The Cost of Giving

Thomas Dworzak / Magnum Photos for TIME

HARD SCRABBLE: Ethiopians guard their livestock while millions starve

Aid to the developing world is one of those things whose motives have been mixed and muddled. In the age of empire, imperial powers built up infrastructure to make their colonies more productive and get primary goods quickly to market: railways, ports and canals linked the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific and the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean. In the wreckage left by World War II, the Bretton Woods institutions and the Marshall Plan were premised on the idea that economic development was the handmaiden to peace. More recently, charitable organizations (which have been playing a role in development for centuries)...

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