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Christina Jordan (269)

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Reading List: our (Dysfunctional/Changing) Global Aid Systems

Posted to: Christina Jordan (269) by Christina Jordan (269), Tue, 24 Mar 2009 10:39:45 PST
Edited: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 10:41:14 PST
Feedback score: 1 (*) +|-
Comments: 12 by 5 members
Viewed: 62 times by 8 members

I have recently been putting the pieces of a PhD proposal together. One of the things I would like to include is a current review of the literature about the state of our global development aid systems.

I'd love to hear about any worthwhile titles you may have either read personally or heard about within the past 5-10 years, that touch at all on the state of global aid and/or policy effectiveness in the developing world. Anything you might come across about the impact of new media on development would also be a very welcome addition.

Thanks for your input!



By Christina Jordan (269), Tue, 24 Mar 2009 10:47:33 PST
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Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo

Africa in Chaos and Africa Unchained, George Ayittey


By Christina Jordan (269), Tue, 24 Mar 2009 10:52:51 PST
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Africa Betrayed, also by George Ayittey


By Christina Jordan (269), Tue, 24 Mar 2009 11:09:51 PST
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Anyone read any of these?

The Trouble with Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn't Working, Robert Calderisi

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

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It, Paul Collier

The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, William Easterly

The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics, William Easterly

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time, Jeffrey Sachs

Development as Freedom, Amartya Sen

The Mystery of Capital, Hernando DeSoto

A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, Gregory Clark

Making Globalization Work, Joseph Stiglitz

Globalization and it's discontents, Joseph Stiglitz

In Defense of Globalization, Jagdish Baghwati


By Christina Jordan (269), Tue, 24 Mar 2009 14:57:33 PST
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Digital Divide: Civic Engagement, Information Poverty, and the Internet Worldwide, Pippa Norris

Disconnected: Haves and Have-Nots in the Information Age, William Wresch

The Digital Divide: Facing a Crisis or Creating a Myth?, Benjamin M. Compaine

Inequality.com: Money, Power and the Digital Divide, David Stevens

Internet Politics: States, Citizens, and New Communication Technologies, Andrew Chadwick

The Rise of the Network Society: The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture (Vol1), Manuel Castells

The Power of Identity: The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture (Vol2), Manuel Castells

Cyberactivism: Online Activism in Theory and Practice, McCaughey

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, Seth Godin

Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail, Paul Polak


By David Bale (146), Tue, 24 Mar 2009 14:57:39 PST
Comment feedback score: 1 (*) +|-

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

Hi, Christina, I read this recently. It feels rather like ancient history now: it must be around 20 years old. So in one sense it was clearly ahead of its time in describing how international aid confers power and like all power it has a tendency to corrupt. I get the impression that expectations of accountability have risen over the past twenty years but that the systemic flaws in all top-down aid programmes are as just evident as ever.

It often lumps together governmental and non-governmental aid and brands both as exploitative and self-serving in their effects. It seems to disregard the positive role played by smaller, grassroots charities and, to be fair, there may now be overall higher standards in supervising all projects (larger as well as smaller) than at the time Graham Hancock was writing. Nevertheless, while the key message was well directed and highly explosive at the time, it now seems to me to be a rather unsatisfactory blend of powerful journalism and less than convincing research (i.e. I'm suspicious of over-selective statistics based on unverifiable detail).

I cannot claim much personal scholarship in the field of social science, but I would have found a more scholarly account than Graham Hancock provides more persuasive. But then again, as a piece of journalism it attracted a lot more attention and focused it on some very real flaws in our thinking abour overseas aid, many of which still remain unremedied.


By Linda Nowakowski (230), Tue, 24 Mar 2009 16:00:28 PST
Edited: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 16:01:37 PST
Comment feedback score: 1 (*) +|-

Essen, Juliana. 2005. Right Development:The Santi Asoke Buddhist Reform Movement of Thailand. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Easterly, William. 2001. The Elusive Quest for Growth. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press**.

EDIT: I KNEW as soon as I hit save I should have hit preview.


By John Powers (139), Tue, 24 Mar 2009 17:31:33 PST
Comment feedback score: 1 (*) +|-

Green, Duncan. From Poverty to Power: How Active Citizens and Effective States Can Change the World. Oxford: Oxfam Publishing, 2008.

Rodale, Robert & McGrath, Mike. Save Three Lives: A Plan for Famine Prevention. San Fransisco: Sierra Club Books, 1991.

Bard, Alexander & Soderqvist, Jan. Netocracy: the new power elite and life after capitalism. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press, 2002.


By Christina Jordan (269), Tue, 24 Mar 2009 21:54:18 PST
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thank you all! keep it coming if you think of/come across anything else.

David, I really appreciate the input on Lords of Poverty.


By John Powers (139), Thu, 26 Mar 2009 10:07:54 PST
Comment feedback score: 1 (*) +|-

Only 1 of my suggestions makes any sense--Duncan Green's book-- for what you're asking for. I'll tell you why I posted (hastily) the other 2. I was very happy to see your listings about cyberactivism. Rodale's book is pre-Internet and not a scholarly piece, nevertheless the argument for a small-is-beautiful and an empowerment sort of aid is a beautiful example of how a simple but nuanced argument can be made accessible to ordinary people--thinking here of Americans. His approach fits easily with today's Internet world.

I have not read Netocracy and from what I understand the translation is buggered and the arguments in the book not always carefully drawn. Nevertheless, I've been very impressed with the way that Phil Jones has used the construct of netocracy to examine current events as diverse as Facebook and AIG bonuses. His page about the book at his wiki is worth looking at.

In any case the way in which we are networked through ICT changes things for both better and worse. A scholarly view of these changes seems essential. The whole 4G warfare approach, especially John Robb gets into this. When Robb looks at how to cope with terrorism and organized crime empowered by communication technologies, his prescription is resilient communities. This is quite relevant for development because it makes what we in the developed world need to do not so different from the development in poor countries.

Hum, since I'm way off topic here already, I'll continue. Something that would scare me off of graduate school are the various strains of post modernism. I'm not very good with the lingo and the cast of characters. Here is a theory map I found the other day which you may find a handy reference to print out. Even if you don't go down the media road, I suspect you'll have no choice but to be conversant, and this map sure seems handy to me.

David Roodman reviews Dambisa Moyo's book at the Center for Global Development Web site. So that is a kind of two-fer. The Internet is becoming a place to find serious research on the topic of development. You probably already know Sociolingo's Africa but if not it's a really valuable resource.


By Christina Jordan (269), Thu, 09 Apr 2009 11:05:19 PDT
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Richard Douthwaite, The Growth Illusion: How economic growth has enriched the few, impoverished the many, and endangered the planet


By Nsubuga Francis (7), Wed, 18 Aug 2010 07:44:59 PDT
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Christina, i don't know if this is coming in very late but about the media and globalization, a commendable job has been done especially towards exposure of different problems in our society. But do you have any idea about the reasons as to why international media focuses on problems in the third world and paradise about the developed world? Is it because Places like Africa don't have pretty areas? This seems not balancing and I think it scares so many from coming to Africa.


By Christina Jordan (269), Tue, 07 Sep 2010 00:44:32 PDT
Edited: Tue, 07 Sep 2010 00:45:46 PDT
Comment feedback score: 0 +|-

Actually, Francis, I am not sure what you say is true. The media tends to focus on the bad news everywhere. Watching the news in Belgium I find out all the bad stuff that's going on in Belgium and just a tiny 5 minutes or so about what's going in in the rest of the world. And in that 5 minutes yep, it's more bad news. Certainly there is more programming besides the news about developing countries, and if I am honest I don't think the more indepth programs are less positive in their approach to reporting on countries far away than they are in reporting on their own countries.

I guess what I am saying is that the negative reporting you see doesn't have as much to do with "developing countries" per se, but is a much more general issue in how the media decides for us what is newsworthy.


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