Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on the Futility of the Raj's Largesse to India

The darndest political dispute has broken out across the pond between England and its former colony, India. The British government has been begging India to accept hundreds of millions of dollars every year in aid. And the Indian government has been telling the Brits to shove it.

But the fact of the matter, Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia notes in her latest column at The Daily, is that this inter-governmental jousting has more to do with the egos of the elites in the two countries and less to do with the purported goal of the aid: helping the poor.

She notes:

[T]he point of the aid wasn’t to save India’s poor but to save British face. It wasn’t about making India’s impoverished feel better, but making the British establishment feel good.

But if England’s aid is about national aggrandizement, so is India’s refusal to accept it.

Why would a government that truly cares about its poor not accept help on their behalf? Because it doesn’t care. India’s ruling classes largely represent the aspirations of the country’s middle classes and nouveau riche. And they are so inured to the poverty around them that it is no longer even visible to them.

Read the whole thing here.

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  • Tman||

    Isn't this pretty much the same thing that's happening in Africa?

    Foreign Aid sent---->stolen by corrupt leaders------>used to finance oppression---->Africa remains borke and corrupt.

    Rinse, repeat.

  • yy||

    My neighbor just met a bisexual man on ---datebi*cOMit’s where for men and women looking
    for bisexual and bi-curious individuals to meet in a friendly and comfortable environment.
    It’s a nice place for the people who have the same sexual orientation.

  • cynical||

    Yes, except for the part where the corrupt foreign leaders refuse to take the aid because the notion that their nation is a charity case offends them.

  • rather||

    The gated-community society is an Indian Americanization; Unfortunately, they do not have a history of charity in the sense they are still very much bound by caste stigma

  • NotSure||

    America did not "invent" gated communities, the idea of keeping out undesirables is as old as civlisation.

  • ||

    Don't want my stuff stolen or my family threatened. Completely new concept.

  • Welfare queens||

    where da freeze money?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Silly Shikha. We give out aid for the same reason India does - to increase our influence on other countries.

  • ||

    "And they are so inured to the poverty around them that it is no longer even visible to them."

    I have always been under the impression that, in India, this predates the modern aspirational middle class by centuries, at least.

  • ||

    India has nuclear weapons even though nobody wants to invade them.
    Why give any country with nuclear weapons aid for anything is beyond me?
    Just shows you the white can be just as stupid as any other.
    (PS Europe, which Britan is part of, even if they don't admit it, is the most racist place on earth)

  • The Sanity Inspector||

    jackit: You've obviously never spent time in Japan or Korea, or else their superbly courteous manners fooled you.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    India has nuclear weapons even though nobody wants to invade them.

    So the various Indo-Pakistani Wars and the Sino-Indian War never happened?

  • ||

    I suspect that its more like "Since India got nuclear weapons, nobody wants to invade them."

  • ||

    It was over borders. And how bad was the Sino-India war? Yea, China really wanted to conquer another 3/4 of a billion people when at the time, it could barely feed it's own.
    Pakistan invade India? No, it was the other way around. Smarten up.

  • The Sanity Inspector||

    It's a wise move by India to refuse the aid, though maybe not for the reason they imagine. The aid makes the government answerable, not to the people, but to foreign sugar daddies, to the detriment of the democratic spirit in the country.

  • ||

    "The White House argues that tax breaks for manufacturers could ultimately pay off for the economy. When factories expand, for example, the benefits tend to spill into other businesses: Shipping companies and warehouses must add jobs, too, to transport and store the goods that manufacturers are producing."

    Does this mean that the Obama Administration now accepts the Trickle Down Theory?


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