Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business by by Graham Hancock (1989)

In this well researched book, the author offers the unfortunate conclusion, that government monies spent on foreign aid are mostly wasted, bringing no help and relief to people in need. While private charities fare better (as they are accountable to their donors), the various agencies of the United Nations exemplify the bureaucratic waste of (to large extent USA) taxpayer funds. The self pampering, special foreign compounds, first class air travel, high salaries and various perks are out-of-this-world (in particular when compared to the literally starving population in many cases a few hours of ride away). These bureaucrats offer no measurable improvements, and might have the self serving goal of perpetuating poverty, as a mean of keeping themselves employed (as no other reputable organization would be interested in their antiquated or simply non-existent skills). The WorldBank/IMF are also not faring any better, as although many of their projects are actually accomplished, they are of poor quality in most cases (and the cause for various environmental problems and disasters) and definitely not in-line with the needs and wants of the locals of whom they would be interested in serving. In many cases, clearly despotic regimes are funded and helped with these funds. As the U.N. is also an excellent example of "taxation without representation", is it time to abolish the United Nations?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your book brings into focus what most established journalist have feared to bring to light. I have never come across any development project that is sustainable. This is despite being included in all project proposal. Instead development funded projects have perpetuated the situation.

Thank you for your bold book