The Governments of the World

SummaryAcknowledgementIntroductionWhy Should We Help?The BenefitsThe Venture ItselfHow to Avoid the Marie Antoinette SyndromeThe Action PlanConclusionSelected Bibliography


The western governments have committed to funding UN programs under ODA. The standard for ODA is 0.7 percent of the country’s gross national product (GNP).

[I]t was our own Lester Pearson, in 1969, when he was foreign minister, who negotiated with other western governments the benchmark of 0.7 percent of GNP as the legitimate level of foreign aid for all industrial countries. With embarrassing irony, it needs be said that not a single one of the G7 countries has ever come close to the target, Canada included. (Lewis, 2004, p. 27)

Funding of 0.7 percent from the G7 could be breathtakingly beneficial. A luminous example of ODA was the Marshall Plan, funded by the United States to rebuild Europe after World War II. The purpose was to avoid a repeat of the downward economic spiral and demoralization that occurred in Germany after World War I. It was a fabulous success, bringing a lasting peace and prosperity to Europe — and it cost 2 percent of the States’ GNP. (Sachs, 2005, pp. 216-217)

But today, even 0.7 percent is too much for our government. Even though Canada is currently the only G8 country with a surplus, the government has steadfastly refused not only to allot 0.7 percent to ODA, but even to set a timetable to increase over time our contributions to reach the 0.7 percent maximum. (Lewis, 2005, p. 33)

Broken promises, indifference, cynical lip service — obviously the governments will not follow through.

It becomes clear . . . that part of the problem is the almost complete reliance on governments. In my own philosophic view, that reliance is exactly as it should be, except that in the circumstance of AIDS, there is no time for cerebral self-indulgence. The rich countries won’t deliver and the poor countries can’t deliver, and the dying increases exponentially. [my emphasis] (Lewis, 2005, pp. 160-161)

So if we rely on our government to fund ODA or UN programs, we will be waiting forever. When a government will not take action, what can be done?


Read More: It’s Their Own Fault If They Are PoorJared Diamond and Western (Cargo)Ineffective AidMuhammad Yunus and MicrocreditUnscrupulous PeopleThe SystemGrameen BankIt Doesn’t Affect Us, So Why Should We Care?The Poor Will Always Be With UsThere Is No Point In Giving AidWhere Does All The Money Go?Africa’s Onerous ChallengesAfrica’s Extreme PovertyCorruption and Poor GovernanceLack of Modern Values and Free Market EconomiesA Population Explosion?Why Not Leave It to the United Nations and the World’s Governments?The UNThe Governments of the WorldGrassroots Movements