Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Let's End Foreign Aid

My name is Jackson Berg and I'm a Exercise Science major, future chiropractor and avid Quidditch player who has a passion for helping people, the right way. In this little post I'd like to make a bold claim: let's end foreign aid... all of it! Now before you dismiss me as a heartless isolationist, let me explain why.

First let me define what I mean by foreign aid.
For my purposes I am defining foreign aid as any money that the United States Government gives to another nation. According to NPR the government sends out over $40 billion dollars each year, but's not about the money.
You may be thinking: If it's not about the money, then why do you care? As a future chiropractor I've talked to many chiropractors or other health care professionals who go on "mission trips". They go treat people for a week or two then head back home. I realized that although they have the right intention, the lasting impact is what really matters. So what does this have to do with foreign aid?
In Sanjay Pradhan's ted talk "Open data is changing international aid" he makes the case that government is slow to respond to what people truly need. Especially when aid is given government to government. This means new schools with no teachers and new hospitals built with no medicine.
He makes the case that individuals can help others better than nations. Crowd sourcing international aid and working directly with the people in need. Like the crowd sourcing of mapping disaster struck nations, or helping non profits work together. This creates longer lasting, more sustainable impact.

The importance of the long term effect of how we help people isn't new. Way back in the 19th century Andrew Carnegie in his book "the Gospel of Wealth" said those who have more should help others help themselves, not hand out money.
This lasting impact is why individual citizens working together are better able to help lift others than a nation's government could ever do. Let's look at an example of just how powerful sustainable, high impact aid can be when done by a private citizen.

In the book "Politics Poverty and Microfinance" by Brian Warby, the author starts off with the story of Muhammad Yunus. Muhammad Yunas, the father of micro finance, used small loans in to women in third world countries to help them start businesses and improve their situations. This has allowed them to making a lasting impact.
What you may not know is that micro loans really took off when for profit companies started investing hundreds of millions in these low risk, high return loans. That's right countless people's lives were being improved AND people were making high profits doing it. Profits and purpose can allow citizens to do so much more than a government could realistically do.
So let's help people and let's do it in the best way possible by allowing people the power to help others overcome their situations and leave a lasting impact on the world. Let's end government foreign aid and let the citizens of the world change the world. Feel free to comment below and let me know what you think about this post! Any constructive feedback is welcome!

1 comment:

  1. I would argue that foreign aid is needed. I think that a re-vamping of the distribution of the aid is more than necessary. But, I would never say to get rid of it, even though it comes from the government. Foreign aid is a peace-keeper. Even when it is arguably distributed incorrectly, it builds alliances and keeps peace between nations.