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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Student Essay - Lucky Im Si Hyun, A Levels, Taylor’s College - Foreign Aid



Lucky Im Si Hyun, A Levels, Taylor’s College

Foreign Aid

Foreign aid has become part of government spending. Foreign aid usually comes from a developed country to a developing country or a country at war. It seems like the country which is helping doesn’t get any benefits at all. However, this might not be true as there are advantages for both countries. 

The first advantage that the donor country gets is the improved relationship with the recipient country. A good example would be the US and South Korea. The US has helped South Korea since the Korean War by providing them with financial help and military supplies. In the past, South Korean GDP was lower than those of currently developing countries. However, with the help of the US, South Korea has managed to come out of poverty and become a newly developed country. The US and South Korea have made a Free Trade Agreement, which benefits both countries economically. Free trade enables Americans to get cheaper goods from South Korea and South Korea can increase her volume of trade to the US. This is a win-win situation. Secondly, the country that extends a helping hand could satisfy their basic instinct to help those in need. We all have feelings of sympathy and will readily donate to the poor since we have a basic urge to help others. The same goes to countries. So, helping others give the donor country as sense of satisfaction. It also makes that country look good in the eyes of the rest of the world.

The first advantage for the recipient country is obvious. The government cannot handle a situation because of the seriousness of the problem. With short term help, the country will be able to get back on their feet. Then they will enjoy stimulated growth due to foreign aid. The government wouldn’t be burdened with pressing issues involving poverty and can focus on longer terms goals such as building infrastructure that will help industrialise the nation. The country will become developed more quickly. In addition, foreign aid gives hope. This has a great impact on the lives of people who are suffering from hunger and disease. Since the problems cannot be solved by the government, foreign aid helps people to hang on to hope for a better life. For example, there is a voluntary group called White Helmet who brings aid to war-torn Syria. Because of them and others like them, Syrian people know that the world has not forsaken them. 

However, even good medicine has side effects and the same goes for foreign aid. Both countries will be disadvantaged. The country which helps the other will get disadvantaged if their investment fails. If South Korea  could not be successful due to some reason, America would have wasted their money, time and energy. Investment in other countries brings risks and uncertain probability of success is the biggest risk. If the American government, headed by J. Bush Washington failed to predict South Korea’s success, the future would have been dire. In the extreme case, the US might have gotten in debt due to foreign aid. Also, some people in the donor country might not agree to spend their tax money on helping other countries. They might think it more important to help those within the country than those outside. The government will have to bear the criticisms if these people and suffer unpopularity during the next elections. 

Not only will the helping country face drawbacks but also the one being helped would face disadvantages. Despite receiving continuous foreign aid, a country like Egypt isn’t able to become independent and grow. This is one of the problems with foreign aid. People who have received basic necessities continuously would just wait for other supplies without putting in any effort into improving their own situations. Aid makes people lazy. They will not start a business or look for jobs if everything is given to them. The last drawback is that that a country might become controlled by the donor country. The recipient country might be forced to join some undesirable agreement such as a customs union or to sign biased contracts. The beneficiary country will not be able to reject since they are under pressure.
In conclusion, foreign aid can be either medicine or poison, sometimes both.

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