Hat tip: Mises Daily
by Mark Thornton
Thursday, November 14, 2002
For a few billion dollars you might expect to be able to bribe some small third world country into cleaning up its act, to defend the property rights of its citizens, to provide a stable currency, and to establish a non-interventionist economic and foreign policy.
With little Switzerlands and industrial revolutions developing around the globe, the U.S. could provide the examples that would establish a classical liberal world order within one generation with less than 1% of the federal budget.
Alas, Americans are united in their opposition to foreign aid—and with good reason! Foreign aid, military aid, debt relief, economic development assistance, and even disaster assistance money—all with “strings attached” to ensure proper behavior—are associated with “fraud, waste, and abuse.”
U.S. aid designed to bring about peace in the Middle East is an ideological seedbed of hatred, war, and terrorism. The big players in foreign aid, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, are more likely to bring about economic meltdown and social calamity than economic stability.
Ludwig von Mises pointed out (Planning for Freedom) that foreign aid doesn’t create friends in foreign lands, it creates ideological enemies who wish to do us harm:
The United States, they think, is aiding them because its people have a bad conscience. They themselves pocket this bribe but their sympathies go to the socialist system. The American subsidies make it possible for their governments to conceal partially the disastrous effects of the various socialist measures they have adopted.
Mises is here referring to our “friends” in Europe, but the same could be applied to the Middle East, Africa, the Western Hemisphere, and Asia, with the only possible exception being countries like Vietnam and Australia who receive limited or no foreign aid from the United States or the international organizations that we control.
The fraud and failure of foreign aid is now so obvious that it has ended up in the pages of the American Economic Review!