I just finished reading this, and while I could probably write a very long reaction to the book, here are my major comments/questions (which I would love to get feedback on from others, especially those who have also read Dead Aid).
- I agree with the overall concept of government-to-government aid being a bad thing for development and the future of Africa, because yes, it is often just perpetuating a cycle of corruption and malfeasance. But…
- I’m wary of the extremely pro-free market attitude. I’m not saying free markets are bad, just that I refuse to drink the kool-aid that so many have. It does briefly address the issue of subsidies in the US and Europe (i.e., “it’s not really a free market!”), and yes it’s a complicated subject that entire books have been written on, but I think part of the reason it’s not really a free market and level playing field ties into my next concern…
- Corporations. How do they really play into Africa’s current state? Is development of Africa really in a corporations best interest? I mean, think about it — depending on the corporation, they may already be getting rich off of the corruption that is endemic to specific regions, governments, etc. Why would they want that to change? War is big business. The lack of effective legal systems, bureaucracies, regulations, etc., is a huge boon to some corporations. Never mind the human rights abuses, environmental degradation, and so on, that corporations would likely bring to the country (or have already brought).
- Human rights. For example, business deals in Sudan and essentially financing a regime that has committed genocide and been indicted by the ICC. Yes, aid also often does this, but lets look at why this is happening — yeah, money. Government aid, private financing… you’ll end up with the same result when you have greedy people involved. And this is just the tip of the human rights iceberg. Yes, the book briefly touched on this, but I feel it was a little too briefly without really considering the very real consequences.
So I agree with the initial premise, but not necessarily the proposed solution. I don’t necessarily have an alternative solution… but I feel my concerns are definitely legit.
So, anyone else who’s read Dead Aid, what did you think of it?