Alternatives to War

5 myths about foreign aid

Part of the process of truly making development a key pillar of US foreign policy is improving the way we do it. This requires getting down to the fact about what works and what doesn’t, and dispelling misguided myths that impede that process.

To that end, John Norris of the Center for American Progress brings us “5 myths about foreign aid.” Here’s a taste:

4. Foreign governments waste the aid we give them.

During the Cold War, some foreign aid was directed to friendly dictators with little regard for their own people, such as Zaire’s President Mobutu Sese Seko. Local corruption also swallowed assistance to Haiti after 2010’s earthquake. But when aid is wasted, it’s more often a result of stateside congressional inefficiency.

For example, Congress mandates that 75 percent of all U.S. international food aid be shipped aboard U.S. flagged vessels — ships registered in the United States. A study by several researchers at Cornell University concluded that this subsidy of elite U.S. shipping companies cost American taxpayers $140 million in unnecessary transportation costs during 2006 alone.


Read the rest here.


1 reply »

  1. An issue that continues to overlooked is the degree of resentment toward a government and people that can generously aid others while turning our backs on the poor, hungry, homeless here in the States. Indeed, we punish our poor in our post-social safety net, post-jobs country. I got a much clearer understanding of our own government’s priorities following Hurricane Katrina, when efforts were made to block foreign aid to the victims of this storm, and then to thoroughly demonize the victims.

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