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International Studies
Brian Orend

INTST 101: Introduction to International Studies Brian Orend Unit 8: International Aid and Development We need to distinguish between aid and development. Humanitarian aid is a short-term response, from richer countries to poorer countries, to help the latter overcome dramatic, sharp crises, such as natural disasters. Aid is essentially about crisis relief and life-saving humanitarian efforts, such as anti-starvation measures. And aid is a gift, from rich to poor, with the intention being this short-term alleviation of social crisis. Development, by contrast, refers to a much longer-term process of richer nations helping poorer nations become wealthier, more secure, more enmeshed into the global economy, more educated, more sophisticated. Development might include free gifts, but it might also include loans, which have to be repaid. It might also include trade, which as we saw last lecture involves exchanging value for value²having something to offer and not merely receiving. It might also involve sweeping institutional change, for instance of the kind we spoke of in the unit on global public health. It might also involve so-FDOOHG▯³WHFKQLFDO▯DLG´▯▯ZKLFK▯LVQ¶W▯VR▯PXFK▯WKH▯JLYLQJ▯RI▯FDVK▯RU▯JRRGV▯EXW▯▯UDWKHU▯▯WKH▯ offering of expertise²teaching about how things best work²from societies which know WR▯VRFLHWLHV▯ZKLFK▯GRQ¶W. Some History: Top-Down, State-Focussed The topic of development is best approached historically. Modern development plans originated at the end of the Second World War, by the United States. The main motive KHUH▯ZDV▯WR▯SUHYHQW▯WKH▯ZRUOG¶V▯SRRUHVW▯FRXQWries from becoming truly desperate, and becoming communist. But perhaps also others motives, such as genuine charity and the desire to help, played a role. The dominant development paradigm, or way of thinking, at 1 INTST 101: Introduction to International Studies Brian Orend the time, was top-down, and focussed on using states and governments as agents of development. So, for example, the United States would pour huge amounts of cash into the bank account of the government of country X, help country X devise a plan to use that cash to speed up its development, and then the benefits would trickle down to the people on the ground, improving their lives. By the 1960s, though, this paradigm was discredited. Why? Well, it did achieve some successes, especially when it came to building huge projects, like dams and roads. But, often it was found that the amount of cash or goods which was being given to the poorer countries was tainted, so to speak, in two ways: 1) WKH▯FDVK▯RU▯JRRGV▯ZDV▯³tied aid´▯▯ZKLFK▯ZDV▯WR▯say that the poorer countries ZHUHQ¶W▯ DFWXDOO\▯ IUHH▯ WR▯ VSHQG▯ WKH▯ PRQH\ however they wanted²they had to spend the money on goods or services offered by the donor country. Tied aid, it seemed, was as much about the donor country benefiting itself as the recipient 2) the cash or goods involved were often in the form of military transfers and purchases, and military assets are not good ways to generate widespread GHYHORSPHQW▯ LQ▯ DQ▯ HFRQRP\▯▯ 7KLV▯ LV▯ WR▯ VD\▯ WKDW▯ WKHVH▯ ³DLG´▯ SURJUDPV▯ ZHUH▯▯ actually, thinly disguised programs of military alliance, and Cold War strategy, and had very little to do with increasing average standards of living over time. Dependency Problems As a result of these problems, some people derided aid and development programs as FUHDWLQJ▯GHSHQGHQF\▯DQG▯EHLQJ▯D▯IRUP▯RI▯³QHR-FRORQLDOLVP´▯▯FUHDWLQJ▯FOLHQW▯VWDWHV▯LQ▯WKH developing world essentially to serve as allies in the Cold War and as indirect ways donor governments could actually subsidize their own industries back home. The crucial criticiVP▯LQYROYHG▯LQWHQWLRQ▯▯LW▯VHHPHG▯DV▯LI▯WKHVH▯SURJUDPV▯ZHUHQ¶W▯DFWXDOO\▯GHVLJned to help speed the development of the recipient countries. Corruption Problems Not that the recipient countries were all angels, either. Another huge negative discovered with the top-down paradigm was that it created huge corruption within the governments of the recipient countries. Giving money directly to the governments proved too 2 INTST 101: Introduction to International Studies Brian Orend tempting: the officials pocketed the money, and spent little or nothing on the development of their people. Or, more commonly, they would spend on so-called ³ZKLWH▯ elephant´▯ projects. These would be very high profile projects which were very photogenic and over-the-top obvious, but with little actual long-term benefit to the majority of the people. Think here of shiny new government buildings, and things of that nature. The leaders of these poor countries got everything they wanted: a ton of money; military equipment; high-profile projects they could say they created; yet since there was no real improvement in the lives of their people, the money kept flowing in, as long as they kept on pledging themselves allies in the Cold War against communism. And the process would just repeat itself. To show you the effects of this horrible, corrupting effect: when he died, the former dictator of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko, was discovered to have enough personal wealth squirreled away in bank accounts in Switzerland that he could have paid off, as one individual man, the entire national debt of his FRXQWU\▯▯ =DLUH▯▯ :H¶UH▯ WDONLQJ▯ billions. Scandalous billions. Structural Adjustment Programs In the 1980s and 1990s, the approach was still top-down, focussing on the state, and the flows moving from the state downwards and outwards towards the people. But now the content of aid and development packages had changed. Gone were the days of just forking out cash, or military assets. Now came the days of ³VWUXFWXUDO▯ DGMXVWPHQW▯ SURJUDPV´▯ which essentially offered these government cash in exchange for institutional and legal changes within the recipient societies. The desired changes often focussed on helping to create, within the recipient countries, the basic structures of a free market, capitalist society, which we mentioned at the end of last lecture. Things like a developed legal system, things like respect for private property rights, things like the state 3 INTST 101: Introduction to International Studies Brian Orend pulling back from interfering in the economy, things like allowing foreign countries and co
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