Ontwikkelingshulp in een bodemloze put

MUMBAI – De grote kloof tussen de rijkste en armste landen ter wereld blijft een van de grote morele dilemma’s voor het Westen. Het is daarnaast een van de grootste uitdagingen voor de ontwikkelingseconomie. Weten we wel echt hoe we landen de armoede uit helpen?

Angus Deaton van Princeton University waarschuwt ons in zijn goed geschreven nieuwe boek, waar hij uitvoerige research voor deed;  ‘The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality’. Voor degenen die geïnteresseerd zijn in het wereldarmoedeprobleem is dit ongetwijfeld het belangrijkste boek over ontwikkelingshulp dat er in lange tijd verschenen is.

Deaton stelt dat Westerse hulp veel  te vaak dient om het schuldgevoel van de donors te verzachten in plaats van het lenigen van de nood van de ontvangers. Dit is in het bijzonder het geval wanneer naïeve hulp dient om een dysfunctionele status quo te versterken. Ondanks dat Deaton bepaalde initiatieven ondersteunt, vooral voor het aanbieden van medische en technische kennis, vraagt hij zich af of de ruime meerderheid van de hulp de Hippocratische lakmoesproef om ‘ten eerste geen kwaad (te) doen’ wel doorstaat.

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