David Brooks in today’s Herald Tribune:
“Meanwhile, the influx of aid has, in many cases, created dependency, fed corruption, contributed to insecurity and undermined the host government’s capacity to oversee sustainable programs.
In the district of Nawa, for example, Usaid spent $400 per person last year. The per-capita income before aid was $300. According to the World Bank, 97 percent of Afghanistan’s G.D.P. derives from spending related to the military and donor community presence.
This incredible infusion distorts labor markets. An Afghan can make $75 a month as a teacher but more than $1,000 a month as a translator or driver for aid workers. The most talented people get sucked out of the real economy and into the aid economy.”
This is what a Dutch officer told me a while ago: “At our army base base in Afghanistan we were paying the Afghan workers in the laundry more than an Afghan doctor would make. In other words, we were destroying their economy by being generous.”