Aid: Is it worth it? (2012)

Aid worldwide runs at more than $120 billion per year (World Bank 2011a), yet there is very little correlation between this expenditure and the often stated goal of poverty reduction. The failures of aid are legion. Yet this ‘development assistance’ has become a massive and semi-permanent global industry which in western countries is often erroneously equated with ‘development’. Nothing could be further from the truth. Aid programs, despite the stated good intentions, certain deserve some critical scrutiny. Continue reading “Aid: Is it worth it? (2012)”

Land reform in Timor Leste: Why the constitution is worth defending (2010)

International aid agencies have moved into the land debate in Timor Leste, at a time when controversy rages over proposed leases of large tracts of land to foreign biofuel companies and a proposed new land law. The leases, and their potential alienation of agricultural land, were initiated in the middle of a serious food crisis, when the AMP government was financing a number of private contracts for rice import and distribution – themselves subject to corruption claims. Continue reading “Land reform in Timor Leste: Why the constitution is worth defending (2010)”

Health, income and public institutions: Explaining Cuba and Costa Rica (2007)

The World Bank in 2004 sought to explain socialist Cuba’s success in public health, and juxtaposed Costa Rica as a contender for similar public health gains, through the orthodox model which stresses broad based growth , backed by increased private investment. However a unique public institution (the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social) for health and social security insurance better explains Costa Rica’s health advances, and its superior performance to some higher income Latin American countries such as Mexico and Argentina. Continue reading “Health, income and public institutions: Explaining Cuba and Costa Rica (2007)”

The Howard Government, Australian aid and the consequences (2006)

In 1997 the Howard Government gave Australia’s foreign aid program a ‘poverty reduction’ focus with a ‘national interest’ link, later developing ‘good governance’ as the principal program theme. This anticipated the IMF and World Bank’s 1999 abandoning of ‘structural adjustment’ in favour of ‘poverty reduction’ programs, and build on National Competition Policy established by the previous Labor Government. Most aid moneys are now contracted to private Australia (and New Zealand) based companies, and the total aid budget has grown considerably. Continue reading “The Howard Government, Australian aid and the consequences (2006)”

A grand deceit: The World Bank’s claims of good governance in Papua New Guinea (2003)

The World Bank has attempted to deceive the people of Papua New Guinea, by representing itself as dedicated to ‘good governance’. It is in fact a representative of large, private corporate interests, which are seeking market access and profitable opportunities. A collection of nice-sounding principles obscures this simple fact. Continue reading “A grand deceit: The World Bank’s claims of good governance in Papua New Guinea (2003)”

Self-determination after Independence: East Timor and the World Bank (2003)

This paper introduces the concept of self-determination in the East Timorese struggle for political independence, and then examines the question of economic self-determination, with special focus on the role of the World Bank in East Timor The paper discusses the Bank’s relationship with East Timor’s Transitional Administration (under the United Nations’ Transitional Authority), and then some new self-determination dilemmas for the politically independent Democratic Republic of East Timor. Continue reading “Self-determination after Independence: East Timor and the World Bank (2003)”