September, 2008

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies? Aiding the World's Worst Dictators - Working Paper

  • Christopher Coyne

    Associate Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Matt E. Ryan

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Despite rhetoric supporting liberal values and institutions, the governments of developed countries provide continued development and military assistance to the world's worst dictators.  This aid sustains the status quo and imposes significant costs on ordinary citizens.  This paper reviews the foreign aid provided to the worst living dictators.  We consider arguments for the continued provision of aid as well as reasons why aid fails to improve the situations in countries ruled by these dictators.  The main conclusion is that if the goal of developed countries is to foster liberal economic, political and social institutions abroad, they should cease providing aid to the world's worst dictators.