Giving aid to the poor just keeps the poor at the same level. I don't disagree that children should get the help they need. But able-bodied adults who are not working? It's just making our economy worse. Giving a hand-out allows people to believe they're somehow deserving of it. This should not be the case.
Not only does humanitarian aid help those who need it, it also spreads good will and puts our country in a better light. We live in a violent world, and when people have nothing to loose they are more likely to hate us and become our enemies. This could lead to more violence, and more wars. We need to win the hearts and minds of those less fortunate than us.
Those who are well off in society have a moral obligation to help those less fortunate. It reflects the true nature of a society when we look at the status of its worst off members. When extreme inequalities in wealth exist that is the mark of a sick society and one which cannot sustain itself over the long term. By giving aid to the poor we can help blunt some of these problems/
I believe that humanitarian aid while not only good actually benefits the economy that provides the aid. For example, after World War two, the people of Europe suffered greatly and cash had to flow in the devastated countries to rebuild them, this actually created an economy of building. Other types of aid also create niche economies such as transportation of humanitarian goods and training of local people to care for their own communities. This makes humanitarian aid for the poor not only good policy, but economic sense.
Please do not take this the wrong way. I agree we need to help those less fortunate especially in a time of natural disaster. However, the United States, as a whole, needs to understand that you can only give what you have. When our government gives aid to those in need they should make sure they have it to give beforehand. Instead they go further and further into debt themselves trying to help those in need which causes more of a burden on the already over burdened taxpayers.
If you measured economics, by value to gain, then this is expenditure without gain in return...unless of course recovery is fast and considered the long term. It is "morally" right, but economically not always beneficial. So in respects it can be harmful to an economy.
Poor people do not want handouts because they are demeaning. They want opportunities to take care of themselves with jobs. Also, it is not good for the economy to allow people to become dependent on government handouts. It is an incentive for people to be lazy and a bad example for new workers.
We can ask ourselves a set of questions about the possible harm aid causes, in the end, economic harm. Unfortunately, in so many countries, the "harm index" is too high and should suggest to us that we provide much less humanitarian aid, and work instead on political solutions, policy/diplomacy.
Some questions to measure the harm:
Questions to guide type and level of engagement (or not) by INGOs in a given country (1 to 10 scale):
1. To what extent has emergency relief become a permanent infusion into the country’s economy, suppressing impetus for local solutions and nationally-driven development, particularly, enabling the government to abdicate on its responsibilities?
2. To what extent does the international community provide donor aid/relief as a substitute for stepped-up diplomatic efforts aimed at political solutions?
3. To what extent is emergency relief programming still directed at an actual emergency?
4. How genuine is the government/international community timeline on winding-down/pull-out or does a timeline even exist?
5. To what extent is the government accountable to its citizens, or have foreign entities providing funds and military strength taken the place of citizens in the traditional government-citizens political pact?
6. To what extent are NGOs and aid driving the local economy?
7. To what extent are local graduates and professionals investing themselves in the INGO and international agencies sector rather than the private or public national sector? What is the ratio of salary scale vis-à-vis foreign-run and national employment?
8. What is the level of corruption in the country caused by foreign aid?
9. To what extent are verifiably beneficial NGO projects/programs tainted by the “corruption surcharge” prevalent in a given country, (i.E. Exorbitant visa fees; requirements/pressure to prop up governmental agencies with evaluation/monitoring/training fees, workshop/conference underwriting; etc.)
10. To what extent do armed groups benefit and prolong their activities due to injection of aid into the local communities/national economy?
Humanitarian aid to poor countries can be a positive thing, but it can also be a negative thing in terms of the local economy. If large amounts of free goods are given away in these countries, then local farmers and manufactures will go out of business as no one will pay for what they can get for free. This increases the desperation in these countries and eventually makes them fully dependent on foreign donations as no local producers exist anymore.
America prides itself on being a land of opportunity. There are so many stories of people who come over here, who had nothing, and they work their way up. If people are denied that opportunity, and money is taken from the rich and handed to the poor, progress is hindered. Helping the poor is awesome, when it is done appropriately. I see nothing wrong with having welfare programs. But, when people excessively tax the wealthy innovators, they hinder the growth that could potentially break someone's poverty cycle.
Development aid, if mismanaged, could cause economic harm to a poorer country. But, this question is not about development aid. By definition, "humanitarian" aid is in response to an unusual disaster that demands extra response. If there is a tsunami, an earthquake, or another event that puts people in imminent danger of death, then an emergency humanitarian response to that unusual situation is a special intervention that doesn't really relate to the ordinary economy of the country. People who are in imminent danger of death from an emergency desperately need food, water and medical care, which is why we help by moving in with humanitarian aid at times like those.
They say that society can be judged on how they treat the poor and unfortunate. If we took better care of the poor, there would be less money spent later on expensive hospital bills that they won't be able to pay anyway. I think that health care should be a right in America, and it makes me very mad that it isn't. Also, there is no reason that good food should go to waste, because an organization doesn't want to donate it, or they aren't getting a government kick back to donate it. I think well-fed, healthy people, no matter what their background, are going to be able to better contribute to society, as a whole, in the long run, which, in turn, will divert economic harm.
While the best type of humanitarian aid that can be provided to the poor is the type that helps them become self-reliant, there is nothing negative about other types of aid offered to them. While I'm no economist, I don't believe that those who are destitute don't put forth an honest day's effort to provide for all their needs, and that the humanitarian aid that is offered to them is just a part of that honest day's effort. Therefore, there is no negative impact on the economy.
Since the beginning of time it has been a recorded human behavior to pity those less fortunate than us. Providing aid to the poor allows the human race to continue to survive. It in no way damages the economy and probably even makes it better by providing jobs and circumstances for the human population to better itself.
Humanitarian aid to the poor prevents an overburdened law enforcement system. It costs money to hire more police officers necessary to combat poverty-related crime. It also costs the judicial system more money in hiring public defenders for the poor people who have resorted to crime to alleviate their poverty.
In the short term, providing aid to the poor produces a negative economic effect by exchanging produced items without obtaining the same value in return. For example, if a person produces a food item at a cost of $10 that can be sold for $15, but instead donates the item, the person is "out" $5 dollars, which, if received, could have been used to purchase other goods or services from other persons. However, with such aid, the poor may be able to become self-sustaining and productive in their own right, and by doing so, contribute back in the long run more ultimate value than lost in the short term.
If the poor were not provided aid, they would end up stealing so that they would be able to get by. Businesses and homes would be broken into for food and money. People would be walking around with guns and knives for protection. The crime and the fear would cause more negative economic harm than would providing aid to the poor.
Tax money is collected to redistribute it to the society for the general well-being in various forms. Many types of aids are planned to support the sectors - whether it is a industry, education, a region or a group, which are required to be uplifted. Poor or economically weaker sections also needs some support so that they can withstand and come out of the present distress they are going through and join the workforce and contribute to the society and economy in a healthier state.
In the developed world, we don't truly understand the impact that disease and hunger can have on an economy. When a population is sick or hungry, the economic output is decreased dramatically. By helping countries to overcome these sorts of humanitarian problems, we can actually help them to increase their GDP, and it can be a great help to their economy.