Mises Wire

Home | Wire | The Privatization of Foreign Aid

The Privatization of Foreign Aid


There was a very good article in the NY Times today that serves as a kind of postscript to David J. Heinrich's essay WSJ's Taranto Slanders Ayn Rand Institute.

Carol Adelman writes, in her article "A High Quality of Mercy" that the claim that the U.S. is "stingy" in foreign aid completely discounts the remarkable level of private aid that flows out of the U.S. to victims in need. Adelman argues:

... Americans generally help people abroad the same way they help people at home: through private charities, religious organizations, foundations, corporations, universities and money sent to relatives. In 2000, all this came to more than $35 billion, more than three times what the government gave. And this does ... not include giving by local churches or by overseas affiliates of American corporations.
The fact is, foreign aid is being privatized. A study by the Foundation Center found that international giving by foundations grew by 79 percent 1998 from 2002, while overall giving grew by only 42 percent. Private giving is usually faster, nimbler and more directly accountable than government aid. Overhead costs are lower, and it can better avoid interference by corrupt officials. It's no surprise that some of the first groups on the scene in Asia were private; on the day of the earthquake, CARE bought food for more than 8,000 Sri Lankans along with purification supplies and sleeping mats for 500 families. ...

I recommend the article to readers.


Chris Sciabarra

Chris Sciabarra is the author of three scholarly books on freedom's philosophical foundations — Marx, Hayek, and Utopia; Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical; and Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism — as well as several shorter works.

Add Comment

Shield icon wire