Ack!, on this subject, a reading recommend is order : An empire wilderness : travels into America's future by Robert D. Kaplan...the point being without major international readjustment, this planet will be a very shite place for about six billion really pissed-off marginalized people. If you think that's not the West's most looming security issue, you're daft.

"Give me one good reason why any developing nation should get billions of dollars of freebies because they're poor? Maybe you should ask the military juntas that rule there."

...political corruption is a major setback for developing nations. Harsh as is it to say, most of the world is not yet ready for democracy or capitalism, yet both are being thrust upon every corner of the globe, through foreign aid and foreign direct investment. Free trade is accelerating that trend, despite that fact that (according to the 1998 UN Human Development Report) the world's richest 20% of the population garner 82.7% of the world's income, while the world's poorest 20% gets 1.4% of the world's income.

"Given the massive amount of free aid that the world has shoveled into developing nations, you would expect at least some industrial development. Look around in Africa. All industries are owned by foreign investors. Probably because the local people have no incentives, due to a plethora of reasons, from oppressive regime to social problems."

In order for local development to flourish, you have to establish an stable economic infrastructure…to do that you need a wide skill and knowledge base…to do that means you need wide-spread education…to do that means you need a fair and balanced media and grass-roots literacy. Other wise, you just get more poverty, more wasted resources, more corrupt leadership taking the rest of the population for a ride.

"Compare that to China, which is still a "developing nation" (as classified by the WTO), but where over 80% of industry is locally owned…China, not exactly the most democratic country on Earth, is doing well. Just last year, they imported hundreds of billions of dollars of American goods. And yet, they still have a trade surplus with America.."

...yet even in China the gap of rich to poor is swelling, hell, even in the USA between the mid-70s & the late 80s, this trend has gotten even more medieval, with the average real income of the top 1% of families rising by 78% while the bottom 20% of earning families' wages decreased by 10.4% - the current development process is just speeding up the widening gap.

"The problem is obviously not this crap about imperialism and capitalism, but plainly domestic problems. Debt is imminent. No company or nation starts off without incurring debt. Breaking even takes years, even decades, especially for a nation. You cannot weep to other nations about your debt and expect freebies."

Breaking even, development in other words, actually took the West centuries. The industrial revolution started in the late 1700s and didn't come full circle until now 200 years later. Yet organizations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund expect results in terms of months. That's insane. The same goes for democracy, meaning universal suffrage and human rights, which have been in place for less than a century anywhere in the world. It took even longer, and outgrowth of the Western Enlightenment, almost 300 years…

"Tossing money into a troubled nation and expecting returns is completely futile. Canceling foreign debt will result in more debt. I'm sure the African dictators love the free foreign money. Look where North Korea shoveled their aid to? Their nuclear program, that's what."

...foreign aid never has been or should be about 'expecting returns', this is humanitarian development, it's supposed to make the world more stable and sane. It's not day trading man, it's just humane, and to conflate the two is wacked. But you're also very right about the waste, the misuse of the money has to stop, because otherwise the planet and most of the people on it are in for a nasty next century.