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Foreign aid

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longfingernails · 23/06/2010 14:53

Does anyone else think foreign aid money should prioritise education over health and infrastructure?

Obviously part of the foreign aid should go for emergencies and natural disasters, but I am talking about the main foreign aid budget itself.

I am very supportive of improving public health in the third world - particularly by improving access to water, providing vaccines for things like polio, and improving maternity care.

But as a general principle, if you improve education then people can help themselves. If you educate people then some of them will become doctors. Others will set up businesses and create jobs, or learn more efficient farming techniques.

Generally speaking, charities seem to do a much better job getting donations for health projects than education ones.

Also with big projects like infrastructure there is oodles of corruption. I am sure there is corruption with education too, but it is at a much lower level.

More generally, whilst I accept the need to provide aid for things like health and education, I just don't like funding other types of development aid. It is usually loaded with preconditions, and with little transparency, and invariably administered by leftist do-gooders who just don't understand that free markets and well-regulated capitalism do more to get people out of poverty than just giving people handouts.

Aid should not be poor people in rich countries giving money to rich people in poor countries. The purpose of development aid should be to get people to stand on their own two feet, not entrap them in dependency.

OP posts:
Deliaskis · 24/06/2010 09:10

longfingernails, I completely agree with your general premise that money spent on education has more long term benefits in helping these countries/regions help themselves and make some progress, but being realistic about it, the effects of money spent on education take years to be seen and felt, whereas money spent on health helps people now. However, you're perfectly right, giving 'handouts' to people in these dire situations helps them to survive, but doesn't always help them to get out of the situation itself. And let's face facts, no matter how much money we and other 'affluent' nations give, our charity is never ever going to be enough, so I agree that foreign aid wisely spent on long term goals is more likely to achieve the end result of lifting regions out of poverty and helping them to make progress.

As the wise man said, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime". Still doesn't mean he doesn't need to eat today though.


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