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January 06, 2005

Comments

Paddy Carter

Can't the discrepancy (between aid for natural disasters and other problems like economic stagnation and civil war) mostly be explained by some problems being more amenable to aid as a solution than others? (I know you touch on this yourself) It is hard to imagine how throwing money at a civil war (like Sri Lanka) will help sort out whatever is causing it, unless it means shipping in a military presence sufficient to keep the peace every time conflict breaks out, which would amount to a heavily interventionist "world police" state of affairs that most people would be very uncomfortable with. You might say by rights we ought to "help more" where countries are ruled by theives and incompetents, but is there really any effective way of doing that, short of soft colonialisation? Don't certain problems need sorting out by the citizens of the country in question, whereas others can be usefully addressed by outside agencies? If so, the sharp contrast in aid looks more rational.
I don't quite follow the argument towards less goverment and more charity aid either - both seem to me equally prone to ineffectiveness. Most of the links you cite suggest to me that be response is to be more like the army, not more like Oxfam.

Tim Worstall

May I suggest the follow up piece at TCS for the other half of my argument? The piece you quote from presents the reason why I think govt to govt aid doesn’t work, the second a method that I think might (and it’s a very tentative might).
Wouldn’t want to be thought a completely uncaring bastard on the subject after all. I just want whatever aid there is to be effective, for the usual moral reasosn that we should indeed help our fellow humans, and should do so in ways that actually help them.

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