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Aid's Purposes: A Brief History

Aid's Purposes: A Brief History

(p.25) Chapter 2 Aid's Purposes: A Brief History
Foreign Aid
University of Chicago Press

Foreign aid, which began as an instrument of Cold War diplomacy, became a permanent element in relations between states, reflecting a strengthening norm that the governments of rich countries should help poor countries improve the well-being of their peoples. Such a norm was hardly imagined at the beginning of the foreign aid era; it is seldom contested today. The path by which that norm developed involves the domestic political processes of aid-giving countries, international trends and events, and pressures from international organizations that supported the use of aid for human betterment. This chapter describes the history of foreign aid over the past threescore years from a global perspective.

Keywords:   foreign aid, Cold War diplomacy, international relations, rich countries, poor countries, domestic political process, aid-giving countries, international organizations

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