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What is your view on aid?

It is possible to take various positions on aid, and those on the left and right of the political spectrum might both oppose it, but for different reasons.


Where do you stand?

Have a look at the table below and see if you can identify your position.

Left Left / Liberal Liberal / Right Right
No! Yes, but ... Yes and No!
Aid is a hypocritical neo-colonialist device to make the rich richer We have a moral duty to help those who, through unfair terms of trade, for example, have been the victim of economic injustice at our hands It is in our interest to aid the poor - when they are richer they can buy more from us and help expand world trade. If a country cannot develop without handouts it will not develop with them. What holds less developed countries back is the people who live there.
Aid is used to prop up repressive and reactionary regimes Aid should be directed towards progressive countries We should aid friendly countries, or ones of strategic defence importance. Aid centralises money and power into a few government hands. It makes the possession if political office critical and leads to corruption, instability and coups d'etat.
Aid is creamed off by corrupt ruling elites in developing countries and therefore increases inequality Aid projects should help the redistribution of wealth to the desperately poor. Only the adequately nourished and educated can demand structural changes. Aid should be given to people who can use it effectively to modernise their society and work more efficiently. Aid depresses individual initiative and reinforces torpor, fatalism and beggary.
Loans and grants tied to the purchase of Western goods distort economic development in poor countries - and increase their dependence on the rich. Aid should be given as grants only and recipients should be free to import from wherever they like. Sensible aid can benefit both donor and recipient. Tied aid reduces pressure on the donor's balance of payments and allows more to be given. No 'lame duck' home industries should be subsidised - by tied aid or any other means. And if tax payers in the rich countries were actually consulted about aid they would refuse to give it.
Aid goes largely to governments sympathetic to capitalism. It paves the way for private investment that siphons wealth from poor countries. Aid should be given solely on the basis of need and the potential for social change. Private investment is not aid and can be damaging. Private investment is an excellent form of assistance. And aid can help it function properly by providing economic and political stability. If capital is required, and can be profitably used, it will be available commercially. Grants and interest-free loans only encourage inefficiency and waste.