Paths and Choices: Avoiding Decay in Foreign Aid 7.7.8
Foreign aid that supports or encourages moral Decay includes identifiable and specific dangers for both the giver and the receiver. But there are equally specific ways to avoid the dangers of Decay.
- Behaviors based on the principles of moral Decay cannot be rewarded in any way. Decay will certainly lead to authoritarian power and personal wealth. But while this often appears to create a “stable” society, it is virtually always a result of the love and promotion of death and violence, discrimination against anyone who is not in the power structure, and a willingness to destroy the productivity and health of the Earth. When we give aid to those who would reward dependency, fear, threat, a cult of personality, or narrow violent tribalism, we are condemning our children to suffer for our short-sightedness and greed. We are also promoting the social disintegration of those we are pretending to help.
- No aid should be given to corrupt, selfish leaders, neither to siphon off for themselves nor to reward their followers and punish their opponents within their countries. When aid goes to those who misuse it, even the best charitable intentions are crippled.
- No money should be used for weapons and violence. Even though we have weapons manufacturers who are eager and willing to supply these forms of manufactured aid, they inevitably lead to an escalation of posturing, threat, and violence. There is no reason to facilitate Decay in this way. Often we hear arguments that these forms of aid are for defense. While this is no doubt sometimes true, it rarely works out in the end, and it supports and encourages all forms of violence, including violence by authoritarian leaders against their own citizens. Any weapons for defense must be closely monitored and controlled.
- Whenever corruption is uncovered, aid should be withdrawn from that leader or bureaucracy in order to remove the temptation of Decay and to reduce or eliminate the source of corrupt power. Coordination of information and investigations with non-governmental organizations, independent religious or charity groups, or impartial observers can help find out the level of efficiency and fairness inside a system. Any provider of aid who only talks to those in power is bound to fail.
- A requirement of aid must be justice and equality for all, including gender equity. Any form of aid that goes to an “old-boys” power group will inevitably lead to moral Decay. Aid needs to reward personal and local responsibility because those who would enforce their power by threat of ethnic or gender discrimination cannot lead a society to become safe, healthy, productive, free, and responsible.
Walking in Another’s Shoes Thought Experiment 7.7.9
Put yourself in another’s shoes. Pretend your country was receiving aid from another country. How would you want the aid money to be spent? If the aid were in the form of manufactured goods or food, how should it be distributed? What would your list of priorities be based on? Who should receive and disburse that money, food, or goods? Who should decide what the rules are for using aid? What are the responsibilities of the “giver”? What are the responsibilities of the “receiver”?
Without Words We Cannot Think
“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)