“An underlying theme in basic economics says, ‘offering a product for free can destroy the local economy’” writes Luis Miranda. Miranda recently watched Poverty, Inc and since seeing the award winning Acton Institute documentary he has shared some of its lessons in an article at The Indian Economist. He begins by explaining how often times aid can harm its recipient more than help them.
A farmer in Rwanda goes out of business because he cannot compete against an American church sending free eggs to feed starving Rwandans. A rice grower in Haiti stops growing rice because he is unable to compete against very cheap rice coming from rich farmers in the US who receive huge subsidies. A local cobbler goes out of business in Africa when TOMS shoes land up in the village and are distributed for free.
In all these cases, the donors had honest intentions. The American church wanted to feed starving people in Rwanda. The US government wanted to feed the disaster-stricken Haitians. Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, genuinely wanted to help Africans who did not have proper footwear.
Miranda continues to share key takeaways from Poverty, Inc. Next he shares how although aid can appear to be effective in the short term, it can create negative effects in the long term. (more…)