Journal Article

IDS Bulletin 1.2

Development Aid: A Symposium

Published on 1 May 1968

In 1968 the foreign aid programmes of both Great Britain and the United States have been cut. On both the Right and Left there is increasing scepticism about. the ethics and the efficacy of the types of aid which have been given to developing countries. As Hugh Stephenson remarked in an article in The Times of September 26th, there is a crisis over the future of aid.

The crisis immediately concerns the willingness and the ability of developed countries to provide aid in the quantities that have been available so far in the Development Decade, It arises, however, from a growing sensitivity to the complexity of the development process: this produces a recognition, not only that aid may be actively harmful in its effects on social and political structures in recipient countries, but also that the range of its efficacy may be extremely limited even where its effects are judged as beneficial.

There is an associated crisis over the ethics of aid: is it merely another expression of the domination of poor countries by richer, is the language of aid and development merely a rhetoric covering such domination? Is it not only aid which may be bilateral but development itself – a sharing-out between the governments of developed countries and the political classes of Africa, Asia and Latin America? Is development only a growth industry for elites and economists?

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IDS Bulletin 1.2

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