Wednesday, December 29, 2004
I guess we are not such tight-wads after all, eh?
Former U.S. Agency for International Development official Carol Adelman attempted to calculate a total of all private foreign aid in 2000 in a 2003 Foreign Affairs magazine article. She found that private foreign aid greatly exceeded that provided by the U.S. government. Official aid came to $22.6 billion that year, but private aid came to $35.1 billion, including $18 billion in remittances, $6.6 billion from private voluntary organizations, $3.4 billion in aid from churches, $3 billion from foundations, $2.8 from corporations, and $1.3 billion from universities.
But even this understates the extent to which Americans help developing countries, because it excludes private investment and trade. According to the Institute of International Finance, in 2003, Americans invested $124 billion in emerging market economies, three-fourths in direct investment such as plant and equipment and the rest in stocks and bonds.
In short, the charge of stinginess is unfounded. The U.S. carries much of the world on its back, providing other nations with security, aid and much of their investment and income. It also pays for a fourth of all the salaries of U.N. bureaucrats.