Random Thoughts

American Foreign Aid Worksheet

As the richest, strongest nation on the earth, the United States enjoys the ability, and some might argue, the obligation, to use its military and financial might to effect changes in other nations that reflect its interests, and perhaps values.

As far as the protection and advancement of what might be viewed as U.S. "interests," i.e. giant transnational corporations pursuit of wealth and our military and consumer requirement for large amounts of imported fossil fuels, I think there is plenty being done. Perhaps, even, a little too much, as other nations sovereignty or pursuit of it seems to be of little import to those creating and acting out these policies, likewise the rights of their people.

However, the advancement of American "values" is limited to restrictive policies regarding speech about subjects that offend a narrow spectrum of militaristic so-called Christian conservatives. There is no program or stipulation that actually has any effect to promote democracy, equality, or basic human rights (arguably the fundamental values upon which the United States was founded).

I propose a simple mathematical formula, of sorts, with which to determine how to divide up foreign aid in a way that it reflects our "core values" (as listed above) rather than the commercial interests of corporations that don't necessarily even better the lives of more than a few Americans.

First, there is the problem of strategic military aid. I will return to this, but it will certainly conflict with the rest of the formula I am about to prescribe. This is because a nation, government, or people may be at odds with every value that we hold dear, and yet still be of some grave tactical (or possibly commercial in the sense of critical natural resource supplies) value to the country.

But what really matters is, as we divide up the cash to distribute it about the planet, that we do it in such a way that rewards those that espouse and encourage the basic values we claim to find so important. Whether a countries leaders "like us" is really irrelevant, what matters is what life in that country is "like."

This formula will take a laundry list of things that really matter to individuals living in a given nation and use it to determine a score, which will then be used in conjunction with a population multiplier (possibly) to work out what percentage of the total U.S. foreign aid that nation will receive.

This formula will be comprised of such things as:

Percentage of adults franchised to vote
Percentage of population with access to education
Percentage of population with access to health care
Lack of religious requirements to hold office; vote; own property; hold a job.
Degree of democracy evidenced by the civic structure, i.e. relative proportion of government officials subject to election;
and further, the degree of direct election versus proxy voting (such as the U.S. Electoral College).

Percentage of the population in jail


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© Huw Powell

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