Before long the poor countries may literally be giving economic aid to the rich ones. Many argue that this already takes place through transfers of raw material and manufactured goods, though not yet in money flows. In 1971 the overall balance of payments (which includes trade and investment flows) for the underdeveloped countries gave them a surplus of $3.5 billion--but only $1.1 billion excluding the oil-producing countries. According to the 1972 annual report of the World Bank, the net gain in official and officially guaranteed loans and grants (new loans and grants minus repayments) from rich nations rose marginally from $4.9 billion in 1965 to $5.3 billion in 1970, but in real value those transfers declined about 10 to 15 percent because of rising costs for goods and services. In addition population growth decreased the per capita value to recipient nations another 13 percent. The direction of aid is downward.
As public debts soar for the underdeveloped countries--the 1961 figure of $21 billion had quadrupled by 1973--repayments also rise: they were $4 billion in