Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Aid time again!

World Vision has launched their annual 40-hour famine again, and the money is (supposedly) going to help people in the third world.

Although World Vision is a charity and the 40-hour famine is a voluntary inititive, so I have no moral objection to it (unless the money goes to fund some tyrannical government's regime), the money actually does very little to actually help people in the third world. The reason being that, although the money provides for basic needs in the short term, it doesn't teach self-dependence for a higher quality-of-life in the long term. An advertisement for Oxfam here in New Zealand a few months ago said "give a man a fish, feed him for a day. But give him the means to catch his own fish [where the saying would be different from what it'd be in the first world] and feed him for a lifetime". The saying is absolutely correct. After all, why don't we hear about the fantastic sucesses of nations in the third world who developed off aid money?

Governmental-provided aid is simply welfare for entire nations. Like welfare in the first world, it does nothing to get people out of poverty, and never will-by teaching the recipients dependence on other people. To get those people out of poverty, we need to teach them to be dependent on themselves. Only then, and it has been proven countless times, will the poverty cycle be broken, and people prosper.


Phil (Pacific Empire) said...

I absolutely disagree with your comment as it applies to World Vision. True: government-to-government aid usually ends up, if not propping upm a despotic regime, lining the pockets of corrupt bureaucrats. Private charity does not have that disadvantage (not to the same extent, anyway). And World Vision distributes a lot of aid in the form of microloans - giving small amounts of money to entrepenuers, while giving them assistance to set up small businesses, so that the local economy grows. The money is expected to be repaid, so it does teach independence and self-sufficiency in the long term.

Callum said...

"The money si expected to be repaid"
Is that true? I never knew that.

But like I said, I have no moral objection to it, but I was questioning how the money was going to be used. After all, it would be nice if these charities reported back to us the successes of what they're doing, to confirm it's a worhty cause.

Luke said...

I'll second Phil! World Vision has a very good philosophy, Callum.

"By offering basic business training and small loans we aim to build people's capacity to solve their own problems and support themselves and their families."

See for more examples.

By all means criticise govermental aid, but private charities like World Vision are doing a very good job.