What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Aid syndrome

Anne Applebaum, whose name I mistakenly put down here as Ann during the last week, has written another good article I'm happy to cite, that appeared at Slate, a couple of days ago. I will include here a taster to get you to read it (plus I will now learn to write Ann's, I'm sorry, Anne's name properly).
"This is the chaos that is foreign aid in Afghanistan, a place where every mistake ever made in every underdeveloped economy is now being repeated. This is a country in which all the best people are being hired away from the national government by the alphabet soup of aid agencies on the ground; in which the same alphabet soup of aid agencies is driving up real-estate and food prices; in which millions of dollars are squandered on dubious contractors, both local and foreign; in which the minister for rural development says he doesn't know what all the NATO reconstruction teams in rural districts do; in which the top U.N. official, given a mandate to coordinate the donors, says the donors don't respond to his attempts to coordinate them."
Since nowadays I'm recommending a lot of French literature (rather by accident than as a result of having a concept behind this), I will also point to Béatrice Pouligny's excellent article on the subject - it appeared in Security Dialogue. For some further reading there is, then, an Anglo-Saxon source as well, so nobody thinks I'm biased these days. Both sources back up Anne Applebaum's claim that indeed, these mistakes we're discussing are repeated mistakes.
The promised recommended reading:
Béatrice Pouligny (2005): Civil Society and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Ambiguities of International Programmes Aimed at Building ‘New’ Societies. Security Dialogue, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 495-510.
Alexander Cooley and James Ron (2002): The NGO Scramble: Organizational Insecurity and the Political Economy of Transnational Action. International Security, Volume 27, Number 1, Summer 2002, pp. 5-39.


Joshua Foust said...

I wouldn't apologize too much about getting all Freedom on us. One of the best scholars of Afghanistan, Olivier Roy, is himself French.

Péter MARTON said...

Sure, yeah, I was just kidding. Now Sébastien Pennes is on my list of the top league as well. Plus, les Centlivres and some others. France is doing quite well indeed.

Christian said...

Just FYI, Pierre Centlivres is from Switzerland. Or Confédération suisse if you prefer. He's from Neuchâtel, I believe. I'm not sure about Micheline C-D though.

It is noteworthy that Gilles Dorronsoro and Olivier Roy have moved on to other things. That's too bad for the state of Afghanistan analysis.

Péter MARTON said...

Thanks for pointing that out. It seems like I've just violated yet another mountainous country with my commentary then.