Journal Article

IDS Bulletin 1.2

The Fashion of Being Unfashionable

Published on 1 May 1968

It is the fashion to be unfashionable. Mr. Enoch Powell
considers it a sufficient ground for condemning overseas aid
to say that it is “intellectually fashionable”. In the fashionably unfashionable current anti-aid crusade, Right and Left meet on common ground. The Left argues that the purpose of aid is to prop up conservative, feudal and fascist governments, which will not carry out the institutional and political reforms necessary for development.

On this view aid perpetuates the system which makes aid necessary. The Right argues that aid, by encouraging central planning and public prestige projects, stifles the growth of private savings and private initiative, frightens away foreign enterprise, discourages economy in the use of capital and generally destroys the basis of decentralised decision-making, which is a prerequisite of development. Aid thus again is thought to undermine self-reliance and to perpetuate the system which makes aid necessary. On both views “aid to developing countries does more harm than good” as Mr. Powell had discovered years ago.

Related Content

IDS Bulletin 1.2


Paul Streeten

Publication details

IDS Bulletin, volume 1, issue 2


Related content