Poverty is a huge problem, even for those not affected. At best, the sight is disturbing, at worst, the sicknesses bred by many people crammed together don’t care much for bank accounts – even when it might help that you can pay doctor’s bills and meds.
In 2011, over $150 billion were spent on development aid. That sum sounds staggering if you look at the number alone. Keep in mind that the world’s GDP in 2011 was 75’621 billion (use the table view to see per country numbers) – aid is 0.2% of that. The US military budget alone was $610 billion. World-wide aid was just a quarter of what the US spends on its military.
What’s more, a lot of that money never leaves the donor country – it’s used to “pay” for debt which the receiving country already has towards the donor – or it’s vouchers for goods which the donor produces (like guns and other military equipment). As odd as that may sound at first: Development aid is often another tool to develop your own country. If it helps a struggling third world place, all the better.
But the problem runs deeper. Too deep to explain in a blog post but TED compiled a list of 11 through provoking talks how we could end poverty. My favorite didn’t make it into the list: Gary Haugen: The hidden reason for poverty the world needs to address now.