This interactive infographic by NYU graduate student Hannah Davis shows the global distribution of all foreign-aid spending (so not just American) for every year from 1960 to 2010. Play around with it, and it's like watching a Ouija board of countries battling for influence.
Sometimes the directional pull of foreign aid is obvious, as in the image above. Iraq dominates the chart for 2005--at the height of the Iraq War--soaking up more than a fifth of foreign aid.
Other times, the noise itself is the picture. Aid in 1993, after the collapse of the USSR and before the major humanitarian efforts of the late 1990s, is widely dispersed, with only China commanding more that 5 percent of the global total. Rwanda, highlighted here, was just about to undergo the darkest chapter in its history. Aid to Rwanda almost doubled in 1994, no doubt in response to the genocide that took place.
The most fascinating part of this infographic is what it obscures. Between 1960 and 2010, global spending on foreign aid increased 30-fold (granted, that's without adjusting for inflation). The pie chart can't really show that -- it's great at contrasting relative amounts of aid, but in the time covered the pie grew, so relative sized slices aren't the complete picture.
You can find the infographic here.
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Whats also interesting about the data is the actual countries the money is coming from. As Bill Gates says the EU is by far the worlds largest aid donor. Of the worlds 120 Billion spend last year on foreign aid 81 Billion of it (just over 2/3 of all the worlds foreign aid) came from EU nations despite the crises. It seems these European policy makers should be much more arrogant and spend that money in Europe first. Just like the Chinese or Russians would. 81 Billion annually could build a European space agency 5 times the size of NASA. Put men on mars and build a permanent moon base and much more. And start it as we speak. Just imagine.
I have long been against foreign aid by governments both from the US or other countries since much of it ends up with the governments and middle men of these impoverished countries and since governments should invest in their own people first not foreign countries.
A tantalizing feature is the huge black segment. On the infographic, it represents “no data”. Does that mean no indication where the money came from, where it went, or both? Following it, though, you see that between about 20% and 30% each year of all of this money is unaccounted for! That's a major portion. Curious, too, that Popular Science didn't see fit to address that facet.
There are other points to mention, too.
Such as that enhobbling or destroying an “ally's” “enemy” really counts as benefiting them, but it seems unlikely that that is part of the consideration of this presentation.
What this doesn't show is the difference between government/public aid.
In the EU they strongly believe that you pay taxes and they send out aid.
In the US we believe more in that the individuals should send aid not the the government (but as you can see the US government does send aid too).
If you get the totals for both private and government aid, you would find that the US by far sends more aid then anyone else.
The US does by far send the most foreign aid.
However, if you count the EU as a whole or even divide it to match the population of the US, the picture changes slightly.
Here's a link with the data of 1996 (I couldn't find anything more up to date at this hour, I'm a sloth)
Hell, even Belgium sends 18% of what the US sends in privatly funded foreign aid, and that's with 1/30th of the population.
Here are some more detailed and up to date data if you are into excel charts. (I also hate my inner sloth)
Table 3 and Table 5 are the ones that apply to the matter on hand.
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I hope in the year 2033, when social security is bust, the USA government remembers its old it abandon by miss managing the extra funds for social security for special projects, leaving dead-beat political IOUs instead.
If it's not going to our infrastructure, it's going down the toilet. Period...
Our schools are closing, our bridges are rotting, our nuclear plants are quietly festering, our deeply entrenched magnetic swipe cards are woefully obsolete, our postal service is mortally wounded, police are underfunded, and a zillion people sneak in un-documented due to a lack of border patrol.
Other than that, it's going swimmingly...