Foreign aid is sometimes doled out like playing cards. How did a nation as smart as the United States ever get taken over by the paradigm that money is the solution? We believe this for our own lives, for the ills and poverty in our own country, and by extension for the poverty in other countries.
For the person with wise principles, healthy values, and a strong work ethic, providing them with access to more opportunity and resources is a great thing. However, in the case of aid, we often assume these are in place when they aren’t. Or we grant resources or opportunity without checking first to see if these critical, metaphysical assets are in place. That’s tragic, because without these ideas and principles, aid to anyone can do more harm than good.
Andrew Natsios is an executive professor and director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. When Natsios was the USAID administrator in George Bush’s first term, he endeavored to create a measure for the presence of these principles in other countries and governments. The idea was to use this measure to direct the granting of foreign aid. But, I recall this effort was widely criticized by some as discriminatory and an example of the U.S. forcing its cultural values on others.
When biblical principles for work and development are recognized, and then combined with resources and opportunities, it’s amazing what an individual can do. This truth is intuitive to many people, yet at the level of public policy we often seem to forget it.
These are some of my immediate reflections upon reading Nobel winner: Conservatives may have been right all along on foreign aid.
- Dwight Vogt