Saturday, 28 May 2011

Overseas Aid

courtesy of Economics Help

Usually I try to see the best in people but it's very difficult to see anything of substance in the Prime Minister.  More and more he looks like a glorified salesman rather than a strong leader with a conviction to make Britain a fair place for all.

In a weak defence of his decision to give proportionately the highest amount of money among the world's leading economies in overseas aid - £8.5 billion - David Cameron insisted it was the right thing to do.

“We should be in no doubt that if we get this wrong, if we fail to support these countries, we risk giving oxygen to the extremists who prey on the frustrations and aspirations of young people.

“You would see, if we fail, more terrorism, more immigration and more instability coming from Europe’s southern border.”

There we have it.  Scaremongering is the best tactic to silence critics.

The problem is that there's no proof money does reach those most in need; if it did I'd say it was money very well spent.  But is upping the aid to North Africa from £20m to £110m a sensible move when we're so much in debt?

We're borrowing money to give away to other countries while this is happening here and that can't be right.  Moreover, in a few years the elderly population will increase dramatically yet only lip-service is being paid to the problem. In the past few years the Scottish government has recognised it and has a system in place although it is by no means perfect, at least it does offer a safety net of sorts to the elderly who may require extra care.  Where's England's solution?

What's worse is that DFID has little idea where the money goes once it leaves these shores, although there are exceptions.

All governments borrow money, but is it sensible to borrow money to give away charitably?  Wouldn't we be much better using the money to solve our own financial problems first then helping others?

If my monthly income was £500 and I needed £495 to meet my living costs I'd be happy to give the remaining £5 to a charity, but if my living costs were £500, would I borrow £5 to give to charity? It wouldn't make sense because eventually I'd be in the position where I either had to radically reduce my living costs or else be deeply involved in a debt I couldn't pay unless I could increase my income.  Governments increase income by taxation but how much longer can we cope with spiraling taxation when the basic costs of living - food, housing and utilities - are rapidly increasing?


Anonymous said...

Well said. I’m a big believer in giving to help people who have had the misfortune to be born in a part of the world less geographically or climatically able to support them. After all, countries’ borders are nothing but lines on a map, put there by kings and profiteers.

But what you say makes sense. If we were able to give from a large pot of wealth, that would be not only right, but in my opinion, obligatory. But we don’t have that pot full of money. In fact we don’t even have the pot. Our pensioners are going cold and hungry; vast and increasing numbers of our children are growing up in poverty; in both England and Scotland our health services are short of money, and I’ve seen far better roads in the third world. The widow’s mite might be an appropriate allusion here. We should give, because for all our travails, we are much better off than so many others, and we CAN borrow, as so many other countries cannot. But we should do it within the bounds of what is reasonable.

Why is it that the Tories say that throwing money at problems in the UK is not the right answer, but throwing money at North Africa is?

Could it be something to do with buying a place in the G8, which of course no longer represents the richest countries in the world... including, as it does Italy and UK, and excluding Brazil and China. Another relic of the past, I fear.

Or could it be that this kind of largesse buys Cameron the right to swagger around like some sort of latter day imperial overlord?

The royal family, the prime minister* and the third world seem to do rather well out of this broken and broke country. Pity the rest of us fare so badly.

He spent £¾ million on Downing Street improvements last year including all of a £30,000 annual allowance on top of his salary, given as of right to prime ministers to make improvements to their personal living conditions. OK for some.

Anonymous said...

Well said Subrosa and Tris!

Charity should begin at home and its very hard to justify the scale of aid now being given when the UK is in such a dire state both financially and socially.

With regards to Cameron, I have long thought that he is a complete and utter joke as a PM, kept in place only by the influence of the Murdoch empire.

At the heart of all this is the illusion that Westminster and the UK establishment has that the UK is still an imperial world power, and can throw its military and money about everywhere at will in order to retain influence in the world.

I want no part of this illusion and look forward to the day when the people of Scotland fully realise what is going on and vote decisively to regain Scotland's independence thus ending the illusion once and for all as far as Scotland is concerned.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

This huge British Debt scam is being used by these ideological tyrants to destroy - not improve or correct, but to destroy the society we live in.

Britain net debt is around 80% less than the figure they like to bombard our sense with.

That 80% is made up of the amount we have lent to the same nations we're supposedly in debt to. And much of the remaining 20% are due to the factions who created the so called problem in the first place.

Simple analogy - if A is due B £100 and B due A £120 the net debt is £20 - take difference of time and interest into the arithmetic and you create confusion - which is what they use - but in essence the difference of £20 remains.

They are using this confusion and applying it to our ignorance in order to force conservative ideologies through that would have made the avarice of Thatchers eyes water.

Check "The Debt Jubilee" on the Golem XIV Blog for more details.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

This policy really does beggar belief, SR. Yet unfortunately it is not just Cameron as MiliE and Clegg also believe the same.

When I briefly met Shapps the mindset was exactly the same - blinkered political dogma! Mind you, I have not given up in my fight for the elderly and vulnerable and I am, with my solicitor, still chasing Cameron.

Billy Carlin said...

It is the monetary system that is the major problem, not only here in the bankrupt countries like the US and UK, but in the poor countries.

The poor countries are saddled with debt from the World Bank - all designed to steal the poor countries assets and privatise everything for the benefit of the banks and the money grabbers.

Don't worry Subrosa we are just a bankrupt nation who are printing money and keeping interest rates low to try and delay the inevitable so maybe when that time comes Cameron will be hoping that these poor countries will do the same for us.

Things aint going to get any better for the the supposed rich countries of the world never mind the poor unless we have a fundamental change in the way we people do things because we are killing ourselves and the planet off the way we do things just now. Another of the excellent Zeitgeist films that explains what we are doing here Subrosa:

petem130 said...

We give aid to India who can afford a space programme which we can't. We provide fund to Pakistan who certainly don't share our values or beliefs.

We have to pay extra for our petrol, fags, booze, driving, electricity etc. etc. in the form of duty.

We all want to help the poor. The NGOs want to help the poor. Dave wants ti help the poor.

Doling out larger and larger amounts of money proves nothing. It may help some but certainly won't achieve value for money.

Lets start at home. Fairness. That's Daves word. Fix the roads which we already pay them to do. Stop the additional charges on electricity. Reduce the tax on fags, booze, petrol etc. etc.

cynicalHighlander said...

Another two UK casualties in Afghanistan on the same day as the Global Peace Index is published.

Brian said...

We should be in no doubt that if we get this wrong, if we fail to support these countries, we risk giving oxygen to the extremists who prey on the frustrations and aspirations of young people.

“You would see, if we fail, more terrorism, more immigration and more instability coming from Europe’s southern border

It ought to be called paying the Davegeld. In angling it's known as ground-baiting to attract fish. If they can afford to throw money overseas then there must be much more over there so the logic of the economic immigrant goes.
George Herbert had it right in 1640"Love your neighbour, yet pull not downe your hedge."
The West should do what China and India do: spend small amounts on targeted aid to increase influence and buy up resources.

Jo G said...

I think our idea of poverty and the reality of poverty in the third world are two completely different things.

I would want greater controls over the money we send abroad to ensure the aid is delivered right to the source where it is needed so that massive amounts can't be syphoned off. But we should not doubt that there are people who need our help desperately. I think we should be there for them.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Jo - whilst I agree. If we stop the poor being exploited it will be best for all the nations no matter their relative wealth or poverty.

Jo G said...

John, relative to you and I is one thing. For them it is starvation. I could not live with that.

subrosa said...

Well said Tris. If the giver gets into debt giving then the giving ceases. How much more can we be taxed?

subrosa said...

We do have to rid ourselves of the imperial illusion M. I trust an independent Scotland will live within its mean then we can help others.

subrosa said...

Crinkly, excellent as always. Thank you for the link too.

subrosa said...

WfW, are any of the big three different? I can't see it at all.

subrosa said...

Billy, spot on. Another great link. Thank you very much.

subrosa said...

I can't see where it helps the poor though petem. The odd school somewhere seems about it. There are countries still without running water and reasonable sanitation yet they've had billions of aid money.

subrosa said...

Yes CH. I've done a post for morning about it linking there too.

subrosa said...

But will the west do it though Brian? It seems to be a competition concerning who can give the most with little thought about the outcomes both at home and abroad.

subrosa said...

Of course there are people in desperate need Jo but they never seem to get help no matter how much money is given. It's syphoned off to somewhere.

It's unbelievable we don't keep a firm grip on where the money goes, not just from an accountability view but from ensuring it's used for the purpose it was intended.

Jo G said...

"If we stop the poor being exploited it will be best for all the nations no matter their relative wealth or poverty."

So we pat ourselves on the back John, for starving babies? Well done us eh?

RMcGeddon said...

We send aid to India so they can use the money to buy up our steel works , then close them down and transfer the work to India.
We send aid to pakistan so they can use the money to fund the taliban to kill our soldiers.
We send aid to China so they can build more factories to produce cheap goods to undermine our own factories.
We send aid to Russia so they can build up their energy infrastructure to hold us to ransom in the dwindling energy market.
We send aid to 'Arab spring' countries so they can fund Islamic revolutions to export terror to the UK . Note.. arab spring takes it's name from Prague spring where it all went pear shaped and Russia massacred millions.
We send aid to African countries so that dictators can buy bigger mercedes and oppress the people with even more gruesome weapons.

Yes we're very good at spending money on aid.

Anonymous said...

We have talked before about this strange obsession that Government has with MONEY. Need I say any more?

OK - I will - just a few words.

The Government of the UK can shout and scream as much as it likes about 'cuts in expenditure', but the fact is that you cannot cut expenditure without reducing.......something. Something which costs money. You cannot reduce the cost of the NHS without reducing what the NHS does. Thus, the only way to reduce the cost of the NHS is to reduce what the NHS does.

What this means is that POLITICIANS are the people who must say that the NHS does not exist to pay, say, £10 000 pounds to keep a person who is dying alive for six more months. The NHS exists to CURE illnesses and to FIX broken bones and such. It does not exist to keep people who are dieing alive for a few months longer.

This does not involve difficult decisions. By all means fund scientific research, but do not expect 'cost effective' results in the short term. By 'cost effective', I mean CURES, and not merely prolongation of life for no sensible reason.

Jo G said...

RMcG, I agree, India does not need aid. Certain other countries don't either. That's why I'm for this area to be more closely controlled.

Jo G said...

"The NHS exists to CURE illnesses and to FIX broken bones and such. It does not exist to keep people who are dieing alive for a few months longer."

I think the NHS exists to provide care for the sick.

Jo G said...

RMcG, many of the countries, and regions, you list there saw at first hand what GB was all about along with its British Empire. Many of them suffered at first hand. And that applies right up to recent times, illegal invasions of Arab countries and the deaths of tens of thousands of Arab civilians. There is such a thing as state terrorism too. You can't just present a list, as you have, and suggest that for some inexplicable reason we are resented. They have cause to resent us many of them

RMcGeddon said...


Yes Africa and the middle east have jumped leaps and bounds since we left. Can't figure out why their citizens all want to get out of dodge and come over here. Seeing as they hate us and all.

subrosa said...

Aye Junican, we have spoken about this before but I think it's a very important issue and should be kept to the fore.

You're right of course and what I see is wrong is the lack of accountability for all the money we spend on aid and the NHS to name but a few. Most of us use some form of budgeting and know where and how our personal cash is used. Governments splash it around.

I see what you mean about keeping people alive longer although I don't believe there aren't some occasions which call for it.

More and more my generation are putting in their wills and GP notes that they don't want resuscitated. Why? Because some of us have seen our parents suffer because of 'modern' techniques when we feel it would have been far kinder to let them go naturally.

subrosa said...

That's my point Jo. This money is never reaching the people in need yet we still keep paying it.

Look at Haiti. It had the largest financial aid every recorded yet nobody has a proper home.

RMcGeddon said...

Aye SR. It's madness right enough. Our deficit is rising by £150Bn a year ( total debt around £4trillion) yet we are borrowing money we don't have and can't afford, to give away to people who will most certainly misuse it, only for us then to have to borrow more money to pay the interest on the money we have borrowed, because we cannot afford to repay it.
( from eureferendum's column today)

RMcGeddon said...

Sorry 'our debt is rising by £150Bn a year' is what I should have said.

Deficit - annual borrowing to cover shortfall in outgoings. Currently at £150Bn.

Debt - total debt accumulated over many years of borrowing. Now at approx £4tr depending on which report you study.

subrosa said...

Aye RM, some say not to be concerned about the debt, it's the deficit that counts but I think both go hand in hand.

Yes I read Richard's piece. Didn't I put a link to it? Tut tut.

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