July 02, 2005
Have you signed?
Please go to Live 8 and sign the petition. All the right-wing think tanks are up in arms against dropping Third World debt and increasing aid, leaving no doubt in my mind that these are worthwhile and necessary objectives!
Giving “food, medicine, and equipment,” as you propose, is a delicate matter that should be entrusted to progressive development organizations such as Oxfam and Doctors without Borders. Otherwise, it may end up doing more harm than good. For instance, food aid tends to harm the interests of local farmers, not to speak of the fact that it introduces alien food products into the country, creating long-term dependency on imported food items that cannot be grown locally. Similarly, medical assistance tends to undermine the work of local physicians, as happened in Sri Lanka in the wake of the recent tsunami. Giving “equipment” often has similar results.
The western society won't crumble to peices if we erase these loans... I'm quite sure of that... but if we don't... who knows what can happen in 20 years or further.
It's been my experience that money given unnaccountably to a group of people like that results in a degradation of culture and abuse of the system. Maybe make it interest free? Adjust it so that it's affordable? Anything but give it freely as if it has no value.
Regarding the medical aid and food I agree that we should provide this in any case, better yet have them provide it in some way - keep any outside involvement to a minimum.
"For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!"
It puts some matters into perspective.
I agree that there are different and conflicting perspectives on the issue of development aid. This does not mean, however, that all of them are valid. Some of them are valuable contributions to the debate, to some extent or other. The rest are, generally speaking, mere expressions of the class interests of the particular speaker.
I do agree that the we should be more careful when pouring aid money into developing countries in Africa. It has been proven again and again that financial aid stimulates corruption. However, dept relief is not direct aid, rather a chance for a poor country to use their income to build their contry instead of just paying interests.
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