Is U.S. Foreign Aid A Waste?
Politics

Is U.S. Foreign Aid A Waste?

Many argue that foreign aid is a waste. Is that an accurate statement?

92

The United States started popularizing foreign aid shortly after WWII with the Marshall Plan. This plan was one of the largest foreign aid propositions in United States history, giving approximately $100 billion to Europe to assist in their rebuilding efforts. The largest recipient of Marshall Plan funds was the United Kingdom. Since then, the United States has begun to engage in a variety of other foreign aid efforts. But the question still stands: does our foreign aid to developing countries actually help?

There are some who say no. In fact, they argue for the complete elimination of foreign aid to developing (most frequently, African) countries.

Before we can fully assess the impacts of American foreign aid, we must first understand the two types of aid the United States distributes. The first type is military aid. This is a broad category that encompasses all forms of monetary, training, and non-U.N. peacekeeping aid (Note: this monetary aid goes to acquiring defense equipment for other countries.). The second type of aid is known as economic assistance. As one can imagine, economic assistance includes but is not limited to food aid, clean drinking water, and other life necessities.

In 2017, the United States distributed $14.7 million in economic assistance and $14.77 million of military aid. There are, however, some who are concerned that the economic assistance provided to certain countries is ineffective. A prime example of this frustration is a statement by former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill. On a trip to Africa, O'Neill said, "We've spent trillions of dollars on these problems and have damn near nothing to show for it."

People who hold this belief simultaneously argue that African governments are squandering the money, whether through corruption or ineffective use.

According to Jeffery Sachs, a world-renowned international macroeconomist at Columbia University, it's a common misconception that our aid to Africa has been useless. Sachs alleges that our aid to Africa has been in relatively low amounts: only $12 per person. In fact, he says that in 2002 it was significantly less, only $3 per person. That being said, it is no surprise that we see little to no change. Moreover, the impacts of government on economic development are limited, says Sachs. Rather than a causal relationship (that good government causes economic success), they go together. As one advances, so does the other and vice versa.

While Sachs provides strong reasoning, many still aren't convinced. It may not be surprising to learn that this issue is heavily studied within economics. William Easterly offers a differing perspective, suggesting a theory of perverse incentives for governments (African or not) to squander the money they receive through foreign aid. If the government effectively uses aid to build capital and solve their problems, they'll be less likely to receive as much if any aid in the coming years. So, argues Easterly, there becomes an incentive to limit growth and development.

So what's the remedy? Again, the economists are still out on this one. It has been suggested that the United States start offering conditional aid, meaning that the U.S. will offer a country a certain amount of aid based on whether they change their policies, spend the money well, and avoid corruption. Others argue that we simply need to offer more money to these countries, citing the above stated figures. The reality is that global economic policy is difficult and complicated to effectively resolve. It will be years before developing countries see strong positive growth.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

This Survey Shows How Quarantine And Drinking Relate, And I Can't Say I'm Surprised

"5 o'clock somewhere" is more of a guideline now than ever.

As it stands, and my friends and I are finally 21. We're extremely excited to be able to go out to bars and "get lit" as the kids say, but due to the pandemic, all of our plans have been put on hold. We'd rather wait and go when it's safe than risk spreading the infection and hurting our loved ones. So, we've all been quarantining apart, getting on the occasional wine zoom call. This made me wonder if anyone else our age were doing the same thing.

Then, I discovered this survey: We Surveyed Millennials And Gen Z About Their Quarantine Drinking Habits — Cheers. Here are 3 things that I discovered through the survey results.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

5 Easy Summer Mocktail Recipes You Can Make With Items You Probably Already Have On-Hand

Keep these drinks in mind next time you're visiting your local farmer's market — you might want to grab some extra mint and limes.

With Summer 2020 in full swing comes the addition of many fresh fruits and vegetables to brighten up your dinner plate, but also your glass! Farmers markets are my personal favorite place to look for produce that is in season to make fun mocktails with.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

5 Ways To Celebrate The 4th of July — Without Fireworks Or Social Gatherings

We created a list of things to do since social distancing may create a dent in our typical, planned traditions.

With the Fourth of July on Saturday, the usual tradition of popping fireworks, grilling out, and being surrounded by family has been modified due to the pandemic. Whether you're a loner or surrounded by family, there will most likely be some changes to your celebrations.

For weeks on social media, people across the country have been complaining that they have been subjected to fireworks going off at all times of the night into the early morning. This has sparked concern and questions about why this is happening and how are people even obtaining the fireworks.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Carb And Cheese Lovers, Unite — These Are The Best Mac And Cheese Recipes On The Internet

Whether you need to get through the current pandemic or want to spice up your Fourth of July celebrations, these mac and cheese recipes will do just that.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxIKdnMHcGr/

My favorite food is mac and cheese, and it always has been. All it requires is noodles and cheese — it's so simple to make. Although it's my favorite, it can also get kind of mundane because it's such a simple recipe. This, of course, has led to many people all over the world experimenting with the American staple.

With our lives currently being turned upside down due to the pandemic, a lot of people are seeking comfort. These are scary times, and in order to make it day-to-day, we need to have our favorite foods as a standby. These recipes can also be used during your celebration of the Fourth of July.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

17 Things To Make You Feel GOOD This Week

Because some purchases are just necessary.

Y'all, we're struggling. You don't even have to tell me, I know. What a mess we're all in, right? This year is not going how we planned and the world has turned into one giant struggle bus. I guess you could be super philosophical about everything happening for a reason, but sometimes life is just hard.

There are plenty of ways to bring yourself out of whatever rut you're in. You could go for a run, have a snack, or read a book. Or, if you're really looking for an adrenaline rush, go shopping. This is obviously not going to solve the world's problems with one swift click of the "checkout" button, but hey, it may just give you the little boost you need today.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Blissfully unaware that butt-care beyond squats was even something I should be considering in my self-care routine, I tried one of Bawdy Beauty's butt masks for the first time a month ago.

- I've never really given my butt a second though till I took a look at improvements that could be made with the mask — if one of the hydrating, firming, detoxifying, or brightening masks in the kit I received could either smooth out cellulite or tone my skin a bit more, I wasn't going to complain.

- Each Bawdy Beauty sheet mask comes in an individually-packaged sheet, soaked with a serum I massaged into my skin after removing said sheet. The clay butt mask comes in a convenient stick format I simply draw on to my skin and leave to set for about 10 minutes before hopping into the shower.

- I set a goal of committing myself to butt-care every day for one month. Between the regular use of sheet masks, clay masks, and their CBD Butt Balm in between, I didn't have many expectations.

- I thought the whole concept may just be a gimmick, but my butt has never looked so toned in my life, and the cellulite I had is almost completely gone. I wear one every single day when I get the chance.

I'm incredibly skeptical when it comes to marketing ploys and gimmicks in the beauty world. I'll be the first cynic to try out the latest serum on the market every influencer is raving about just to negate every grandiose claim it makes.

Keep Reading... Show less

Friends, you don't have to be quarantined to use a personal massager, you know? Because, sure, quarantine made for a lot of extra quality time with yourself, but no matter what phase of the reopening process you're in, it's normal and actually healthy to take care of your sexual needs on your own.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

5 Books I Didn't Realize Are About Gay Women

If you read primarily LGBTQ fiction, then this list might help to expand your TBR list.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Frequent readers of LGBTQ fiction might feel like they're reading the same book over and over again, with few exceptions.

Most of these books were on my TBR list for months and I didn't realize they were about gay women until I was reading them, hopefully, this list of books can interest you in expanding your reading material and seeking out different stories.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments