Dambisa Moyo- “Dead Aid”

Dambisa Moyo is a Zimbabwean economist, who wrote a book called “dead aid”. She doesn’t argue against the use of short term aid, but she does argue that aid is not getting to the poorest, and that only about 20¢ for every dollar that enters Zimbabwe get’s past Mugabe’s government. She claims that aid doesn’t encourage growth, self sufficiency or efficient enterprise.

Rather than relying on hand outs she says countries need to borrow on markets based on credit ratings. G8 countries have often discussed the state of poorer countries with no representatives for them present, even if they frequently have Western pop stars.

She argues that aid has not really done any overall good as US$1 trillion over 60 years has made no real impact on the incidence of poverty or on economic growth. Moyo claims that aid causes corruption, undermines accountability and chokes trade. This  is a huge fallacy as correlation does not mean causation. Lots of money does travel to relatively corrupt countries, but that’s often because some big disaster has occurred there, such as in Nepal, Ethiopia and many others, because they simply don’t have the money or infrastructure to support everyone even without the corruption, or, like in Swaziland, the presence of corruption is so great that it’s almost the sole cause of poverty.

Moyo suggests that instead of using aid money should be raised within the economy itself, by attracting foreign direct investment, reducing trade restrictions and promoting financial services to the poor. She seems to be unaware of the fact that countries don’t generally gain FDI unless they already have a decent enough economy or infrastructure to attract foreign companies. Far better methods would be to promote stability, tackle issues like climate change which are making it harder for poor countries to develop, reducing world wide corruption, changing immigration policies and promoting peace.

Views like hers may become very dangerous in the near future, as President Trump is likely to take any excuse he can to completely stop aid in the future. She does not propose viable alternatives to aid; the most viable alternatives are all things which Trump would be likely to diminish and suppress, and the US’s current role in aid would be hard to overstate.

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