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Government aid

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”.

7 comments to Government aid

  • I was beginning to think I was alone on this planet. Another intelligent being lives here after all!

    Yes. Exactly. Stop ALL government to government aid and, If you want to help the poor in a poor country, help THEM directly (not some probably corrupt administration or giant bureaucracy in either or both locations).

    Most certainly of all, stop giving money to governments in charge of economies that are thriving and largely in direct competition with the UK!

  • Jason B

    “Dead Aid” by Dambisa Moyo was a facinating book on this subject. I recommend it to anyone even remotely intetrested in the subject

  • Jason B

    “Dead Aid” by Dambisa Moyo was a facinating book on this subject. I recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the subject

  • Chuckles

    And of course the aid which exists purely to funnel money to the favoured Quango or Corporate in the donor country, in order to provide the ‘Aid’ to the recipient.

    As has been noted elsewhere, how much aid are India and China going to send us in the not too distant future? And on what terms?

  • Laird

    Johnathan hits the nail squarely on the head.

    Douglas Casey expressed it very well: “Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.”

  • jim

    The Japanese tend to offer to build roads in foreign countries, they then hire Japanese firms to do the work, who then make political donations back home. So it enables the companies to build up their business in a foreign country plus give the Pols access to a slush fund.
    Presumably our government does something similar.

  • The giving of aid to governments, which themselves give aid to other governments… is just about the most red-hot tip-off imaginable. I won’t say the whole programme is all about hiding the ‘pass the brown envelope’ trail amongst our richers and betters, but that side of it is certainly enough to explain why they are so keen for us to consider it sacrosanct.

    Stealing is Generosity, Tribute is Charity, the Ruler is the People, and so forth in the good old Orwell style.