I recently found myself in a discussion with someone about how the United States needs to put “America First” and stop helping so much around the world. I found myself in a circular argument I couldn’t articulate well because I didn’t have the proper evidence. These days, I’m obsessed with having evidence or being silent.. this is how I’m trying to deal our divides in this country I love.
I’m told I don’t need to spend any time educating anyone on my points of view, that the way I see the world is already in the majority. I’m told all we really need to do is make sure we all vote. The thing is, I can’t live with that. I’m a broker by trade, I bring people and ideas together.
I can’t, not ever, leave well enough alone. So… I challenged myself to create a factually based argument on why we should #addmorelove to the world that isn’t about compassion. Instead, I used the universal language of economics.
I’m going to use this in my next conversation, I invite you to as well.
Foreign aid is not just about compassion
October 17, 2017 | Tyler Lewke
Outside of Anne Frank’s secret attic stood a Chestnut tree. In 2005, the 170-year-old tree began to die. The Anne Frank House, now a museum, started germinating the chestnuts from the tree and in 2009 donated the saplings to schools and organizations around the world. On February 23, 1944, Anne wrote in her diary of the tree “As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.”
But every sorrow can’t be comforted. The struggles of the world are just to great. Why should Americans help other countries with foreign aid when so much here at home seems broken? Beyond the studies showing how generosity is actually in your best interest, like reducing stress and fighting depression and increasing joy, what if helping others has a direct benefit to America? Foreign aid is not just about compassion:
Foreign aid keeps us safe.“If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately.” Said Secretary of State James Mattis. Countries we help like us.
Foreign aid saves us money. Aid is 60 times less expensive than war and the rebuilding of a nation after war.
Foreign aid boosts our economy. “The 1% we spend on aid for the poorest countries not only saves millions of lives, it has an enormous impact on developing economies- which means it has an impact on our economy.” Said Bill Gates. Societies are stronger when they have healthy workers. Between 2005 and 2011, Zambia’s per-person income grew by more than 55% and as they make more money, they buy American products.
Foreign aid helps American companies make connections and find talent. When America assists a country out of extreme poverty and improves education, the world sees more doctors, nurses, and tech innovators. Aid helps us connect with private companies that form in these rising nations, contributing to collaboration on global issues that benefit all.
Foreign aid helps the planet. When charcoal is burned as fuel in Uganda without regulation, the world is worse off. “Our most critical environmental problem is global poverty,” said Jack Hollander in his book “The Real Environmental Crisis”. “Population growth; climate change; agriculture and food supply; our fisheries, forests, and fossil fuels; water and air quality; and solar and nuclear power. We need more of our resources directed to where they will do the most good—to lifting the world’s population out of poverty, so they understand how their actions directly impact our planet.”
Anne Frank’s journal provides instruction on how we can view foreign aid; “how wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
When people in one place do better, the rest of us do better.
Sources: Business Round Table, CNN, Gates Foundation, Springer, The Real Environmental Crisis