Tim Worstall asks a good question about why the UK taxpayer is giving aid to countries. First off – as can be seen in the associated comment thread – it seems madness to give money to a rapidly growing economy such as India when that nation has a space programme and a nuclear weapons programme. True, that country still has immense numbers of very poor people, but surely the best way to address that problem is to continue with pro-market reforms, encourage as much free trade as possible, and so forth.
Another good reason for opposing government-to-government aid (and that is what a lot of such aid amounts to), is because it bolsters existing, sometimes very harmful regimes, is frequently stolen and stashed away, or is misused, or deranges local markets, and creates a bureacracy with a vested interest in continuing programmes far beyond their useful life, assuming they ever had a valid reason in the first place.
Unfortunately, “Overseas Aid” has taken on a near sacred status in UK political discourse on a par with “National Health Service”.