22 February 2013

Charity that Hurts

The Acton Institute, founded in 1990 to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles", has an office here in Rome.  They had an event the other night on one of their on-going projects.  They have developed a video series entitled "Charity that Hurts".  Their argument is that, although well-intentioned, many aid programs, government, international, and private, cause more harm than good.  That is, in handing out "free stuff" they often stifle the development of local industry and business.  They don't mean to criticize responses to emergencies--this often requires the mobilization of great amounts of resources to meet a sudden need.  What they mean is long-term development aid, the plans to reduce poverty.  At one point in the longer video, an African politician asks, how many third-world countries have moved to first-world status as a result of international aid.  In the half-century we've been doing this, I think the answer is, none.  Anyway, a very thought-provoking video: