After offering us the hardly novel idea that trade plays a more significant role than assistance funding in development and growth, Howard stumbles into a caution about the impact of corruption on the willingness of electorates in rich countries to sustain aid flows. Despite assuring us of the difference between trade and aid in his first sentence, he mixes the two in his second sentence and goes on to confound the issues of corruption as an impediment to the effective use of aid and protection as an impediment to and trade-led growth. bq. “Trade access is worth far more to underdeveloped countries than development assistance,” Howard said. bq. “The developed world can do more to open up trade access but those underdeveloped countries seeking assistance should understand that the standard of governance and issues of corruption are very, very important to the attitude of electorates. bq. “In democracies, governments are influenced by public opinion and there’s no point kidding ourselves otherwise. Public opinion wants to help the less fortunate. Public opinion in my country and the world was extraordinary in helping after the tsunami crisis. bq. “There is no absence of genuine compassion but there is a hard-headed view that the resources allocated should be properly used.” (“Sydney Morning Herald”:http://www.smh.com.au/news/World/Free-trade-better-than-aid-Howards/2005/01/30/1107020259720.html)
Peter Gallagher is student of piano and photography. He was formerly a senior trade official of the Australian government. For some years after leaving government, he consulted to international organizations, governments and business groups on trade and public policy.
He teaches graduate classes at the University of Adelaide on trade research methods and the role of firms in trade and growth and tweets trade (and other) stuff from @pwgallagher