Taking from development aid is about values, not a lack of resources

In recent weeks, several aid organizations have protested that the government wants to take more money from the aid to finance refugee reception. They have pointed out that the government pits poor people against each other. But that's not what it's about. It is about which society we want, writes the former aid worker Kajsa Johansson.

When I went to school, I learned that the best way to criticize something (the World Bank in that case) is to question why they do not do what they themselves are told to do. It then becomes secondary whether I think that what the World Bank says they should do is good or not, I just want to be sure that they do what they say they should do. And so it is with demanding responsibility in politics, we expect that we will be able to demand from politicians that they do what they say they should do.

The development assistance budget has become at the center of the political debate due to the government's announcement that more than half of the development assistance budget could be used to cover the costs of receiving refugees in Sweden. Many of us think that this is a strange exercise, to say the least, as it appears that Sweden's state budget consists of only one budget line; assistance. And in view of the fact that it is the only line, it is only from this that resources can come to guarantee people's universal right to seek asylum.

It's about values

The crux, however, is not a wave with the people of the recipient countries in one bowl, and people forced to flee in the other. The dilemma, like all other policies, is about priorities based on values. Values ​​about human value, about the equal value of human beings. For what do the two, development aid and the right to asylum, really have in common in this context, apart from the fact that they constitute activities that do not affect Swedish citizens?

A lot of bullshit and untruths circulate on social media, but sometimes a few simple lines appear that seem to have come further in thought than the government itself's knowledge of its own budget. The priest and satirist Kent Wisti published a couple of days ago two pictures with the texts:

“If we do not close the borders immediately, we risk that the Christmas trade will not break the sales record for the 14th year in a row. We may not even reach 75 billion. ”

"If we do not close the borders now, we could end up in a situation where we can no longer afford to buy Per Moberg's cutting board for SEK 4000."

Now perhaps the friend of order objects that this is to compare apples and pears; missed Christmas shopping in general or cutting boards more specifically are not directly linked to available resources for asylum seekers. But that's really what they are, isn't it? Because it's about the society we create and live in; about priorities based on values. About what is considered reasonable in this society. In the current debate, it has somehow become quite reasonable to say that the only source from which resources for refugees' right to asylum can be taken is development assistance. While it is completely unreasonable to, for example, question a Christmas deal for 75 billion.

The parties do not do what they promise

We return to the question of our government's values ​​and put them in the light of the first lines of this text. This begs the question: what exactly do the Social Democrats and the Green Party say they stand for? On the Social Democrats' website, under the tab "Internationally"We meet by the headline" A fair world is possible ", followed by the lines: “We Social Democrats want Sweden to make a difference in the world. We know that a just world is possible. What is needed is more international cooperation and more solidarity. We believe in the equal right and value of all human beings. And we believe in the possibilities of increasing justice and in distributing the wealth of the earth so that it benefits all people. ”

The Green Party writes in its party program that the EU's refugee policy with its walls towards the world must change. In short, one sentence reads "No human being is illegal", and it is emphasized that people's right to have their grounds for asylum tried must be ensured. Furthermore, the party writes that it Puts international law and human rights at the center. Domestic and foreign policy must be based on the same values. The rights we work for in our part of the world are universal. On a single earth with limited resources, we are interdependent and have a shared responsibility. It requires an equalization and a fair distribution of the earth's resources. The economic, social and cultural rights of poor people must be respected. "

It is a bit of a mystery how the two governing parties, with the above-mentioned values ​​and programs behind them, think that the settlements from development aid are reasonable. Because they are talking about justice, solidarity, the equal value of all and, not least in this context, that this requires a redistribution of the earth's resources. However, the assessment of the redistribution of the earth's resources does not seem to be given any real political significance now that the shoe is squeezing. If they do not mean redistribution from poor to refugees, which seems unreasonable (even in this context).

Goes against their own values

It is poor to base the reasonableness on this unreasonableness (or, as UNDP Deputy Chief of Staff Michael O'Neil called it during his recent visit to Sweden, "false economy”) In that the OECD allows the settlements. Neither the Green Party nor the Social Democrats have a firearm in their programs that in cases where the OECD (or other international association of various kinds) allows another line, it is this, and not the party's own programs and values, that apply. Is that how they think that "Sweden should make a difference in the world" - by going under what Pierre Schori called the limit of shame? And what difference is there when we thought we should do in the world?

I venture to another image reference, this time depicting a Monopoly game board with the text "You can tell that Monopoly is an old game because there is luxury tax and rich people can go to jail". Like Wisti's lines, this appears to be a more advanced idea than the ongoing budget discussion. There, it seems rather that the Social Democrats and the Green Party have bought an agenda and are unable to change it; to, so to speak, change the game plan (in accordance with what they say and write that they should do) and, for example, discuss the annual tax cuts of 140 billion carried out by the Alliance. This money is somewhere.

I first wrote "somewhere in Sweden" there is this money, but that may not be the case. What if instead it was the cost of tax evasion that was discussed as a possible financier for the refugee reception? But that is of course not reasonable.

Kajsa Johansson

This is a debate article. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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