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Give And Take: What's the Matter with Foreign Aid?: David Sogge: stapelholm.info: Books

The book Give and Take: What's the Matter with Foreign Aid, David Sogge is published by Zed Books. Book review: Give and Take. David Sogge at Transnational Institute .. Towards balance to aid relationships: donor performance monitoring. Request PDF on ResearchGate | Give and Take. What's the Matter with Foreign Publisher: Zed Books. David Sogge at Transnational Institute.

China and Vietnam reduced poverty significantly with almost no Western aid, while aid-dependent countries like Malawi and Timor-Leste have fared badly—in which case why does the aid industry keep on prospering? To answer that question we have to look at the drivers and navigation systems at work upstream in the system where the captains of the aid industry confer.

These drivers get little serious probing, but the knowledge we do have points to an inconvenient truth: The aid system colludes in redistributing wealth from poorer to richer. Under an aura of beneficence, aid is harnessed to self-interest. To buy goodwill from others or coerce them, aid provides a classic tool of statecraft.

Boosting exports and investments are major objectives of aid providers. A scholarly consensus, backed by many studiesholds that the mercantile interests of aid givers usually enjoy priority over the interests of aid recipients.

For donors the pay-offs are many. In the longer run, as goodwill and force of habit take hold, aid-induced sales then become even more lucrative. In the periodeach dollar in Western bilateral aid yielded 2.

Donors use aid to gain footholds for their industries, like Japanese fishing fleets in the South Pacific, French uranium mining in Niger and oil and gas companies in emerging producers of hydrocarbons.

Aid providers work assiduously to lower costs and risks for their business investors using subsidies like low-cost loans, insurance and market advice. In recipient countries they add to physical infrastructure and occasionally skilled-up workforces.

The formulas are well-rehearsed: With the rise of financial sector power, donors have facilitated the growth of stock markets and hot money flows.

Key to these investor-friendly climates has been austerity—driving down public spending in recipient countries. But because rich country tax laws allow firms to hide profits, these World Bank data may actually understate the true scale of extraction. Under vigorous donor pressurepoorer countries have poured trillions of dollars into Western banks under a rationale of self-insurance. As the economist C.

The inconvenient truth about foreign aid | openDemocracy

Outwardly an industry for socio-economic development, foreign aid is at deeper levels a political regime. Public knowledge of foreign aid is distorted by smoke and mirrors. Transfers are in fact much smaller than official data would suggest. Hence, at no risk to themselves, aid lenders have been making tidy profits from cash-strapped countries like Turkey, Peru and Argentina.

More importantly, aid is dwarfed by flows in the other direction: The financier-philanthropist George Soros sees the transfer of capital from the periphery to the center as a major trend of globalization. It is the poor who aid the rich. The system allows Americans to consume a lot more than they produce. What the rich take far surpasses what they give. The aid industry distracts attention from such shameful realities. Setting the line of march from the s and s have been two twinned bodies, the IMF and World Bank.

By the late s national aid agencies from Japan to Scandinavia, and those under the umbrella of the United Nations, had fallen into line. Aid industry leaders have insisted that the laws of economics are like the laws of engineering, and that there is no alternative to their one-size-fits-all policy. Discussion was thus pointless.

Dissent within the industry was, and still is punished. Accountability, transparency and responsiveness to those at receiving ends have, however, slowly risen on aid system agendas, thanks chiefly to vigorous public protest. Mercantile and geo-political interests are never far from the surface of humanitarian and development talk in which aid is packaged. But the mix of motives is also complex at receiving ends.

There, those in positions to do so have rapidly learned how to join the parade. Most will jump, shrewdly and never unconditionally, onto whatever aid policy bandwagon is passing at the moment. Meanwhile far larger flows in the hands of licit and illicit business people and powerful ideological currents are at play. Incoherence between Western aid policy and commercial and political practices has stymied achievement of even the least disputed policy aim, economic growth.

Give & Take. What's the Matter with Foreign Aid? | David Sogge - stapelholm.info

At both providing and receiving ends, the prospects for coherence seem less certain than ever. Aid Chains To convey its ideas, money, goods and services to its distant targets, foreign aid relies on many other bodies arranged in complex hierarchies. These are aid chains. The book analyses growth and dynamics of chains at their upper ends, where ministries, official agencies, banks, quangos, non-profits, consulting firms, and private firms collaborate and compete.

It further probes the lower ends, where government authorities at various levels, non-governmental bodies, private firms and assorted citizens may — where they have not been by-passed by special units set up by donors -- capture some aid resources coming down the chain. Aid chains may be logically needed to bridge vast social and geographical distances.

Give and Take

They also stem from drives to privatize and contract out tasks that were once in the public sector. Yet there is little evidence that they provide value for money -- and chains can absorb a lot of money. What aid chains often do, however, is to shift power and responsibility upwards and outwards to donors and lenders. The chains usurp recipient authorities of rights and responsibilities that should properly be theirs. No one can thus be held to account if things go wrong. For most of the past two decades, moreover, aid-driven doctrine has insisted on shrinking the public sector and its services.

These measures drive wedges between citizens and government, reduce tax effort and undercut state legitimacy. Public order becomes fragile, and often breaks. Liberia and Somalia were once big aid recipients; they are now states of disorder.

Mindful of such risks of collapse and disturbed by non-compliance with conditions attached to hundreds of loans, the aid system took on more explicitly political tasks in the s: Such newfound commitments clash with older norms of non-transparency and coercive paternalism.

Give and Take: What's the Matter with Foreign Aid?

Democratic deficits may no longer be shrugged off as unfortunate side effects, but they remain deep and wide. Give and Take offers a sampler of cases, noting how strategic grant-making has shaped paradigms, the public policies nested in them, and the debates about those policies. Seeking the supreme instrument of control — the power to define the alternatives -- the World Bank is positioning itself as a planetary think-tank.

Outcomes Attributing outcomes to aid efforts is not straightforward. The book nevertheless tries to capture major outcomes across four dimensions: