I've just finished working on my second essay for MICD, the first one for Aid, Trade and Development. I'm a bit nervous about the whole essay thing, it's been a few years now since uni the first time around and it has been hard to get back into it. It has been frustrating in a way because I have been really interested and engaged in the reading ( I read my uni stuff for fun...strange I know) but I'm finding it hard to demonstrate that in my essay responses (I think I've forgotten how to write for the academic world). Urggh essays. I forgot how much of a pain they can be.
So the big question was why Australia (or any other government for that matter) gives official overseas aid. On one hand it is great that countries take at least some responsibility for the welfare and livelihood of those in our global community, on the other hand there are probably many countries, including Australia, that could be doing more. And the motivations are interesting. Although there are many 'good' reasons why countries have an interest in the welfare of countries overseas, there are as many, if not more, 'bad' reasons. I'm not a particularly cynical person, but the more reading I did the more disheartened I became about the reasons countries give aid. If alleviating poverty on a global scale is actually a priority, then perhaps there is a need for greater integrity in the decision making process, that there should be less concern about what donor countries can get out of it in return and decisions should be made according to the greatest need.
What do you think? Why should countries give overseas aid? What sort of motivations are acceptable or unacceptable?