Debating Aid

Welcome to Debating Aid, a resource produced by 80:20 Educating and Acting for a Better World. As its name suggests, this resource explores development aid and the various debates around it, from the philosophical basis behind aid to the history of development aid and some of the major defences and criticisms of aid.

This resource is aimed at readers that have some idea about development aid and want to learn more. It cuts through the ‘insider’ terminology and technical jargon, summarising many of the major academic debates around aid.

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Aid: A Choice or a Duty?

Do we (as individuals, communities and societies) have a moral obligation to help those worse off than we are, or is any aid simply a personal choice? This section explores this question, drawing on inspiration from western philosophy and major religious teachings.

Aid: The History of an Idea

Where did aid start? How has it progressed over the decades? Does all aid come from OECD states? What about aid given by the Arab world or China?

Aid and Its Critics

This section explores the criticisms of aid and its key critics. Four key criticisms are presented along with a selection of aid critics such as Teresa Hayter, Dambisa Moyo, William Easterly and Jonathan Glennie among others.

Aid and Its Defenders

In this section we take a look at the arguments and thinkers in favour of development aid. Writers such as Paul Collier, Thomas Pogge, Roger Riddell and Jeffrey Sachs all make an appearance, and five key arguments in favour of aid are presented.

NGOs and Aid

Although the vast bulk of aid comes from governments, many of us still associate aid with aid agencies and other NGOs. This section looks at their involvement and impact within the broader development aid scenario.

Aid: Four Debates Explored

Explore four of the major debates around aid today.

  1. Is celebrity endorsement of aid and aid projects good or bad?
  2. Is aid about charity or justice?
  3. Does aid come at the expense of trade?
  4. Are aid and corruption connected, or is the perception simply a stereotype?

Aid and Ireland

Ireland’s aid programme is one of the best respected in the world. But when did the programme start, how much is spent every year, and where does the money go? What values underpin Ireland’s aid programme?