Income inequality is rife throughout the world. In 2015, the average gross domestic product (GDP) of all countries in the world was USD$15,800. Luxembourg has the highest per capita GDP with approximately USD$103,000 as compared to places like Sudan and Liberia with USD$233 and USD$480 respectively. The wealthier, benevolent nations should and have been providing aid to the poorer nations. This practice is appropriate for an array of reasons.
Poor nations tend to be breeding grounds for crime and terrorism. Places like Afghanistan have seen terrorist groups flourish. Terrorism is a global issue and it affects all nations globally. There is every motivation for the richer nations like the US to step in to try to eliminate terrorism in poorer nations. Al Qaeda was responsible for the September 11, 2011 attacks on the Twin Towers on American soil, killing 2996 people in total. Al Qaeda was allowed to grow in Afghanistan because the Afghan government did not have the financial and military might to prevent terror cells from forming. Moreover, extremist ideology breeds well in places with poor economic growth and high levels of poverty. People in poor nations may not have jobs and may have problems fulfilling their basic needs. These people are ideal candidates for extremist ideology to be indoctrinated. Thus the only way to prevent terror attacks from happening would be to stop terror cells from forming. The rich nations should help the poor nations to grow economically so that their citizens will be better off. This would make it more difficult for terrorists to indoctrinate the masses.
Having wealthier neighbours will also help to spur local economic growth. This is the reason why richer nations are keen to help their less wealthy neighbours. Cross-border travel is very common and often citizens from neighbouring countries will work and buy things from each other. If the surrounding nations are rich, there would be more high-value trade between both countries. For example, the top purchasers of Singapore property are Malaysians. This is even more profound when Malaysia is doing well economically. A wealthier country would mean a correspondingly higher level of education among its citizens. Richer nations depend on foreign labour and it is to their benefit to help their poorer neighbours improve their education standard.
Richer nations should help poorer nations for diplomacy. Rich nations depend on poorer nations as well. For example, nations like Singapore depend on its neighbours like Thailand and Malaysia for food and water supplies. Helping these nations improve relationships and thus facilitates trade. Relying on poorer nations for things like food supplies allows rich nations to focus on higher value sectors of the economy like banking and legal and accounting services. This mutually benefits both the rich and poor nation. Thus it would be in the best interest of the rich nations to help the poor nation.
However, too much help may be a bad thing. It is widely acknowledged that giving handouts is not a good solution for poverty. Receiving handouts may cause poorer nations to develop a reliance on these handouts. The poorer nations may see these handouts as a solution for their problems. Help cannot be rendered unconditionally as nations may lose the incentive to develop long-term solutions to their problems. Instead, help should be given with conditions or the help rendered should be targeted at fostering self-reliance. A good example would be the Americans setting up factories in Japan and teaching them how to develop their motorcar industry after the Second World War. Japan’s resulting rise as an economic superpower is a testament to this thesis.
Generally, rich nations should help their poorer counterparts. Especially neighbouring countries. However, the help should be directed to fostering long-term self-sustainable growth. The poorer nations should also have the mindset of wanting to become self-reliant.