28 August 2009

More ranting about aid

This is going to sound a bit schizophrenic after my rubbishing of the sideshow the other week, but seriously, if we're going to do aid at all, then lets do it properly ey? Talking about sustainability in general terms, and training in specific terms, is one thing, but exit strategies and handovers? In a country 4 years out of war? Probably one of the poorest countries in the world?

Who are these people?

I'm with Owen Barder on this one, the cult of sustainability hides the fact that the poorest countries are going to be needing support for a long long time. And that is fine. But lets be realistic about it, acknowledge that capacity building takes longer than a 3-year project, and that as a matter of social justice rather than charity THE POOREST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD probably deserve some support for at least the next 50 years.

Secondly, on community participation. Fine, ask around, make sure that your intervention isn't completely stupid. But expecting voluntary contributions for public services????!!!!?!!!!


Because community contributions is how we finance local public services in Britain isn't it? Why bother with coercive taxation to solve the collective-action problem inherent in public good provision when we can just spout some patronising nonsense about communities. Reminds me of a C4 TV show which took a bunch of hard-nosed capitalist self-made millionaires to work on a project in an African village. The millionaires were then surprised that the lazy villagers weren't willing to donate their free-time to build some kind of community centre. Did the millionaires get rich through community participation? Or through relentlessly pursuing their own self-interest?


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