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Why Should We Still Give Aid? Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1107

Essay

The stench was thick, pungent and was the unmistakable pith of the sewage river a stone throws away from the open window. Inside lay a baby, sleeping peacefully unaware of the dangers that lay outside. The cocks crowed and the minarets sang everyone into a rousing wakefulness. Achieng was already up though getting ready next to her kerosene lamp. She made mandazi, a pastry that is consumed by many poor people as most cannot afford bread that costs half a dollar in a place where most people earn about a dollar and half a day. Despite the stench which she has become accustomed to, she kneads her dough with the corner of her eye firmly on her baby in case she stirred with anymore discomfort from her chest condition. She occasionally goes over to her to check on her breathing. The poor little thing whizzes with each breath. The sewage exposure as well as the nefarious smoke from both the kerosene lamp by day and the charcoal fired jiko (or cooker) has given her severe asthma.

This is Kibera, the second largest slum in Africa and the third largest in the world.With her well kneaded dough in her arms and baby strapped to her back, she made her way through the confluence of well rusted iron sheets that has made the slum a tourist attraction. As the sun rises and the heat swelters by her roadside kiosk. It’s a temporary structure that reminds one of a little girls’ lemonade stand. She is lost in her problems when a group of westerners come up the path with cameras in hand walking with a tour guide. They are introduced; two worlds meetthe giver and the receiver. She got to this point through an aid organization, but this is as far as she reached. Is aid the answer? What will Aid mean for people like Achieng and those living in absolute poverty around the world?

After the recession hit in 2008, many Western countries are re-examining there aid packages to Third World countries. While a lot of individuals who are also struggling in these new economic times they are wondering after more than fifty years of aid what has actually changed. Many academics are starting to question the whole aid situation on the basis of dependency theory.According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, the number of Africans in poverty has increased. The World Bank estimates that 20% of the wealthiest people in the world consume 76% of the worlds resources at every level be it food, clothing and fuel. The other sixty percent of the world’s population consume or rather fight to consume 22% of what is left. For every dollar of aid given to the worlds’ poorest, $25 was spent on debt repayment. These are some for the horrifying statistics out there.

Why should you or anybody for that matter care? We pay taxes, are good citizens who do not commit crime.The sum total of all things is zero. It is the law of nature. In nature it is called balance, as in the ecosystem has to be in balance. If there is excess of any organism it affects the entire chain. In the human body it is called homeostasis. In economic it is defined as the point of equilibrium. For the spiritual it is called Karma or sin, whichever the case maybe. The sum total of all things is zero.It comes back to us as illegal immigration, high crime rates and the breaking down of society. When those overseas are willing to work for that dollar it means the big multinationals here move to the source of the resources overseas and with it goes the jobs. Why would a company employ someone who wants health care, the right to be in a union and pension benefits when they can move to China or some other country and just put them in horrible conditions and pay them a dollar? Has not the indignity of Achieng come to you? Has not the disease of her baby become yours?

The profit motive that drives corporations are not moved by humanism but by shareholders greed. The philosopher Peter Singer once asked if you saw a child on the road about to be hit by a car, would you sit by and watch the inevitable come toward you or would you step in? The moralist view of Aid is now being questioned in the light of increasing economic deterioration in the developed and wealthy countries. Has not the paradigm come full circle? The one who reduced the aid has become poor and will very soon need aid themselves. While Achieng packaged the mandazis as best she could, the tour guide explained the circumstances she was living under. The westerner felt moved but asked how she can help because money wouldn’t solve her problem. He retorted that they were right and that there is a mentality here the poverty mentality. It is not that they are not hard working nor is it that they are not very educated and the ones who are cannot get jobs because there are no jobs available. What can we do for these people? He looked out and said to his guest in the ghetto. The people here say it is the system that is the problem. It is not the case that there is not enough food in the country. The system that exists does not allow people to lift themselves out of poverty, the architecture of the world economic system is slanted to one side of the equation. Until this balance is redressed, not much will change. Your children will come here to give Achieng’s grown child aid.We must negate our responsibilities to the absolutely poor or we ourselves shall suffer the same fate or, at the very least, condemn ourselves to repeat the same situation over and over again across the generations, wasting vast amounts of money and doing nothing but repeating the same circle. The law of Thermodynamics states that everything is always degrading toward, but not really reaching zero. That is going happen to our wealth and their existence: always degrading but not quite reaching zero.

References

Log cabin to White House? Not any more, The Observer, April 28, 2002.

Debt – The facts, Issue 312, May 1999, New Internationalist.

The Scorecard on Globalization 1980-2000: Twenty Years of Diminished Progress, by Mark Weisbrot, Dean Baker, Egor Kraev and Judy Chen, Center for Economic Policy and Research, August 2001.

Maude Barlow, Water as Commodity – The Wrong Prescription, The Institute for Food andDevelopment Policy, Backgrounder, Summer 2001, Vol. 7, No. 3

The state of human development, United Nations Human Development Report 1998, Chapter 1, p.37)

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