Social Contracts and Free Handouts
We have spent the entire semester covering the art of government in all shapes and sizes. From Marx to Hobbes to Malcolm X, everyone has something to say regarding the relationship a ruler and his subjects. However, there is one area that I don’t believe any of these great minds has fully explored. I’m talking about foreign aid.
Foreign Aid is a huge part of the United State’s past. Programs like the Truman doctrine and the Marshall plan are littered throughout our history ,and recent crises like the one in Japan may force the American government to dip further into its pockets. Foreign Aid isn’t exactly controversial–it’s hard to publicly speak out against what is essentially selfless charity–but is it fair? Does the Social contract that gives the government authority to make decisions for us validate expenses that have basically no effect on the average American? This spending is different than a controversial war or a risky research project that cost the country billions, those things potentially have huge impacts on the nation. A gift to Haiti from the government has literally no chance directly aid the United States of America.
So is foreign aid just something that we have to do for the sake of the world? Or perhaps a bonus that only a country with no unemployment or starvation should consider? At the very least shouldn’t the public have a referendum on every massive donation?
Just to clarify, I am not arguing against the United States’ foreign aid programs. And yes, saving other countries from absolute failure can come back to help. It’s sort of the same argument for bailing out countries like GM. I suppose I haven’t actually made a statement for either side and I sound more like Machiavelli than Rousseau or Locke . Although it is something of a recent phenomenon, I just thought it was interesting just how little attention the subject gets in classical political theory.