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US: Money as a weapon in international affairs

Tim Brown belittled the amount of aid given by small countries like Denmark and the Netherlands. I pointed out that it was a greater percentage of their GDP than US aid. Tim replies: "You are correct if you measure only aid as percentage of GDP that is given directly by a national government, i.e. bilateral assistance. But this is the narrowest possible definition and, in fact, ignores the greatest form of foreign aid, indirect assistance. If one considered actual amounts or even percentages of GDP defined as direct, indirect and charitable assistance, the US leads by far. To reach an honest number, one must included such money flows as the US share of IBRD, IDB, IMF, UNDP, OAS, OAU, and myriad other programs that are primarily funded indirectly by the US, n0ot to mention programs such as ROCVAP and PL480 grains".

RH. Tim is right. One should factor in all aid, including that given by foundations such as Ford. I have not seen such totals, and it might be hard to assemble all the figures, but it would be informative. At the same time, grants which are contingent on buying US products are really subsidies to US corporations.

Ronald Hilton - 7/20/03