corruption-struggleOne of the problems associated with aid is that it often tends to have the opposite effect to what the donor intended. The purpose of aid is to help make life better for people who are living in poverty. However, to those who receive aid from the donors, aid looks like free money. No-one on the receiving side had to work for it or save up for it; it came from unknown people who appear to be incomparably wealthy and who will not miss it, so it seems as if no-one will be harmed if a small amount is embezzled.

Those who deal with dispensing aid on the donor side are at first shocked when some of the money is embezzled or is misapplied or is not properly accounted for. But once it becomes apparent that this is the norm rather than an isolated exception, donor-dispensers tend to settle for loss minimisation rather than loss prevention. It is very embarrassing to have to report embezzlement back in the donor country, so they turn a blind eye, and become complicit in the theft of funds.

Little by little, rather than curing poverty, aid tends to cause corruption, which then tends to become a contributing factor in the perpetuation of poverty. Emboldened by funds stolen from aid donors without consequence, corrupt administrators look for other ways to help themselves, inevitably at the cost of the poor, whom they are supposed to be serving.

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