Last time I divided the social security budget (£207bn) by the number of people in poverty (13m), the figure of almost £16,000 was higher than the income of over half the population.So why are they still poor? Simple - because the £207,000,000,000 of spending is mainly used to increase the income of middle-class Guardian-reading State workers who work tirelessly to alleviate poverty. The one form of poverty alleviation they will not suggest, though, is to stop spending so much money on eye-catching poverty initiatives, cut taxes accordingly, and let the private sector grow and provide employment to the poor.
The same applies to third world aid. According to the Carswell book, the West has spent over a trillion pounds on third world aid. However, so far as I can tell, Africa still seems to be poor. On any assessment, therefore, our aid hasn't worked. As Carswell suggests, why not stop spending all that money and instead drop tariffs and trade barriers by a corresponding amount? Because, of course, the aid budget is about keeping middle-class DfID staff in a salary, not about helping the poor.