Extent of involvement – Should a country still be expected to provide
financial or material aid to others in times of economic hardship?
Sometimes, as much as we’d like to, we lack the ability to help others.
This is the reason there needs to be a balance between moral obligations to help others in
need and the domestic responsibilities a government has to its own people. The
government cannot forsake the needs of the people over international aid, but
if our resources permit, sending aid can be mutually beneficial. Pragmatism is key. The country cannot simply act out of
compassion as it is not viable. It is unfair to expect a country to help
another when it is unable to help itself. However, when there are pressing
needs, a country can provide financial and material aid especially to those who
are worse off.
Argument: A country may not always be expected to deliver aid to others
when it is itself struggling economically
A country should not be
obliged to help in challenging economic circumstances when it is politically
and economically untenable for itself to do so. These countries are not in the
position to provide help to others as their ability to help is greatly hampered
anyway. A government’s responsibility is to its people first. Prioritising aid
at the expense of domestic commitments to people’s needs would be politically
Bankruptcy leading to its economic collapse have caused its own people to still
be struggling to get by, especially the elderly who have seen their pensions
being cut in a string of austerity measures implemented by the state. The country
is the receipt of a large bailout by EU thus even when faced with a refugee
influx at its shores, it is not possible to expect Greece to help them when
their own people are facing economic difficulties.
Even in richer
countries, providing privileges and aid to others can be politically sensitive
and unpopular for those living on the poverty line or earning just minimum wage.
Specifically, immigration has become a political hot potato and is particularly
unpopular. The referendum shows how older UK citizens and the less well-off
feel that the state providing help to outsiders is unacceptable when there are
people in their own country that need more help.
Lastly, aid provided to
recipient countries may not always be effective and instead allow others to
grow reliant on aid. It should be considered carefully before given, and
weighed to ensure it is effective rather than wasteful. Showing goodwill and
compassion is a virtue but when ineffective, can do more harm than good. This
is especially so for recipient countries with poor track record of human rights
and high corruption levels, where aid given only serves to prop up corrupt
regimes . Moreover, for recipients, dependency is risky as aid is unreliable
and entirely at the whim and fancy of donor country. The recipient country’s
survival essentially lies in the hands of the donor country.
economic slowdown has led to the global economy slowing over the last few
years, yet they have continued to pledged billions in aid to Africa, with the
intention of expanding China’s political clout. This generous aid package was
heavily criticized as it helps prop up corrupt regimes already prevalent in
Africa and does not entirely help recipients. Any aid given to Zimbabwe has in fact
helped to sustain President Mugabe’s oppressive and disastrous administration
while doing little to alleviate poverty.
Argument: In times of pressing need and when lives are at stake, help
should still be provided especially to those who are worse off
In the end, showing
compassion is a moral obligations. If we have the ability to help, there is no
reason why it should not be given.
While a large
portion of funding came from richer countries – US being the top donor, poorer African
nations also contributed to help save lives and stop spread of virus. Gambia
and Guinea donated hundreds of thousands even though they are not necessarily
well off as they understood that their neighbours need help at a critical time
of global pandemic
donated $2 million to the Philippines despite having some people who are
struggling to get by in their own country. Help was also provided in the form
of reconstruction efforts and emergency aid.
More than anything, provision
of help can be mutually beneficial. Donor countries thus still choose to give
regardless of economic status, as long as aid does not cripple its own economy.
Today, provision of aid is often used as a strategic means to maintain ties
E.g. In 2008,
the US Subprime Crisis saw the collapse of numerous big banks. Yet, US still
maintained their military and economic aid package to Egypt, seeing as how Egypt
is an important ally in the Middle East for US to fight ISIS and other militant
groups that can threaten its own national security