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RICH & POOR

Dialogue:______read aloud in pairs

A: What kind of help do you think rich countries should contribute to the Third World?

 

B: Well, there's no doubt that a proper understanding of their problems is

needed before we can go much further.

 

A: Surely, there are immediate things like food aid to countries hit by drought and famine.

 

B: Yes, but you have to be very careful not to kill off local agriculture by

dumping great quantities of free food and under-pricing the farmers. We really need

to give Third World countries the means to solve their own problems.

 

A: How do you do that?

 

B: Well, firstly we need to take an interest in developing countries instead of just

competing with rich countries. I strongly believe in preventing problems before they

happen. In much the same way as the Japanese prepare for earthquakes, countries

with dry climates could have water catchment systems and reservoirs to defend

against water shortage.

 

A: But how do we persuade the governments of these countries to take these

preventative measures rather than spending all their budgets on armaments?

 

B: Could I suggest that we stop trying to sell them arms. In the past, we have

used many of these countries for our own short-term needs, but we don't have to go on

doing so.

 

A: Then what form of aid would you recommend?

 

B: I was just coming to that. There are some very good agencies that recruit

volunteers to work on projects in rural communities. They can direct skilled people

and material resources to where they are needed. They don't have to get involved

with military projects. They can send skilled volunteers into schools and hospitals to

train local people to take their places after a number of years.

 

A: But, isn't there a danger that the schools and hospitals will always be staffed

by foreigners? When you have successfully trained local people, they usually emigrate

to countries where they are paid much higher salaries.

 

B: There's always a risk of that. Projects have to be carefully thought out. You'd

naturally try to select trainees with some commitment to their country. Anyway, it isn't

such a bad thing to have dedicated volunteers working in the field. They can specify

what equipment is lacking and this could either be supplied by donor countries or

manufactured locally.