Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Why Philip Davies is right about international aid...


Although he won't thank me for it!

If we stopped every single penny of government spending on aid (by which we mean our money going to help people in poorer countries) we would still be spending more than that much-vaunted 0.7% of GDP on aid.  And this is why:

Just one in 20 households in the UK make remittances, which are transfers of cash back to countries of origin to either families or communities. Yet, even though they are small in number, with an average remittance worth £31 per week, the World Bank estimated that last year some $23.16bn was transferred in remittances from the UK.

Bear in mind that the over-protected DFID budget is considerably smaller than this and you begin to understand that the whole pretence that we need to spend more on aid is just a sort of metroliberal scam. And those remittances from immigrants and refugees - getting on for £20 billion - work much harder than the generosity of governments. That money goes directly to real people, it doesn't need officials to administer it or aid workers to manage it. There's no need for grand plans or strategies. And it works - the people getting remittances spend it on improving their lives. On building better homes, on buying a bicycle or paying bus fares.

Because of the last fifteen year's worth of immigration we don't need to lavish more money on aid. But instead we indulge the 'fair trade' folk, the people who knit jumpers for Oxfam and the frowning people who tell us that 'free trade' damages these poor places. And we bung more money in the aid pot, money that does little or no good in poor places but, like the immoral scam that is fair trade, pours gentle soothing honey on our middle-class guilt about having a nice house, a car and two foreign holidays. We should stop - it doesn't work. Not like those little remittances to friends and family from recent immigrants:

Analysis of household survey data show that remittances have reduced poverty and resulted in better development outcomes in many low-income countries. Remittances may have reduced the share of poor people in the population by 11 percentage points in Uganda, 6 percentage points in Bangladesh and 5 percentage points in Ghana. Studies in El Salvador and Sri Lanka find that the children of remittance recipient households have a lower school drop-out rate. In Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Sri Lanka children in remittance recipient households have higher birth weights and better health indicators than other households.


1 comment:

singapore sling said...

Remittances are good, that doesn't make government aid bad. No, I don't think any penny is well-spent. Plus I can think of things I'd cut at home because I don't think the money is being well spent, Trident springing to mind.

But I also think there should be no overall cuts. I just think the money that's being spent on things that aren't helping much or do more harm than good should be re-allocated. I'm not here to defend the status quo or the Blair/Brown system...

But I think the coalition aren't cutting what should be cut, they're keeping the worst things and even extending them, such as the snoopers' charter and this rancid lobbying bill.

Therefore I am against Shipley and Shameron, and I'd prefer Miliband but he isn't unambiguously right either. Yes, I support a much bigger state than you. But one that actually spends on things that deserve to be spent on. If aid goes to giving military succour to dictators or enriching elites in countries, then find a wiser way to spend it rather than abolish it.

If domestic spending isn't always good, go and find good things that need to be funding and won't get business investment because they won't make a profit but are still social needs anyway.

That's what I, singapore sling, am saying. And who else would I speak for other than myself?

(I am in a union though!)