Daniel Halliday
Dec 25 · Last update 20 days ago.
Is international aid always a force for good?
International aid is the donation of resources of some kind from one country to another in order to tackle humanitarian disasters. However situations requiring aid often remain ongoing which has led some to question the efficacy of aid and others to criticise it outright. Does international aid giving always lead to ethical outcomes?
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Aid often supports neo-colonial dynamics
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Damages local economies
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The good aid does outweighs any negative effects
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Aid fuels corruption
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Aid often supports neo-colonial dynamics

Aid is not always a force for good; it is used as a tool of influence in international politics and often involves ulterior motives, or is withheld from nations that do not follow the donor states specific agenda. In this way donor states may be vying for economic favours or merely using aid as leverage over economically weaker countries with humanitarian crises. One recent example of aid being used as a political tool is in Venezuela’s presidential crisis, whereby the United States has been using food aid placed on the border to escalate the situation, actively encouraging civil unrest and even violence in Venezuela. Situations such as this have led some to describe aid as a tool of neo-colonialism, one in which force is replaced with the fuelling of corruption, destabilisation, and dependence on the donor country, as a means to control the region.

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Damages local economies

Aid can obviously be a force for good, but the effects aid has on a society are also multifaceted, and the negative consequences and outcomes need to be studied closely. Aid has been criticised by many economists for destabilising the local economy of a region, distorting economic incentives, change consumption patterns and even cause aid dependency, taking away economic self-sustainability from some communities. Aid shouldn’t be about giving small amounts of food to perpetuate the conditions of starving people in the world, it should be about funding projects that can aid economic or social development, or bring an end to the causes of humanitarian disasters.

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The good aid does outweighs any negative effects

The term “international aid” can be applied to a wide variety of donations of resources from one country to another, and it is therefore incredibly difficult to criticise all such acts collectively. Any negative effects of providing international aid would be immeasurably overshadowed by the pronounced level of humanitarian disaster caused if certain aid were removed from such situations. In the case of emergency humanitarian aid, to abandon aid would be to leave some people in the world with nothing. To critique such acts as a whole is dangerous, and has the potential to become politically charged, aid should be analysed on a case by case basis.

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Aid fuels corruption

International aid fuels one industry in Africa and that is corruption, regardless of the form aid takes, whether it is money or food, it doesn’t directly reach the people it is meant to and helps line the pockets of those in least need of aid. In the case of food or medicine the full amount of aid is often divided with a proportion then sold on the black market or sent directly to those with connections to corrupt politicians. But this culture of corruption goes further than African politics, with long term development aid organisations becoming bloated bureaucracies in themselves, perpetuating aid becomes an advantage to the company and the cycle of aid dependence corrupts the society it has been set up to save.

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