• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Promoting Economic Freedom Is the Best Foreign Aid

    The new U.K. coalition government’s strong ongoing support for foreign aid may be one area where it is out of touch with the British electorate. According to a recent poll, the British public identifies foreign aid as one of the top three priorities for spending cuts. Nearly half the respondents indicated that they would like to slash wasteful overseas aid.

    The late Peter Bauer, one of the greatest development economists of all time and an adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, argued relentlessly against ineffective development aid, noting famously that in practice, foreign aid is equivalent to taxing the poor in richer countries to support the rich and powerful in poorer countries. In fact, the vast flows of foreign aid channeled through dictators and despots over the past decades have contributed to a vicious cycle of corruption, anemic economic growth, and pervasive poverty. At least $1 trillion in foreign aid has flooded Africa since 1950, but more than half of the African population still lives on less than a dollar per day.

    The bulk of economic evidence shows that, while there may be a role for assistance from donor nations, the key to development lies in the hands of the governments of developing countries. They must first remove obstacles to development by adopting policies that bolster entrepreneurship, good governance, and the rule of law, as shown in findings of the Index of Economic Freedom. Indeed, over the last decade, the countries with greater improvements in economic freedom achieved much higher reductions in poverty.

    The U.K. coalition government may want to rethink its seemingly knee-jerk support for more aid in light of the evidence from around the world—and, of course, the wisdom of the British people who elected them.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    One Response to Promoting Economic Freedom Is the Best Foreign Aid

    1. Lynn Bryant DeSpain says:

      The only way to promote economic freedom is to buy or trade with another Nation for whatever they have that they are willing to work to package, and ship, even if it be sand! Never give handouts, it just instills hatred. Purchase products and you instill economic friendship, and even America can use sand, they replace the shore line of Chicago every Spring!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×