched all of the legal ownership of the land they were building on to make sure they didn't build a house for somebody only to have it taken away. They also made sure that the houses were as defensive of another Tsunami or natural disaster as possible. Whilst doing this they helped to set up community projects that would help people build a sustainable livelihood.

The warm fuzzy feeling comes from the media, they will show the intial process and then forget about it unless something goes wrong. We never really get to see what goes on in other countries development wise.
 
#18
I do agree with sending food and supplies (naturally) but i do object to sending cash (if that is an option) to anyone. In the case of Burma I dont think it is wise to give the regime there the resources to further opress their people but definately think that aid should be administered by outside people not through the Burmese junta.
As has been the case in many volatile African nations (Mozambique, Liberia etc) money is simply used to purchase more weapons with which to kill each other (and the more practical aid is often confiscated by the regimes to further their own ends)
 
#19
Pay_Mistri said:
The empirical record of aid shows that it cannot raise people and countries out of poverty.
The 'empirical' record of aid shows that it will deliver whatever the donors want it to deliver. As already noted, it took the Chinese grand arrival on the international scene for government aid to come without built-in strings. We in the West left that sort of thing to the comparatively small and toothless charity sector, while the Communist nations only aided specific political groups. Our government aid has always been tied in to opening of markets and the privatisation of national industries. You can't rationally argue that it's to the benefit of a sun-bleached agricultural region to have their fresh-water supply controlled by a business intent on milking every penny of profit from the desperate.

We can blame the Africans all we want, and certainly dictator after dictator has milked their nations dry for personal benefit, but there won't be any improvement in that damned intractible continent until we stop forcing First World liberal-capitalist solutions down their throats. It took us centuries to become accustomed to an industrialised society and we weren't exactly a land of milk and honey during the process. Agrarian/hunter-gatherer societies can't make the leap as quickly.
 
#20
Mr_Deputy said:
...whereas the Chinese don't burden the locals with these hang-ups and are probably going to gain a good standing in the African continenet now into the future.
The Chinese are only following the policies of the USSR and the US during the bipolar struggle for the non-aligned states at the time of the Cold War, especially those in strategically important parts of the world or those who were temporarily members of the UNSC for any set period.
 

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