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FOREIGN AID AND RESETTLEMENT 1

Foreign Aid and Resettlement


Francis Harker
Global Connections
Instructor: Gregory Falls
December 6, 2017
FOREIGN AID AND RESETTLEMENT 1

Table of Contents
Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………………....3
Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………..4
Literature Review………………………………………………………………………………….5
Discussion…………………………………………………………………………………………7
Drawbacks of Long-term Aid……………………………………………………………………..9
Comparison with Alternatives to Aid…………………………………………………………....11
Displacement……………………………………………………………………………………..12
Resettlement……………………………………………………………………………………...13
Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………….14
Works Cited……………………………………………………………………………………...15
Appendix A……………………………………………………………………………………....18
Appendix B………………………………………………………………………………………19
Appendix C………………………………………………………………………………………20
FOREIGN AID AND RESETTLEMENT 1

Abstract

On going foreign aid is a common response to most disasters or crisis faced by individual
states, especially in the developing world. As is a policy of host nations absorbing refugees
displaced from such crisis stricken states. However, these responses to these problems are not in
the best interest of the states and populations ostensibly being helped. While the author
recognizes situations in which aid is not a violation of a state’s sovereignty and can be necessary
or beneficial, this is not the case a majority of times. Often aid prevents economic recovery or
growth as the case may be and reduces the recipient state’s accountability to its
citizens. Furthermore, while displaced people negatively impact their host states, the
resettlement of displaced people is a necessary step in a state’s full economic and intellectual
recovery and should occur as soon as is feasible. Therefore, foreign aid and intervention should
only be provided when the recipient state’s government is unable to fulfill the role that aid would
play and the resettlement of displaced people should be an inevitability.
FOREIGN AID AND RESETTLEMENT 1

Foreign Aid and Resettlement

After a disaster strikes any given nation, one can rely upon an outpouring of aid. Since the
formation of the United Nations and before, numerous organizations have been created for this
purpose. Very often, the state in question will make a recovery. However, some states will take
a longer period of time to recover. Still other states may take an indefinite period of time and
seemingly never recover.
Despite the ubiquity of promises of aid, its necessity, intensity and duration are highly
uneven. Aid also comes in many forms, one nation might have its economy inundated with free
food and another might have large numbers of its citizens resettled across the world, to other
states from which they may eventually return. However from these many ways and means a
better way must be found. The role of national governments and non-governmental
organizations in aiding the recovery or nations affected by natural disasters must be addressed
and established.
Additionally, the focus of aid must be redressed. The focus of relief efforts directed at citizens
who were impacted must be directed at the safe resettlement of those displaced citizens. This
way states will be able to recover faster and not need or appear to need ongoing foreign aid. This
comes at a time when not only are natural disasters projected to increase in frequency but during
a time in which there are numerous people displaced people displaced by other calamities.
While this paper unintentionally avoids the topics of human conflict and people displaced by
such actions it. Despite the primary purpose of it being to examine the responses to disasters and
advocate for resettlement of displaced people, that is not the extent of its message. It is also
meant as a critique of long term international aid and the organizations which provide such
measures.
Literature Review
In general, there were three categories into which the author’s first five chosen sources
fell. While ideological support was extremely difficult to find, papers reconsidering the efficacy
of ongoing international financial aid were somewhat more numerous. Those papers were also
desirable as they were provided case studies which supported the argument being made by the
author. The additional sources fell into two separate categories. The first of these being papers
which provide ideological support for the author’s positions on foreign aid and disaster relief.
Finally, similar to the paper which provided ideological support the last paper of these first
several sources give credence to one of the limitations the author chose for the paper.
These sources include a paper regarding the differences between political conflicts and natural
disasters and the differences in the necessary response. This concurs with the conclusion the
author reached which led them to the author limiting the case studies being examined by the
project. The paper also identified the causes of these differences in much the same manner as
FOREIGN AID AND RESETTLEMENT 1

did the author. Political conflict can destabilize institutions to a much greater degree than can
natural disasters, especially since a natural disaster is often one isolated event (Albala, 2000).
The next category will likely be the most useful for the author. This is mainly because this
category is sources which lend the author’s position ideological support. This paper discusses a
phenomenon which it terms the “Samaritan’s dilemma”. In doing so, it makes a position against
long term foreign aid, claiming it discourages the leaders of the states receiving aid from
developing infrastructure which could mitigate future disasters. The author of this paper also
intends to make this argument and would benefit from the research and conclusions and
terminology entailed in this paper. However, this school of thought is not as common as the
school that calls for endless foreign aid and this paper is the only source the author has currently
found serving this purpose (Raschky & Schwindt, (2016).
The final category is by far the largest. This is mainly because the author was at their least
discerning when choosing sources for this category. That, in turn is a result of the fact that this
section devoted to case studies and other information on the subject (Armah & Nelson, 2008)
additionally, the author was not concerned with ideological concurrence among the sources in
this category (Stroemburg, 2007).
Differences in beliefs regarding the role of foreign aid among the sources also has another
advantage. It allows the author to consider and refute differing opinions within their paper.
Additionally, as the case studies in the author’s research were selected by other authors
attempting to make other arguments, they will not be the perfectly in line with the author’s
argument (Jackson, 2013). It is in this was that the author avoids being accused of researching
only cases which best make their argument. (Zanon, (2012)

Discussion
States around the world are more connected than ever in modern times. Therefore it is the
natural inclination of most states to provide aid to other states, should disaster befall
them. Numerous non-governmental organizations have been founded with the mission of
providing aid in various forms. However, while foreign aid may be useful in the short term, long
term aid will prevent a state’s recovery. (Zanon, 2012) Therefore, it falls upon the national
authorities of the disaster stricken states to manage their state’s recovery. Additionally, should
any event displace people from their state of origin, to assist with the economic and intellectual
recovery of that state, those people should be resettled as soon as possible.
It would seem incongruous, however that wealthy states should not provide any assistance to a
state that requires it. Indeed, in the short term, it may be necessary or beneficial. However, in
the long term, aid can have the opposite effect. (Armah & Nelson 2008) The effect that long
term aid to impoverished or disaster stricken states can be referred to as the “Samaritan’s
dilemma”. While aid is provided with the intention to mitigate the suffering of the people
receiving it, the opposite can and in many cases will happen. While approximately $134 billion
FOREIGN AID AND RESETTLEMENT 1

in official aid is given out through various means from donor states to recipient governments as
of 2013, that money accomplishes comparatively little. (Raschky & Schwindt, 2016)
Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, political scientists such as Hans
Morgenthau have examined the question of foreign aid. (Morgenthau, 1962) While aid has been
a primary function of the United Nations since that organization’s foundation in 1945 the
practice may have done more to hold back that NGO from achieving its oft-cited millennium
development goals. Between the years of of 1970 and 1998, the rate of poverty in Africa rose
from 11% to 66%. (Wales, 2009) Simultaneously, the amount of official development
assistance rose from an average of $1.85 to $8.76, peaking at $11.45 in 1991. (Appendix A)
Not only is aid money spent inefficiently by recipient states, its very presence
discourages those states’ regimes from investing in infrastructure or any other solution to their
state’s needs. This is because it is often the reality that the constant flow of aid money corrupts
politicians and other officials in the recipient state charged with handling it, leading to those
officials consistently mishandling the money.
Should the aid be for such causes as ongoing dire poverty the mismanagement of aid
money can have arguably worse consequences. Again, this is mainly a result of government
corruption. However in this case problems arise from the way in which the money is
distributed. The money is used to subsidize the population. This pacifies that population so that
they consent to anti-democratic governance and ongoing economic stagnation. (Zanon 2012) In
essence, donor states allow the impoverished, authoritarian regimes they fund to continue in their
present state. Not only can the recipient state use this aid money to fund a cradle-to-the-grave
welfare system which pacifies the populace, the remaining money can further corrupts the rulers
of such states which perpetuates this system.
Therefore, the primary reason aid is ineffective is because it is poorly handled. The presence of
donations in a less developed economy do a great deal to reduce incentives for wealth building
on the part of the private sector in such states and incentives for investment in the wellbeing of
citizens on the part of the state in many cases. This stifles the economic growth and reduction of
wealth inequality long term aid to impoverished countries is meant to trigger. Equally
paradoxically, while such aid often leads to an increase of corruption in the government of the
recipient state, aid sent to states with stable and accountable governance can trigger the
economic growth it is invariably meant to. However, this seeming glimmer of hope for
advocates of long term financial aid is unreliable at best. A majority of aid money cannot be
traced by donors after it has been received by the recipient therefore there is no assurance money
will spent in constructive ways or go to stable, uncorrupted institutions. (Armah, et al 2008)
Even ardent supporters of foreign aid will admit the unaccountability of recipient states is the
fatal flaw that allows such states to consistently mishandle their ODA dollars. (Armah, et al
2008) However, this is difficulty cannot be easily resolved. According to international law
regarding state sovereignty, any given recipient state government has summa potestas (highest
authority) within their territory. Therefore, orders regarding the use of aid issued by a foreign
power or by a non-governmental organization do not hold any authority within the recipient
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state. However, any alteration to this legal framework in the name of transparency or efficiency
would effectively eliminate the concept of state sovereignty. (Zanon 2012)
As with most of the flaws of foreign aid, however, this complication is mostly applicable to
situations involving long term aid being provided to a state which can maintain sovereignty of its
own territory. Situations in which a state cannot effectively govern its own territory are
exceptions to this concept of state sovereignty. (Zanon 2012) In such cases a foreign entity can
manage recovery efforts within that territory until the state can regain control of the affected
territory. (Appendix B) Therefore, short term aid is a necessary part of the recovery of a state
while similar form of aid are overused in the name of economic development.
However, states which receive aid in the wake of an incident which temporarily robbed
the state of sovereignty are less likely to invest in their infrastructure should aid or the influence
of foreign or international law persist after state sovereignty has been restored. Furthermore,
populations who are the supposed recipients of ongoing foreign aid are less likely to alter
behaviors which increase the impact of isolated events such as natural disasters such as dwelling
in the path of hurricanes or within flood zones. (Zanon, 2012) This can be observed within
numerous states on varying points of the development continuum, primarily in developing
countries and to a slight degree, within developed states. Aid has even had such an effect on the
population of Mozambique, a state which needed and properly used the ODA it received to
combat the five year flooding cycle within its territory as a result of the Limpopo River Basin.
While the state advised the roughly 200,000 residents of the Limpopo basin who were displaced
in 2013, many had sought to return, preferring to return to a potentially dangerous and unstable
region than take the government’s advice and orders to remain on higher, less fertile
ground. This was a result of the fact that distribution efforts were inefficient enough as to
damage the citizens of Mozambique’s trust in their state and NGOs. (Jackson, 2015)
Similar situations often unfold in the United States, however, due to the economic status of the
United States and the stability of its institutions, such situations are resolved without
foreign. Specifically, a combination of national emergency response services such as the Federal
Emergency Management Agency and private insurers. However this system is not entirely
flawless. Following the particularly devastating hurricane season of 2017, numerous critics of
the insurance industry as “broken” (Moore & Scata, 2017). However, this was merely a critique
of the fact that many displaced people were, in this case, not compensated because the national
flood insurance program lacked the funds to do so. By comparison, the national flood insurance
program functioned more effectively than the distribution of ODA in Mozambique. In
Mozambique, 200,000 people were displaced in one event in 2013. Alternately, while figures on
total displaced are uncertain, three major storms among other smaller events occurred across
numerous US states causing at least 643 total deaths and over $475 billion and the national flood
insurance program and FEMA together were able to respond to the majority of damages and
claims (Willingham, 2017) (Appendix C) while this system is evidently not ideal, it plainly
functions more reliably than did the distribution of aid in Mozambique. Furthermore, while it
could be argued that this increased efficiency is a result of Mozambique’s extreme poverty in
comparison to the United States, however, the long term dispensation of ODA can trap an
FOREIGN AID AND RESETTLEMENT 1

impoverished state in its current level of economic development, therefore aid also indirectly
contributes to this discrepancy.
This seeming abdication of responsibility is however, often the partly the fault of national or
regional governments, should they not provide the information or resources necessary to alter
their citizens’ behavior or tendencies. Prolonged foreign aid increases chances of such
mismanagement. Therefore, excessive aid in the wake of a crisis taking the form of a single
event often carries negative consequences that far outweigh the benefits.
Another common effect of conflicts and disasters and other such incidents is the mass
displacement of people. While in some cases, often those involving large or prosperous states,
displaced people can and do remain within the borders of their own state, only to be resettled
relatively soon after the fact, that is often not the case. However, it is often the case that
numerous displaced residents of a given state will be displaced from their state of origin entirely
by either political or natural reasons. Naturally, such people will seek refuge in either a
neighboring state or a state which they believe can provide them refuge and services (R,
2016). However, it is often the case that states that states that provide such desirable welfare
services to their citizens cannot continue to do so for refugees, especially if they arrive in large
numbers (Economist, 2017).
Additionally, to enter some desirable states, such as the United States, refugees, particularly
those fleeing political conflicts will over report psychiatric strain and illness (Marshall,
2005). Furthermore, research into the mental health of refugees and the psychiatric stress of
being resettled in wealthy versus poor states is highly inconclusive and likely overestimates the
psychiatric harm of the events leading to their displacement (Marshall, 2005). Therefore, there is
no evidence that data to suggest being resettled in their state of origin will be a significant source
of trauma. This was even found to be true in the case of people fleeing persecution and
extermination, such as Cambodians fleeing the Khmer Rouge (Marshall, 2005). Additionally,
states with a less extensive welfare state and smaller numbers of asylum seekers in comparison
to total population are also put under strains similar to those subjected to states such as Sweden
(Columnist B.G., 2017). Specifically, India has faced a constant influx of migrants from
Bangladesh since 1971, in the form of ethnic minorities fleeing genocide at the hands of the
majority (Singh, 2017). This has resulted in a deterioration of the India-Pakistan border and
economic decline in that region of the country (Singh, 2017). Indian immigration laws, while
ambiguous have, since the 1970’s been further subverted as there is no clear line dividing
refugees and illegal immigrants (Singh, 2017). As a result, any state that resettles refugees
within its territory can and likely will face a decline in its economy, a blurring of its borders and
a strain on public services.
The opposite effect can happen to a state that, following its recovery should it allow its displaced
citizens to return to their homeland. As previously discussed, aid can suppress economic growth
in developing or recovering states. Resettlement can act as an alternative to long term aid in the
case of states from which large numbers. The returning people would generate more economic
activity than if the affected region from which they fled had a reduced population. By necessity,
this would happen after the state’s sovereignty has been restored and the necessary and beneficial
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short term aid and intervention has been concluded. In the case of political and ethnic conflict,
this is less of a possibility with the identity and affiliation of migrants being the factor behind
their flight and the only factor preventing or delaying their return. Therefore, it is in the best
interest of every state involved with refugees that those displaced people be repatriated in their
state of origin as soon is safe and manageable.
Conclusion
The current means response of the international community at large’s response to state
level crisis, particularly those involving the dislocation of people is in many regards
imperfect. It would be inaccurate, however to suggest that the current responses to such events
are entirely misguided and without and redeeming qualities. The author was, in fact, informed as
much as they had perceived aid to be more of a counterintuitive waste of resources as it in fact is
in a general sense. However, the international community’s current stance on migration and
resettlement is, with several notable exceptions damaging to both the state acting as host to
refuges and the state from which they originate. This being a result of the economic drain
refugees have on host states and the economic activity lost by their forced migration.
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Appendix A
FOREIGN AID AND RESETTLEMENT 1

Appendix B
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Appendix C