Aid as Obstacle: Twenty Questions about Our Foreign Aid and the Hungry
By Frances Moore Lappé, Joseph Collins, and David Kinley
Reasons why U.S. foreign aid fails to alleviate hunger and poverty are discussed and a solution to the problem is presented. The United States now channels more foreign aid than ever to the world's poor and hungry through the Agency for International Development, food aid programs, the World Bank, and other multilateral aid agencies, which report that U.S. development assistance programs are meeting the basic needs of the poor people in the developing countries with "appropriate technology" and by "raising small farm productivity." However, research shows that the cause of hunger and rural poverty is not scarcity of agricultural resources or lack of modern technology, but rather the increasing concentration of control over food-producing resources in the hands of a few people. U.S. foreign assistance fails because it is based on the fundamental fallacy that aid can reach the powerless even though channeled through the powerful. The bulk of U.S. aid flows not to the countries with the greatest poverty but to those with some of the world's most repressive regimes. If U.S. programs are to be effective, they must bring the poor into development and halt all economic and military support for elitist governments.