We'll be using 1995 data from an irreputable source, because it came in the prettiest format and actual data is for illustration purposes only.
There are 131 countries in the World. Sorted by GDP/Population, the half-way point is around 0.4, which equals an average annual income of US$1400. So lets arbitrarily denote this the dividing line between the 1st/2nd (hereafter referred to as just "1st World") and 3rd World. It should be noted that 91.2% of the world's GDP is produced by the top half.
So anyway, the meat of my proposal is that we formalise International Aid like so:
Rather than throwing aid money around randomly 1st World countries "adopt" (are assigned to) 3rd World countries on a "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" basis. Thereafter, the adopting country is responsible for the economic well-being of only their adopted countries and can ignore the humanitarian concerns of the rest. My hope is that this scheme will have two benefits:
- The citizens of the 1st World country will feel more involved in the International Aid process and be able to identify with the actions of their charity. Travel between attached countries will increase so that citizens could share knowledge and culture. It would become popular for people of the adopting country to donate labour in their adopted countries. In essence, it would make International Aid hip.
- Countries will become competitive and hold adopting countries responsible for the welfare of their adoptees. Assistance will become a source of patriotism and excellence in aid will win a country international respect. On the other hand, countries that neglect their wards will be the target of trade sanctions and will loose their impact in treaty negotiations.
Now as for the actual division, this should probably be worked out by economists, but because it's fun I'll propose a method: each country takes their percentage of the 1st World's GDP and multiplies it by the number of countries needing aid. So using my data the US has 27.8% of the the GDP, which is 30.5% of the 1st World's; multiplying that by 67 (131 / 2) we find that they are obliged to adopt 20.4 countries. The fractional countries means that they can partner up with countries with smaller obligations (while Bush is el Presidente, Mexico, required to adopt 0.6 countries, would be a good choice).
As for choosing which countries, there are many methods that could be used. If this aid distribution system starts out highly competitive, then countries could bid on adoptions; for example: Jamaica is an amateur fixer-upper while Mozambique will require some leet skillz. But it would probably make the most sense to come to a consensus based on countries with something in common. For example: if the US divides their share by states, Louisiana would probably want to take Haiti; Canada might choose a francophone Atlantic country and something in the Pacific Rim.
The International Aid actually given would be decided by the countries involved. Although at first I figured some countries, such as China, would opt-out, I realised that every country could use something. For example: China might only ask for ESL instructors and university teachers. And some countries without much financial resources to give, may still be able to offer advice government advice; for example: what is it that makes Namibia and Botswana haves but Zimbabwe a have nots?
Ultimately, I hope that this method will not only lead to accountability and interest in International Aid, but will lead to more creativity and experimentation than the current IMF-oriented system. It would certainly make the debate over 3rd World debt reduction passe.