Sunday, February 7, 2010

Foreign Aid: "For God's sake, please just stop!"

Foreign aid does more harm than good, argues Brett Stephens:
The (World) Bank noted that "Haiti has dysfunctional budgetary, financial or procurement systems, making financial and aid management impossible."

It observed that "the government did not exhibit ownership by taking the initiative for formulating and implementing [its] assistance program."

Tellingly, it also acknowledged the "total mismatch between levels of foreign aid and government capacity to absorb it," another way of saying that the more foreign donors spent on Haiti, the more the funds went astray
.  (WSJ - Brett Stephens)
And it's not just Haiti.  That description fits many third-world basket cases.  Of course we should continue to give to help the country dig itself out of the disaster and alleviate suffering.  The problem is with structural development aid:
But this still fails to get at the real problem of aid to Haiti, which has less to do with Haiti than it does with the effects of aid itself.

"The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape," James Shikwati, a Kenyan economist, told Der Spiegel in 2005. "For God's sake, please just stop.
Attempts to defend these dysfunctional governments easily slide into a benign, paternalistic racism (They don't know how to take care of themselves or govern properly).  Please...  Haiti has an educated class.  It just walls itself off from the rest of society.

Give! Give till it hurt because people are suffering in the aftermath of a natural disaster.  It's the Christian thing to do.

But when it comes to foreign assistance, we must open our eyes and honestly admit that some forms of help are no help at all.


Post a Comment