Jerry Bowyer

This is a continuation of my interview with Micro-Lender, Peter Greer of Hope International. In addition to the many problems created unintentionally by the gigantic private foreign philanthropy industry, Peter goes on to describe the ways in which government to government aid can be even more harmful. The timing is lamentably good as the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has managed to get himself ‘re-elected’ to another term as President and his first policy act is to appropriate property from white owned businesses to give to black citizens.  For audio of the discussion click here, or simply read the transcript below.


Jerry: “What about government aid? Are the problems associated with that similar to, greater than, or less than the problems that you’re talking about when it comes to private philanthropy?”

Peter: “There are certainly a lot of similarities, but I would commend to you or to anyone that’s interested in exploring that. I thought Dambisa Moyo’s book Dead Aid was a fascinating look at that. Bill Easterly, the economist, also has a fascinating book called White Man’s Burden, and they are much more qualified to speak on that. But the same principles remain, and actually might be even worse. The argument that both of them make is that by pouring in billions of dollars of aid, and by having it in its very charter of the way this aid is structured, having to go through corrupt governments actually might prop them up, might actually make it more difficult for development to occur. They track this correlation between the places that have received the largest amount of aid—they’re actually experiencing economic stagnation, and oftentimes decline, and part of that is because aid can sabotage the democratic process. It’s tough to know what to do. When I was in Zimbabwe, this was when Robert Mugabe was having one of his “elections”, which you have to put quotes around the word ‘election’, but he was using the international food aid to reward those places that voted for him and to punish those places that had not voted for him. So, the message was pretty clear: If you want any of the maize, if you want any of the food aid, you vote for me. Using the international aid as a tool that he was wielding to cement his own power, that is side-stepping, that is sabotaging the democratic process.”

Jerry Bowyer

Jerry Bowyer is a radio and television talk show host.