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Foreign aid should be increased

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/17/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 534 times Debate No: 73697
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
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I am arguing that on balance foreign aid is a good thing and that countries like the US should increase the amount given.


Thank you for opening up this debate David12N.

I will argue that foreign aid should not be increased, on the grounds that countries such as the US have enough internal problems with poverty as it is, and as such their governments have a duty to help their own citizens before they help others around the world.

Firstly, just because countries like the USA are extremely wealthy does not mean that the wealth within that country comes to everyone in that country. I'm sure you have heard of the "1%" in the USA, referring to the fact that the richest 1% of Americans are richer than the other 99% combined. Now the Bible says "take the log out of your own eye before you take the speck out of your brother's eye": I'm not religious at all, but the point here is that MEDCs should take care of their own poverty and hunger before they go abroad to help others, because that is the duty of a government (to provide for the protection of the individual rights of its citizens). I do not believe the USA should be sending money abroad in the form of foreign aid when, according to 2012 census results, 46 million Americans (c.15% of the country) live in poverty (that is to say, below $11,670/annum for one person, and an extra $4,060/annum for every extra household resident). I do not believe a country such as the USA should be sending money abroad when, as of 2013, over 50% of public school children should be living in poverty. Meanwhile the US government sends abroad $37.68bn every year to help those in the third world, when 15% of their own citizens struggle to feed themselves and their families. A government's primary concern should be to look after its own people, and only once it has done that should it look abroad to help others.

Secondly, a lot of countries which receive foreign aid do not see that money go towards feeding their people, and in fact there is evidence to suggest that the "[foreign] aid culture" in African countries has led these countries to see unprecedented rises in inflation, making the poor even poorer, and increasing the chance of civil conflict significantly. We can also see examples of aid being allegedly taken (obviously they'll never confess to it) by the governments of dictatorial regimes to fund their own personal war chests while the people for whom the aid was intended never see a penny of it.

The ultimate truth is that despite the fact that wealthy countries have sent over $1tn to Africa alone over the past 60 years, African levels of poverty are higher in 2015 than they were in the 1970s. Over half the population of Africa (350m people to be exact) live on less than a dollar a day. Therefore, for one reason or another, we can see that foreign aid, although an incredibly well-intended and positive sentiment, does not have a positive effect on the third world - in fact, it has quite the opposite effect.

Therefore, shouldn't the governments of the US, UK and other wealthy countries in the world spend more on helping their own citizens living in poverty and hunger, instead of throwing that money into a giant bonfire of corruption and good intentions. After all, T.S. Eliot once said "most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions".
Debate Round No. 1


Hello, Thanks for taking the debate.

There is of course a lot that has to be done within America but I would argue that one can do both. Many of the countries that give the most in foreign aid {as a percentage} are also ones that provide a very high standard of living and low poverty to their own people. They have managed to do both. It also needs to be noted the USA gives less than 1% of its budget to foreign aid. This still leaves trillions of dollars to help Americans.

No doubt foreign aid has not always gone to where it is needed the most and some of it has been stolen. This does not mean that none of it has made it or worked and there should be no increase in foreign aid. There are examples of the good foreign aid can do. There are also mechanisms in place to reduce money being stolen. It can go to not for profits instead of national governments for example. Many countries that have received foreign aid have not been held down because of it. Brazil and Singapore are just some of the countries that have done well economically even though they received a lot of aid.

Africa has not done as badly as is often portrayed. "Income per person in Africa has climbed by two-thirds since 1998"from just over $1,300 then to nearly $2,200 today. Seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies of the past half-decade are in Africa" The more than 1 trillion dollars over decades is not that much when one considers that per year that works out to be only about 20 billion a year and that is shared amongst more than 40 countries in Africa. Working out at around 500 million a year per country and that is only if it was equally allocated which it was not.


I understand your argument, and I agree with you. I'm not saying foreign aid is always a bad thing, and I'm not saying all of it goes to waste. However I do not think that the amount of foreign aid should increase before we start dealing with the issue of where that aid is going. At the moment, a certain percentage of the aid countries such as the USA and UK send abroad is wasted because of the reasons I stated in Round 1. Therefore we shouldn't just mindlessly increase the aid we send abroad, but instead we should review the current amount we send and work out where it's going to waste. We should make the aid we send more efficient before we decide to increase it.

To counter your point about the average wage in Africa going up: this is not because your average African has become richer. Your figures are in fact misleading, because what has actually happened is the poorest half of Africans have become poorer, but the richest Africans have become richer at a higher rate than the other Africans getting poorer. This means that it would appear on paper that people in Africa are all earning more, when in fact this is not the case. How else would African poverty levels be higher now than they used to be? The inflation which large injections of capital to poor countries cause can be fatal for a country, and especially the poorest people in that country, who can no longer even afford a loaf of bread. And while African economies are rapidly growing, at the moment this isn't helping that 50% of the population living on under $1/day, but is instead making a few people very rich. And you say $500m isn't a lot, but for a country like Ghana, one of the richest countries in Africa, that will equate to just over 10% of the current GDP, which is far higher than it used to be. That much money just turning up in Ghana could lead to major inflation, but this is only Ghana, with a GDP far above most other African countries ($48bn/capita).

To conclude, I agree with you that foreign aid can and does work in certain cases, but before we start spending more on helping nations abroad, we should make the current money we send go further, and rethink the way in which we give foreign aid.
Debate Round No. 2


The number of the very poor in Africa has actually more than halved since 1990 according to people like Bill Gates.
Foreign aid does not have to cause inflation. It depends on how the money is spent. I would say we already know enough about how to make aid work better given that we have been giving it out for decades and there have been many recommendations on how to improve it. I would also say that we can't delay increasing it because it has been underfunded and frequently cut by governments for decades and so we got a lot of catch-up to do so we can better address issues like poverty and health.


But the reason we have been sending less abroad is because we need more money at home to deal with domestic problems. It is not our responsibility to hold up countries in the world which are effectively "black holes", which just suck up foreign aid and none of it ends up going to the people, but instead funds governments which often neglect their people.

Here is an article which highlights how damaging foreign aid can really be when not spent right: This article states that over 50% of Africans live in poverty, however this article received widespread criticism for actually understating the levels of poverty in Africa. One critic from VOX said that the figure was actually closer to 70%. Shovelling more money onto the fire doesn't help anything except appeasing people who think we should be sending aid abroad. Instead we should make sure the current money we are sending off goes to better causes, and is used to directly fund projects as opposed to giving cheques to governments and letting them spend it how they wish.

The answer is not to just throw more money at the problem, it's a more complex issue than that. A government's responsibility is not to help people abroad, but instead to help people at home and listen to their wishes. In a Politico poll in 2013, 40% of Americans, when given 19 options, wanted to actually reduce the amount of foreign aid sent abroad, because they do not feel it is actually spent right. If we actually want to make a difference with our foreign aid, we need to seriously review how that money is spent, where it goes, and what effects it really has before we choose to just spend more.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by debatability 1 year ago
I'm very interested in this debate.

@david12n can you promise not to forfiet?
Posted by David12N 1 year ago
Hello BarbieSoFetch.

Yes that is the idea.
Posted by BarbieSoFetch 1 year ago
Do you mean helping other countries other than the US?
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