I'd like to add something...
Democracy, free trade, human rights--these are things that we westerners feel could benefit third world countries. So, we go over there, we mess around, maybe topple a dictator or two, and tell people "Ok, you're a democracy. VOTE!", or "Here's some much needed money--now get to work!".
True social reform does. not. work. this. way. It must be internal. It must be an interior revolution.
Example: My husband tells us of how the last Pakistani dictator was dethroned, and there ushered in the period of 'democracy'! The west was thrilled. Sanctions were dropped. They had the approval of the 'big kids on the block'.
Do you know how Pakistani democracy works? My mother-in-law worked at the voting booths. Men would come with guns, hold them to her head, and take as many votes as they wanted. The elected politicians worked like the mafia. Using money to buy votes, and force to take them. They took percentages of business-owners' profits, as their 'tribute'. The police are paid by these politicans. There is no place for decent, hard-working people to turn if they are looted by the powers that be. No court. No law. They are OWNED by their government. Money that was given to the government from the U.S. never reached the 'people'. While millions of people work their butts off for $1.00 a day, a small percentage live in PALACES. I have met these people. They have more money than GOD. It is fuedalism, folks...only wearing a disguise of democracy. The wealthy have homes in Switzerland, I have friends who have over $100,000 worth of jewlery, just given to them at their weddings. Meanwhile, there are people so desperate in that country, they will break their child's arm, and put them out on a street to beg, because they get more money if the kid is wounded. Families of 8 live in one room.
If you'll look at this link, it explains the situation in more academic terms:
Just because we have some happy-go-lucky ideal that we are improving the world don't make it so.
Again, I am not opposed to helping out other countries. Ideally, free trade is good. So is democracy. But we are not dealing with individuals. We deal with officials, politicians, and business men. If they are corrupt, it will F**K up the whole system.
I think there should be international standards that have to be adhered to. Business sanctions can be placed on countries that refuse, say, to pay a minimum wage, or give x amount of sick days, or something.
Free Trade implies an exchange of equals. Money for labor. But labor is not all we take. We take health, and happiness--if a family has to work 12 hour shifts 5 days a week--sure they are making money--but how is that improving their lives?