Thursday, January 3, 2013

Apparently Mr Cameron has a moral obligation to give away our money

A very good blog on the Adam Smith Institute site, which covers rather wearily the same ground about the sheer wrongness of foreign aid both as far as the enforced donors and the enforced recipients are concerned.

They quote the Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati:
Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.
He may have said it several years ago but the situation has not changed.

In a way the question with aid and with charities is what the purpose of the giving is. After all, we keep giving either voluntarily or, in the case of foreign aid, involuntarily through our taxes and yet nothing is improved and the same pictures of suffering are produced every Christmas and after every disaster, small or large, to wring our hearts. Which presumably means that we are not achieving anything and should start thinking of alternative ways of helping. Ah, but do we want to help or do we just want to feel virtuous, in the case of the government that is shelling out aid money to prop up kleptocracies, at other people's expense?

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