A Half Penny on the Federal Dollar: The Future of Development Aid

In This Review

A Half Penny on the Federal Dollar: The Future of Development Aid

By Michael O'Hanlon and Carol Graham
Brookings, 1997
102 pp. $14.95
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Americans are accustomed to regarding their allies as slackers, but Europe and Japan have much better records on overseas development assistance than the United States. As this fair-minded overview points out, the United States devotes to aid a smaller percentage of its GDP than any other rich country. O'Hanlon and Graham think the burden-sharing argument for greater aid is weak, since the United States contributes more than its fair share to international security, but they nevertheless argue for a return to the $12 billion annual average of recent decades from the $9 billion of 1997 (projected to fall to $6 billion soon). The authors' principal recommendation is to reduce aid sharply to poor performers and to reward states that have established the neoliberal policies necessary for economic growth -- a form of triage that may be necessary to restore domestic support for aid but that leaves one wondering whether the rich world can truly escape the consequences of cutting adrift the desperately poor.