The Role of Investment Abroad

When a rich man does business with a poor man, the rich man usually has an advantage, so their agreement tends to be weighted in the rich man's favor. If a poor man needs a job, he may (or may not) have to take what he can get on the rich man's terms. As we have seen in the case of trade, dealings between rich and poor persons often have their counterpart in dealings between rich and poor nations. What is said about trade applies also to corporate investment abroad: It can either assist in the struggle against hunger, or it can do the opposite.

Like trade, international investment is not seen by the public as a hunger issue, but does much to determine who eats well and who dies. Poor countries depend partly on foreign investments for the capital and technology that growing economies require. Without growing economies their people have little hope of escaping hunger.

To cite one critical example, jobs are at stake. Today in the poor countries unemployment is soaring. People enter the job market not only in unprecedented numbers, but at a rate about five times faster than that which today's rich countries usually experienced when they were at comparable stages of development. No wonder, then, that in an Indicative World Plan the UN Food and Agriculture Organization calls the problem of employment "far more intractable than that of food supply" in reducing world hunger. Poor countries need foreign investments to generate jobs.


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