International Development: why does it matter?

Does international development even matter? Is it really necessary for countries that are further developed to dedicate a portion of their national budget to foreign aid? Where does the duty to provide for the worlds poorest citizens belong?

Well, the simple answer to that one is – to ALL of us. After all, how did certain countries accumulate enough wealth to be considered developed? They certainly did not achieve that on their own.

Some of us have a disproportionate amount of material goods and this is directly linked to the reality that others do not and this disparity is by no means a natural phenomenon. In the greatness of human ingenuity, we have manufactured this inequality. This gap continues to grow as we colonize, extract, and continue to prop up systems that enforce dependency.

Are these things in the past? Absolutely not! I’m going to try really hard not to rant about the Canadian mining industry and how it continues to exploit foreign nations for their resources, environment and people but please keep in mind that it is happening right now! Fun fact: Canada is home to 75% of the worlds mining companies partially because only two Canadian laws apply to international mining practices and companies are not held to account for policies relating to either environmental or social responsibility – way to go Canada! (Mining Watch Canada)

So yes – we do owe it to countries working hard on their own development. Forget aid as charity and instead try thinking about it as the fine owed for the exploitation we continue to engage in and benefit from.

If we really want to do away with foreign aid (and I agree that it is not a very good system), maybe we could start thinking about changing how we engage as individuals, corporations, and governments with the international community. If our current practices are going to continue to deepen the divide between less developed and more developed countries, then I guess we should increase the amount of aid dollars we allocate each year. OR – we could actually hold our own governments as well as our private sector to account! They get away with this neocolonial shit because the voices calling them out on their exploitation are too few and ultimately, Canadians benefit from shutting up.

International development is absolutely an issue of social justice and human rights and we are failing miserably right now.

We are responsible for the world we live in. What do you want it to look like?


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