The Upper College Society met in Thirlestaine Long Gallery to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of economic aid. Presidents, Deputy Head Boy Chuen Low (U6, Xt) and Head Girl Ankita Mediratta (U6, W), chaired the event.
Students William Hardy (U6, S) and Alex Thorpe (U6, BH) compellingly presented opposing arguments on the effectiveness of economic aid, drawing upon a range of economic, political and moral arguments to make their cases. William argued for what he called a ‘nuanced’ position, claiming that although aid could be wasted as a result of corruption, when there was sufficient stability, and with the help of bilateral agreements between the countries giving and receiving aid, the money could be used to help bring about necessary infrastructure, education or healthcare reform, which otherwise would have been impossible.
Drawing upon arguments from a range of Nobel prize winners, Alex argued that the reality of the situation was that aid was typically given for political and economic reasons, meaning that the country receiving aid was often trapped into agreements that worked in favour of the country donating rather than the country receiving that aid. Alex also argued that aid undermined the accountability of a government to its people, and put short-term projects over long-term sustainable growth.
Our visiting expert, Dr Palash Kamruzzaman from the University of Bath, then presented his own responses to their papers. He judged William and Alex to have drawn, and awarded Jack McClure the award for the best question asked from the floor, who asked, “How does economic aid help a country to grow its local businesses rather than just pumping money into public sector jobs that can only be sustained through more aid?"
The evening ended with a wine and cheese tasting event, in which students were challenged to distinguish between Cheddar, Manchego and Parmigiano-Reggiano!