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Doing Good While Doing Well: The Unheralded Success of American Enterprise Funds

Courtesy Reuters

International economic assistance has been an important component of U.S. foreign policy for nearly a century, from the Hoover Relief Program and the Marshall Plan after the two world wars to the creation of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1962. All too often, however, foreign assistance has produced mixed results, thanks largely to a lack of focus and a lack of funding. USAID is a case in point: over time, the agency's original mission of supporting economic development to counterbalance worldwide communist pressures has been extended to include humanitarian and disaster relief; environmental, educational, and governmental reform; and even the encouragement of peace in the Middle East and democracy in the former Soviet states. The resulting lack of an overall strategy and objectively measurable criteria for success, together with the evaporation of the communist threat, has subjected USAID to persistent congressional criticism and a constant battle

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