Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Justifications for foreign aid

From the Economist
Where poor people live, it turns out, makes a big difference to justifications for foreign aid. Research by Andy Sumner of the University of Sussex’s Institute of Development Studies has found that four-fifths of those living on $2 a day or less live in middle-income countries (such as China and India). Most of these countries can afford to help poor people themselves—and usually do. India, for instance, as provides subsidised food for the poor through the Public Distribution System and temporary work for anyone who asks for it through a rural employment guarantee act. Of course, this fact says nothing about justifications for aid in general. The Indians may be spending their money wisely, they may not. But it does undercut one obvious justification for foreign aid, since if national governments can afford to send the needed help, what do foreigners have to offer?
My first question about this would be, What about Africa? What percentage of the really poor are in Africa? Many of the African government may be too dysfunctional to provide aid to their own people, here foreign aid could help.

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