Don’t Forget the Already Poor

Audio available via Marketplace (19:50).

We’re all glued to Wall Street’s implosion and for good reason. We’re worried about falling home values and our 401k’s. The crisis will also hit the world’s poorest people in Africa, Asia and Latin America who are least able to buffer the shock.

For one, in the recent Vice Presidential debate, Joe Biden said that one
consequence of the financial crisis would be a cut in U.S. foreign aid. That’s not good for countries, like many in Africa, that rely on bilateral aid for a large chunk of their national budget, to make sure their civil servants, police, and judges keep getting paid.

As American wallets snap shut, charities will also take a hit. We Americans are incredibly generous givers to the developing world, funding everything from primary schools, to maternal and child health clinics, to micro-credit for rural entrepreneurs. Many of these worthwhile projects will wither when assistance from overseas dries up.