Argument: International aid creates harmful long-term dependencies


Once the prospect of long-term relief is established, it sets in motion forces that virtually guarantee its necessity. For example, food aid to help countries through a temporary famine often drives farmers out of business. How can they sell their produce when wealthy western countries, often overflowing with subsidy-driven agricultural surpluses, are giving it away for free?
Partly for this reason, most nations of Africa have become dependent on food imports, even though they were food exporters not too many years ago. Punitive domestic policies are to blame as well. It is common throughout Africa for farmers to be forced to sell their production to marketing boards, which pay far less than the world price. This is just a kind of de facto tax that allows the government to reap most of the profit.
Not surprisingly, farmers don’t like paying this tax. Instead, they farm only for themselves, smuggle their produce elsewhere, or simply cease farming altogether. Insecure property rights also discourage farming, as in Zimbabwe where white farmers have had their land confiscated by the government for no other reason than that they are white. Moreover, rather than distribute this land to the landless, it is often given to friends of the ruling party for their personal enrichment.”


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