The paper analyzes an article titled “Aid, politics and development: the 21st century challenges” by Duncan Green from the Guardian. In the article, Green says that it is hard to eradicate global poverty given the many factors contributing to the problem. First, the author says that there is a notion that there are inadequate resources to help in poverty eradication. This, the author states, has led to inflation in food prices. Additionally, fuel production aimed at meeting daily needs has led to climate change. This has been witnessed globally meaning there has to be a limit in the way natural resources are utilized. These resources include water and energy that have become so scarce forcing governments to derive mechanisms for sustainable use of the same.
Given the limited resources, the majority have continued to languish in poverty for decades. In essence, according to Green, there has not been much achieved in terms of development and poverty eradication over decades. The focus of many reports on how to feed the global population, around 9 billion people, is on technical solutions. As such, although there seems to be efforts to reduce poverty, these reports tend to ignore key issues of resource distribution, power and politics. This challenge of focusing on the technical aspects of poverty eradication led to the Oxfam launching a report on key poverty issues in June 2011.
The second factor, according to Green, is that development seems to focus majorly on two fronts, the “north in the south” meaning the few rich people in poor countries, and the “south in the north” meaning the majority who are marginalized. Here, the author says that despite development efforts, there exists a challenge of inequality in the developed world. As such, there has been a widening gap between the rich and the poor countries. The northern policy issues are now finding their way into the agenda of the south. These include ageing populations, rapid urbanization and domestic taxation. As such, it is no longer a case of foreign aid but rather domestic taxation is used in poverty eradication in many countries. In other countries, welfare issues include mental illness, disability, obesity, as well as access to basic healthcare, education, and social protection.
The author adds that despite the US being one of the most developed countries, cases of obesity are still high. Thus, this clearly shows that even developed countries do grapple with health challenges like obesity and malnutrition. Furthermore, many world organizations involved in development do find it hard to address issues like obesity and malnutrition. There is also a general mentality that the poor have different lives, experiences and issues to tackle in poor countries which are different in many developed countries. Thirdly, development has drastically changed with the emergence of new states like India and Brazil. The author says that the rise of these countries has led to a decline in many of the Western states changing the development landscape. Consequently, there has been a situation where most of these emerging economies and developed countries are more focused on pursuing their development agendas other than offering aid to other countries. Such an approach could deter global development. Lastly, the author says that despite development organizations being seen agents of change, they are doing little to show this.
The author has presented his arguments by backing them up with relevant information in order to convince the audience. Through the article, the author reminds his audience on the challenges facing agencies involved in poverty eradication globally. The author has not used any methods in presenting his views to the audience. In the article, the author sounds pessimistic as he outlines factors he believes are against the realization of development. Despite efforts, being undertaken by countries to eradicate poverty, the author says that there are numerous underlying issues that hinder this. Additionally, the author puts up logical arguments that seem to convince the audience in believing that poverty eradication may never be achieved. In using pathos, the author reminds the audience that unless much is done, the world risks going back to the Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan era of trickle-down economics.
Furthermore, the author uses logical reasoning in expressing his views. The author achieves this by exhaustively outlining factors he views as being a hindrance to global poverty eradication efforts. For instance, there is the issue of resource exploitation that has resulted into climate change. As the world works towards ensuring the adequacy, the atmosphere has been compromised by increased carbon dioxide production. On the other hand, as countries focus on developing their national economies, the aid agenda is forgotten. This brings a dilemma in the global fight against poverty. The intended audience for the article includes development agencies, countries and NGOs involved in poverty eradication. Moreover, the article is an eye-opener for students undertaking courses on development studies.
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From the article, the author has not used any clear methods in putting forward his arguments. However, in his arguments, there are a number of fallacies that are evident. First, the author seems to make hasty generalizations and assumptions about most developed countries being more interested in growth than aid to poor countries. To the author, there seems to be a shift by developed countries to focus most on their development agendas at the expense of helping poor countries eradicate poverty. On the contrary, this is not the case at the moment. Currently, there are a number of developed countries who still donate so much in form of aid through various programs to help the most vulnerable groups in poor countries. As such, the author could have been more specific other than assume that all developed countries only care about their growth agendas as opposed to aid.
Secondly, the author seems to miss the point of his argument in tackling the topic at hand. Actually, the author has failed to show a clear link between aid, politics and development. The audience is left wondering what the author’s point is given that, in the article, there are no clear linkages between the three variables. For instance, I expected the author to come out clearly and explain to the audience how politics affects decisions made by countries as far as aid and development are concerned. Each political party in a country has its own foreign policy. In essence, the budget set aside for aid and development is part of the political class’ foreign policy. Consequently, aid set aside will largely be determined by the political party in power, in the developed countries. Moreover, resource allocation decisions are made by those in power. Therefore, the approach they use in poverty eradication within a country is politicized. Thus, the author failed to elaborate on the role played by politics in influencing aid and development decisions.
To add on this, it is clear that the author presented a weak argument concerning resource depletion and climate change. Currently, countries are adopting the concept of sustainable development in their growth agendas. Here, emphasis is on current resource use and exploitation not compromising the survival of future generations. Furthermore, environmental-friendly technologies are being employed by nations to reduce climate change effects. Consequently, the use of these fallacies in the article has weakened its effectiveness on the intended audience. As one goes through the article, they are left with more questions on why the author made so many generalizations and assumptions. The audience cannot be fully convinced by the author’s arguments. The author could have appreciated the efforts made so far in reducing climate change effects in the exploitation of different energy sources. For instance, so many conferences have been organized by both developing and developed countries to deliberate on how best to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. From these conferences, so much has been agreed that has, in a way, created awareness on the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, development agendas, pursued by different countries, have not compromised the globe.
From the claims expressed by the author, I think the author is being too pessimistic as far as a fight against poverty is concerned. It is evident that a lot has been achieved globally in the fight against poverty. Developing countries only struggle to eradicate poverty mainly because of governance issues that like corruption. In many countries, aid from donors rarely reaches the intended groups. Governments in developing countries, therefore, need to develop mechanisms to curb the menace that is corruption. Moreover, poverty can be blamed on unpredictable weather patterns in many countries that have led to failure in agriculture. As such, the author was not convincing enough to make me change my mind as far as poverty is concerned. This is because so many factors come into play, not only the few mentioned by the author. On the other hand, to some extent, the author was convincing by correctly claiming many reports produced tend to focus on the technical solutions to poverty eradication. Rather, these reports are supposed to focus on issues like resource distribution, power and politics which play a critical role in resource use.
Nevertheless, the argument put forward by the author, that did not convince me was on the shift of development agendas by many countries. I do not think it is true that many countries nowadays are more concerned about their own development at the expense of aid for poverty eradication. There is still a large percent of developed countries’ budgets that are dedicated to aid. In order for me to be more convinced, the author could have elaborated how natural factors have been a hindrance to efforts for poverty eradication. For instance, there have been droughts, diseases, floods and earthquakes that have led to destruction of property leaving many people vulnerable. Consequently, these factors have played a part in slowing the fight against poverty.
On the other, the author should have appreciated efforts made so far and the roles that development agencies like Oxfam have played in global poverty eradication. Involvement of the local communities in poverty eradication is vital. This is because many donor-funded development projects are rarely embraced by the local communities.
Thus, community participation in development agendas is of essence if poverty eradication is to be realized. In many poor countries, the infrastructure is poorly developed, meaning that the same could have an impact on development efforts.
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