Foreign Aid Essay, Research Paper
As time progresses humankind seeks to better itself. We strive to make life easier, faster, and more efficient. Currently we have telescopes that can see objects light years away, satellites that can track you around the planet, cars that adjust the seat and steering wheel to separate drivers, and computers that fit in your hand and perform a million calculations a second. But not everyone in this world has this technology. In parts of the world there are people who are still advancing, they are hundreds of years behind the technological leaders of this world. They only have the simple hand tools we discarded decades ago. They might have cars and trucks but those are technologies developed elsewhere. These people are falling behind in the world and appear to be falling faster. The people in the country are hungry and in need of jobs but we cannot be responsible for their welfare. We cannot make them dependant on our handouts they need to become educated and learn to support themselves within their borders. United States foreign aid is a bad thing because it hurts their economies, creates over-population, and we spend money that could be used closer to home.
United States aid hurts Third World countries because we blanket them in security and their economic problems remain hidden. Their failing economic system will not collapse as long as we keep feeding them money. The point of foreign aid is to help the country “get back on its feet”, and they never will if they never fix their broken economic system. The country can sit and ignore the underlying problems because they no longer have to worry about the screwed up system they have, as long as the United States keeps pumping the money in they wont have to worry. This will trap the United States into unending aid. We will never turn our back on a country in need, and if they start to fail because we withdraw our money we will just reinstate it. “Between 1945 and 1983 the U.S. gave away $321 billion in foreign assistance, concessional loans, military aid, and humanitarian assistance.” (Cato Policy Report, 1991) The Clinton administration task force admitted that, “Despite decades of foreign assistance, most of Africa and parts of Latin America, Asia and the Middle East are economically worse off today than they were 20 years ago.” (Conservative Chronicle, 1994) United States financial aid does not help the problem it stabilizes it until it’s withdrawn.
Another factor of foreign aid that hurts the aided country is over-population. The biggest cause of over population is sending foreign countries supplies of food. The land can only support so many people and their technology does not allow for surplus. Naturally when you run out of food the population will cease to grow. Adding food to a country increases the amount of people that can live in the country. Because there is more available food the population will grow thereby crowding the country causing a scarcity of resources such as clean water, growing room for food, and jobs. When the availability of food increases people become less dependent on their private farms. This can allow them the opportunity to move into the cities causing over-crowding and increasing the size of slums. If the United States continues to give food to these countries the population will continue to grow thus increasing the demand for food. What needs to occur is farmers in the country need to increase the amount of food the farms yield so they can support themselves. To quote Mr. Slattery, “If you give a man a fish he’s not hungry for a day, if you teach a man to fish he will never be hungry again.”
A final reason why we shouldn’t aid Third world countries is, if the government would stop sending supplies and money to foreign countries there would be less money within the country. Money that we could use to use therefor allowing us to get out of our deficit, create jobs, and give more money to the poor people of our country. The amount of food that exported to needy countries can be used to stop starvation in our country. We have this enormous surplus of food that can be used just as well here as abroad. The people in starving countries need to learn how to maximize their food production and create the surplus needed to allow them time to educate themselves. Free handouts affect the country that is giving and receiving. We lose food that can be given to our needy and it helps inflate their population. “Government expenditures on foreign aid as a proportion of the GDP grew from nineteen percent in 1961 to thirty-five percent in 1985.” (Cato Policy Report, 1991)
On the flip side there are some reasons why we should aid other countries in need. Foreign aid remains an extension of the American character. It is human nature to help others in need. Americans feel compassion for poverty stricken people, and they want to try and raise the living status of “less-fortunate” people to a level similar to their own. Look at all the charities in the world that help needy people. The money donated has saved millions of children over the years. The infant mortality rate is dropping in Third World countries, and hope is rising. Aiding helpless people makes Americans feel good about themselves and increases the chances of survival of children in underdeveloped countries all over the world.
Sending money to foreign countries for aid also helps setup small makeshift hospitals to help people stricken by diseases that normally would not be fatal in the United States. The money and doctors sent to these countries have stopped epidemics of the flu from wiping out children that normally wouldn’t have to worry that a cold could kill. Smallpox for example was only lingering in countries that couldn’t afford the vaccinations to eradicate it. With the United States intervention smallpox has been eliminated from even these poor countries. This improves the quality of life dramatically, and reduces the amount of death. The “helping hand” of the United States is making smaller differences like this that are slowly improving the quality of Third World inhabitant’s lives.
The third reason why the United States should aid other countries is that we have a surplus of food in this country. Americans are the most overweight people in the world. , we have the food to spare. The farming technology within our country is advances to the point that only a few farmers and machines are needed to run farms that are hundreds of thousands of times the size of farms in third world countries. American farmers want to sell their extra crop rather than scale back operations. The easiest way to get rid of food in a country full of overfed people is to give it to the underfed people. The United States government buys this food and ships it to countries that are hungry. In this way our farmers make more money and stimulate our economy. So by sending food out of the country we are also helping ourselves.
Americans are compassionate? How is it we feel sorry for people in other countries and can ship ton after ton of food to starving countries, but we don’t feel quite sorry enough to give that food to starving people in our own country. The food is also choking the starving country. Overpopulation is the biggest problem in Third World countries. We are encouraging over growth within these countries and that is hurting more than it is helping. It is good that we care for them but supplying food is not the way to go about fixing it. In 1985 thirty-five percent of our GDP was being spent on helping other countries with their problems. The amount we send grows every year. If the United States would apply these funds to its own problems we could eliminate famine and unemployment within our borders.
Second, eliminating diseases within these countries has its downside also. The population in Third World countries was originally controlled by lower amounts of food and disease, now we are eliminating those barriers. Without those factors in the ecosystem population has skyrocketed. Normally the environment wouldn’t allow more people than it could support, we are actually causing more famine by packing the land with extra people to feed. If the fifty percent of the children don’t die from disease like they used to, you now have twice as many new people to feed. When we withdraw our aid the land will not support that number of people and they will start to die off. If that ever starts to happen that compassion factor will kick in and Americans will throw more money out and start the cycle all over again.
Finally, the surplus of food in this country would be more helpful in eliminating hunger in our country. If we continue to send food to starving countries we are not encouraging them to improve themselves we just make them dependant on handouts. We need to reserve the food for starving people in out country. The food sent overseas to Third World countries is also encouraging over population. People aren’t starving as much anymore so they are multiplying and creating more people to starve, unless we increase our aid and its cost to us. The solution is to stop sending the food.
Because it causes overpopulation, hurts foreign economies, and spends money that could be used closer to home, United States aid is not a good thing. Although the United States is known as the “helping hand” throughout history, foreign aid is not helping as much as it is hurting other countries. These countries shouldn’t be given money and food, but rather be educated as to ways they can improve themselves. Once the aid runs out they will need to fend for themselves. If we were to give them some of our technologies and educate them, we would make a bigger difference. Foreign aid is not a necessary thing that the United States has to partake in. We need to adjust our techniques for helping other countries rather than dumping money and food on a problem and hope it cures itself.