Aid is not a depressing topic. It only becomes depressing if one starts off with wrong expectations about it.
Chris Blattman argues this point in a recent blog entry. He lists five things that, according to him, makes aid uplifting or at least less depressing as a topic:
- Aid, as a process, takes time.- Aid can only help speed up the diffusion or accumulation of capital, innovation and technologies.- Giving aid to people and infusing money to economies will inevitably have side effects, some of which will be bad.- Failure happens.- Most failures are small. Victories are huge.
“Aid is hard and messy,” Blattman argues. “But so are a lot of jobs. Example: You can start working in a rich-country finance ministry your whole life, suffer the slings and arrows of excessive partisanship and, if you’re lucky, you’ll tweak the growth rate of your country a notch. And at the end of the day you can go home and tell your kids: ‘I helped the citizens of this country afford to buy a second flat screen television.’ Now that is depressing.”