Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dead Aid

Dambisa Moyo in her book “Dead Aid” writes about what we in the perpetually developing world have known for a long time: “The notion that aid can alleviate systemic poverty…is a myth.” Dole-outs stunt productivity and stimulate corruption. Instead, she suggests that poor nations become agriculturally self-reliant and engage in trade with other countries; adapt microfinance credit schemes successfully tried in Bangladesh and attract more investment with amoral, pure-business countries like China which are concerned only with money-making opportunities and nothing much of anything else.

In reality, the US has been the most ruthlessly business-oriented nation for a long time. Most US citizens feel they have strutting rights because they think they give a whole lot of assistance worldwide when the US allocates less than 1% of its GDP to “aid” other nations. And most of this “assistance” come in the form of military hardware and farm products heavily subsidized by the US government. No wonder US citizens enjoy a quality of life that is the envy of the entire planet: the bottom line in the balance sheet reveals a huge advantage in favor of the American people.

I am personally offended whenever I meet people in the US with this patronizing attitude towards the Philippines. I try to let as many of them know that a great majority of these “donations” consisted of outdated, overvalued aircraft, ships and weapons that otherwise would have been dumped in some desert junkyard and whatever relatively small sums of money that remain are reliably exploited and treated as bribe money by corrupt politicians.

“Dead Aid” validates a lesson we should have learned a long time ago. We are out there on our own. We are going to have to depend on ourselves to make the Philippines a better place for all Filipinos.


azron said...

If the conservatives were in charge now in Washington, most of the stimulus bill would have gone to foreign countries with the stipulation that they buy our products esp. military products no longer needed by us.

Anonymous said...

While people like the execs in AIG ruin the world.