A post about “Foreign Aid for Development Assistance” from Global Issues reported that, “In 1970, some of the world’s richest countries agreed to give 0.7% of their gross national income (GNI) as official international development aid annually to countries that could use that money the most.
But since that agreement 45 years ago, despite billions of dollars given each year, rich nations have rarely met their actual promised targets. For example, the U.S. is often the largest donor in dollar terms, but ranks among the lowest when meeting the 0.7% agreed target—yes, that is less than 1%.
Curious, knowing that there is also hunger and poverty in United States, I went to Feeding America and learned that in 2008, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households. Mississippi was the state with the highest percentage (17.4%) of food insecure households—and poverty is increasing in the U.S. while the wealthiest Americans keep getting richer at a faster pace.
With poverty that bad in the United States, why is America giving away so much money to other countries in foreign aid? Well, for one thing, the U.S. agreed to do it, and that means the country gave its word, and even though many Americans will probably grumble—especially members of the Tea Party, racists and Libertarians who probably don’t care of the U.S. breaks its promises again—they might also feel good that the U.S. isn’t keeping its word.
For instance, do you remember the 0.7% target that 29 of the wealthiest countries agreed to donate to the neediest countries? The U.S. donation is often if not always below that promised amount.
In fact, only five of the 29 countries met their obligation in 2014: Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark and the UK. Although the United States paid more due to the size of its Gross National Income (GNI), it was still ranked far below making the 0.7% target for donations and was #19 on the list right behind Japan with Sweden being #1.
You might also want to learn the United States has had impressive growth in its GNI from 2010 to 2014. The World Bank reports that GNI in the U.S. went from $48,950 in 2010 to $55,200 in 2014 for each person.
What about China’s GNI?
China also had growth in its GNI from $4,300 for each person in 2010 to $7,380 in 2014 — 7.48 times less than in the U.S.
This might help explain why, according to The World Bank, China has continued to receive this foreign aid: $1.771 billion in 2011, $1.293 billion in 2012, $1.648 billion in 2014 and $1.856 billion for 2015.
In addition, the World Bank said, “With a population of 1.3 billion, China recently became the second largest economy and is increasingly playing an important and influential role in the global economy. Yet China remains a developing country (its per capita income is still a fraction of that in advanced countries) and its market reforms are incomplete. Official data shows that about 98.99 million people still lived below the national poverty line of RMB 2,300 per year at the end of 2012. With the second largest number of poor in the world after India, poverty reduction remains a fundamental challenge.”
Now, stop a moment and scroll back up and look at that chart of the names of the countries that have been sending foreign aid to China and other developing countries.
Starting in 1839 with the first of the two Opium Wars, Britain and France forced opium on the Chinese, and Germany became involved later with the burning of the Summer Palace near Beijing.
Then Japan caused the horrors of World War II slaughtering about 30 million Chinese after invading China. If you want to discover who encouraged Japan to become aggressive in Southeast Asia, I suggest you read The China Mirage by James Bradley to learn who the two U.S. presidents were that were responsible for World War II in the Pacific. One of the two presidents even encouraged Japan to militarize and become a major military power in Asia.
Could this foreign aid to China from, for instance, the United States, Japan, Germany, France and Britain be a means of atonement for more than a century of sins against the Chinese—a way to deal with the cultural and historical guilt?
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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