Wednesday, January 24, 2007

On Charitable Giving and Foreign Aid

My own, unfashionable view is that charitable giving, both governmental and private, is more likely to increase than to alleviate the poverty, ill health, and other miseries of the recipient populations.
Guess who said this? Jeff Sachs would not agree, but I bet Jeff would endorse this view of Mr. Who:
The "generous" gifts from wealthy countries--pluming themselves on their greater (apparent) generosity than the United States--enable those countries to hide, perhaps even from themselves, the extent to which their tariff policies immiserate poor countries.
Smart economic analysts debate the value of foreign aid, but no one seriously doubts that truly free trade would benefit the world's poor.