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Dependency on support from an external source leads to weakness, and is a disincentive to seeking independent growth and financial security - this is a common argument in the fields of aid and welfare.
Peter Bauer, William Easterly and more recently Dambisa Moyo are among the aid critics who argue that aid dependency is a major cause of the problems in much of Africa, and other struggling regions of the world. Other commentators such as Paul Collier (author of The Bottom Billion) argue that this is an oversimplification.
Long-term welfare dependence is also a popular target for critics of government programs; thus many welfare programs, including in USA and Australia, contain strict conditions to encourage recipients to stand on their own feet. This has also become relevant to international development, as the IMF has insisted on slashing government welfare programs, including schools and health care, as part of their required economic reforms.
Extreme cases are often regarded as exceptions, such as total incapacity to work through disability in the case of social welfare, or natural disasters in the case of aid. The difficulty is in determining the boundaries between "genuine cases," and the stricter the conditions are made, the more people will fall through the gaps.
Dependency theory or dependencia theoria is a body of 20th century social science theories predicated on the notion that resources flow from a "periphery" of poor and underdeveloped states to a "core" of wealthy states, enriching the latter at the expense of the former. It is a central contention of dependency theory that poor nations are impoverished and rich ones enriched by the way poor nations are integrated into the "world system." You can read more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dependency_theory
- Dambisa Moyo: Aid dependency blights Africa. The cure is in the credit crisis, The Independent, 2 February 2009. "Far from being a catalyst, foreign aid inhibits the continent's growth"
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