Should developing countries help less developed countries?

I have been participating in USAID’s Global Pulse 2010 online worldwide collaboration of minds for the next 24 hours (the event has been going for two days now) with individuals who have been invited to share their perspectives on global social issues, entrepreneurship and development.  The thread I’m keen on is Pursuing Grand Challenges defined as:

No one person or nation can solve today’s problems alone. How can we collectively identify grand challenges and apply science, technology, and new collaboration models to address them?  Over the next decade, what do you see as the biggest challenges the international community faces? These could be anything from global health to internet freedom/security to improving urban infrastructure. How can we work together to both build collaboration models that address these challenges and create concrete solutions to them?

The current relationship between economically have countries (Canada, USA, western Europe) and poor countries is not great. We would expect that in the current Global Era, with better and cheaper ways of communications, these relationships would improve – but in reality it is deteriorating. I do not think the problem is failure of foreign policy. The real problem is Expectation Gap – what is each partner expecting from the other? Are these expectations based on reality? How can we abolish this gap?

Pot-stirrer that I am, I posted this to the community:

Perhaps the real question is: what should be the engagement between rich and poor countries? Should economically rich countries even be active in development – and in what ways? There are many options for engagement – foreign policy, micro-finance, technology sharing and so on, but to me the question becomes one of philosophy rather than pragmatism. Should we be there? Why? Should we not take care of social problems in our own country first before we head off to save the world? And, point of clarification, we are all “developing” countries to some extent, are we not?

Should we “developed countries” assist “developing coutries” and if so, how?  Do we have the right?  Morally or ethically? What do you think?

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