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Aid and Other Dirty Business: How Good Intentions Have Failed the World's Poor

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Do you know why Africa is so poor? What really happens to your charity money? Why do trade rules fail African countries and yet cost you too? We've heard it all before: the corrupt leaders, heartless global corporations, the wicked World Bank. But the answers are much closer to home... and so are the solutions When Giles Bolton began working in the world of aid and developme Do you know why Africa is so poor? What really happens to your charity money? Why do trade rules fail African countries and yet cost you too? We've heard it all before: the corrupt leaders, heartless global corporations, the wicked World Bank. But the answers are much closer to home... and so are the solutions When Giles Bolton began working in the world of aid and development, he travelled to Africa convinced that he could solve problems, save villages and sing songs with the locals under a shimmering sunset. The reality proved rather less romantic, and far more shocking... Aid and Other Dirty Business is a radical, brilliantly readable and totally original approach to the seemingly unending problem of poverty in Africa. It may change your life, but, more importantly, it will help you change the lives of others.


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Do you know why Africa is so poor? What really happens to your charity money? Why do trade rules fail African countries and yet cost you too? We've heard it all before: the corrupt leaders, heartless global corporations, the wicked World Bank. But the answers are much closer to home... and so are the solutions When Giles Bolton began working in the world of aid and developme Do you know why Africa is so poor? What really happens to your charity money? Why do trade rules fail African countries and yet cost you too? We've heard it all before: the corrupt leaders, heartless global corporations, the wicked World Bank. But the answers are much closer to home... and so are the solutions When Giles Bolton began working in the world of aid and development, he travelled to Africa convinced that he could solve problems, save villages and sing songs with the locals under a shimmering sunset. The reality proved rather less romantic, and far more shocking... Aid and Other Dirty Business is a radical, brilliantly readable and totally original approach to the seemingly unending problem of poverty in Africa. It may change your life, but, more importantly, it will help you change the lives of others.

30 review for Aid and Other Dirty Business: How Good Intentions Have Failed the World's Poor

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I learned a lot from this book, which takes an honest look at international aid and why it just isn't working. The author focuses on what he knows, Africa, and provides amazing insight into where programs fall short and what money can really do. The consequences are international. Read the part about American government subsidizing their farmers who are then (and thus) able to sell their products in countries (including Africa) cheaper than African products. When Africa can't buy local, you have I learned a lot from this book, which takes an honest look at international aid and why it just isn't working. The author focuses on what he knows, Africa, and provides amazing insight into where programs fall short and what money can really do. The consequences are international. Read the part about American government subsidizing their farmers who are then (and thus) able to sell their products in countries (including Africa) cheaper than African products. When Africa can't buy local, you have a corrupt system! (Not corrupt as in conspiracy, corrupt as in not able to function as intended.) So many interesting dynamics and ramifications!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Collins

    Excellent read on AID and its impact in Africa. In depth analysis on how decisions taken by world powers to protect themselves and their markets have unintended negative consequences to others around the world. Definitely a recommended read for anyone interested in foreign policy, trade and Non Governmental work

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rock Angel

    "Written by a guy who worked for the British Government in Rwanda and so knows both sides of the story" someone mentioned "aid & dirty business" by the same author "Written by a guy who worked for the British Government in Rwanda and so knows both sides of the story" someone mentioned "aid & dirty business" by the same author

  4. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Turner

    The first half of the book is excellent, it shed a light on startling facts and adds in some real life stories to make them hit home. However, when getting to solutions and what we in the west can do I found it to be very repetitive but lacking a real punch that makes the reader want to act

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sriram

    It was tough reading nearly 90% of the book which is replete with plenty of figures / numbers / statistical data. However, the final part with its pragmatic recommendations makes it a worthy read

  6. 4 out of 5

    Graeme Evans

    Not really what I expected! Packed with statistics and lacking the anecdotes that would have made it more readable - from a layperson's perspective.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Houghton

    A good introduction to the world of official aid from the view of a civil servant who was involved in managing aid. An easy and fun read, with a short section on trade (the other dirty business)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Prose/Readability: 5 Author’s Commitment to Objective Truth: 4 Interesting Content: 5 Perspective Shift: 5

  9. 5 out of 5

    Don

    Yeah, yeaaayh, yeah heh, yeah heh, yeah heh... [Lauryn Hill:Mr Intentional] See the road to hell is paved with good intentions Can't you tell the way they have to mention How they've helped you out; you're such a hopeless victim Please don't do me any favors, Mr. Intentional All their talk is seasoned to perfection The road they walk, commanding your affection They need to be needed, deceived by motivation An opportunity, to further situation Why they so important, is without explanation Please don't patr Yeah, yeaaayh, yeah heh, yeah heh, yeah heh... [Lauryn Hill:Mr Intentional] See the road to hell is paved with good intentions Can't you tell the way they have to mention How they've helped you out; you're such a hopeless victim Please don't do me any favors, Mr. Intentional All their talk is seasoned to perfection The road they walk, commanding your affection They need to be needed, deceived by motivation An opportunity, to further situation Why they so important, is without explanation Please don't patrionize me, Mr. Intentional Oh, ohhh, ohh ohhh We give rise to ego by being insecure The advice that we go desperatly searching for The subconscious effort to support our paramour To engage in denial, to admit we're immature Validating lies, Mr. Intentional Open up yours eyes, Mr. Intentional Stuck in a system that seeks to suck your blood Held emotionally hostage by what everybody does Counting all the money that you give them just because Exploiting ignorance in the name of love Stop before you drop because that's just the way it works Please don't justify me, Mr. Intentional Oh one dimensional, Mr. Intentional Ohhh, oh don't you do me any favors Ohhh, ohhhh, ohh ohhhh Wake up you've been sleeping Take up your bed and walk Stop blaming other people Oh it's nobody else's fault Accept the truth about you You know that life goes on without you And your expensive misinventions Disguising your intentions Don't worship my hurt feelings, Mr. Intentional Oh, oh oh oh See I know you can't help me, Mr. Intentional The only help I need to live, is unprofessional The only wealth I have to give, is not material And if you need much more than that, I'm not available Please don't entertain me, Mr. Intentional Oh I dont need your sympathy, Mr. Intentional Stay away from me, Mr. Intentional So one dimensional, Mr. Promotional, Mr. Emotional, Mr. Intentional Ohhh ohhhh, ohhhh

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Aid and Other Dirty Business:An Insider Reveals How Good Intentions Have Failed the World's Poor deserves more attention than I will give it. The only appropriate amount of credit to give this is to read it, and that is mandatory. Giles Botton gives a distressing account of the troubles in Africa by presenting you, yes, you!, with your own African country for the duration of the book. Your country, Uzima, is blessed with natural resources and incoming tax revenues beyond the dreams of the presi Aid and Other Dirty Business:An Insider Reveals How Good Intentions Have Failed the World's Poor deserves more attention than I will give it. The only appropriate amount of credit to give this is to read it, and that is mandatory. Giles Botton gives a distressing account of the troubles in Africa by presenting you, yes, you!, with your own African country for the duration of the book. Your country, Uzima, is blessed with natural resources and incoming tax revenues beyond the dreams of the president of, say, Uganda, but still squarely in the middle of sub-Saharan African economies. Your liabilities are massive, and you lack the most basic infrastructure. As well, you lack an educated workforce from which to hire more government functionaries to meet with all 90 or so governments and and NGOs who want to bestow aid upon you. Compounding that, many governments and NGOs only commit to project aid, rather than direct assistance. The USA only invests in project aid and spends a flipping 47% of aid money on consultants. Beyond that, our food aid resembles a combination of dumping agriculture surplus and propping up our wimpy shipping sector. Meanwhile, the US and Eurozone subsidize their own farm products to a point where no small farmer in the Ivory Coast can possibly break into the international market. Add unfunded Western promises and the new Chinese development with strings and then fix your country, Mr. President. http://surfeitofbooks.blogspot.com/20...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sally McRogerson

    This is eye opening! Written by a guy who worked for the British Government in Rwanda and so knows both sides of the story. It not only tells what's going wrong (basically that those who know what's going wrong have no power and those with the power (i.e. us!) don't know what's going wrong and in the majority don't care! One of Africa's problems is that it has no terrorists and just gets on and quietly dies without causing us too much hardship. It ruins our breakfasts occasionally to see distres This is eye opening! Written by a guy who worked for the British Government in Rwanda and so knows both sides of the story. It not only tells what's going wrong (basically that those who know what's going wrong have no power and those with the power (i.e. us!) don't know what's going wrong and in the majority don't care! One of Africa's problems is that it has no terrorists and just gets on and quietly dies without causing us too much hardship. It ruins our breakfasts occasionally to see distressing photos in the newspapers, but then we can turn over and get on with the REAL problems in our lives, like, well like what? Like the problems they don't get in Africa. Protecting property, helping kids with the homework (for that the kids have to have survived and be in school - unlikely!) As a welcome change he goes on to tell what we can actually do in practical terms so I didn't feel like slashing my wrists through sheer impotence at knowing far too much without the power to change it! Well worth a few hours of anyone's time, particularly if they're of the opinion that change is vital.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    Meh... I had high hopes for this book but found it incredibly repetitive. The first 100 pages were great but after that the author presented the same information over and over just from different focus points but it was still the same. I am impressed that he drove from Rwanda to London though and think that would have been an interesting travel adventure book! Even his section at the end of what we as "common folk" can do had to repeat all the previous points before getting to the "do this" acti Meh... I had high hopes for this book but found it incredibly repetitive. The first 100 pages were great but after that the author presented the same information over and over just from different focus points but it was still the same. I am impressed that he drove from Rwanda to London though and think that would have been an interesting travel adventure book! Even his section at the end of what we as "common folk" can do had to repeat all the previous points before getting to the "do this" action points. If this was the first African Aid book someone read, i am not sure they would actually get to the list of actions to take. "Damned Nations' was much more powerful.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    A simplistic book marketed as a sensationalist cure all for the problems in the aid industry. This book suffers from all the problems of the aid industry itself. Simplistic approaches to radically complex problems. The international trade regime is certainly a detriment to the development of Africa, however solving this problem is not a panacea. If you want a real assessment of the state of the aid industry see "The Trouble with Aid: Why Less Could Mean More for Africa" by Jonathan Glennie, and A simplistic book marketed as a sensationalist cure all for the problems in the aid industry. This book suffers from all the problems of the aid industry itself. Simplistic approaches to radically complex problems. The international trade regime is certainly a detriment to the development of Africa, however solving this problem is not a panacea. If you want a real assessment of the state of the aid industry see "The Trouble with Aid: Why Less Could Mean More for Africa" by Jonathan Glennie, and for SOME answers on how to fix it see "The White Man's Burden" by William Easterly.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ian McHugh

    A useful book on the issues and challenges of international aid. Bolton covers most issues in 'broad strokes' but his analysis and suggestions are clear. I read this too late for the statistics to be of use and I would love to see how the optimism (and some of the pessimism) contained here from 2006 has modified in the intervening ten years. I'll certainly 'check up' on Bolton's recent work to see whether his view has changed.

  15. 4 out of 5

    mellyana

    The Cover is as ugly as the title. If it depends on the cover I wont buy the book in the first place. But the book is good. Really. He wrote a lot on Africa, but the issue is so applicable with Indonesia. He talk about humanitarian work, aid, trade. In short: about the business of "making poverty history".

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Gardner

    Interesting insight into how aid actually works and how trade and aid can be improved. I wonder how much has changed since this book was originally written 11 years ago? I thought there was some repetition in the later chapters but it took a difficult subject and made it easy to understand. I also found the solutions suggested at the end quite empowering.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Lascelles

    This was written by a friend so I am biased but it gives a great insight into how taxpayers' money is being wasted and how the problem of poor countries is so much bigger than we think. If you are interested in the world of aid, then read this book!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tanvir Muntasim

    A very good and userfriendly book on aid politics. The examples and the anecdotes, backed up by solid research are very useful for any concerned citizen who wants to see a better world and is ready to play his/her part. Highly recommended for development practitioners and responsible citizens.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

    An easy, interesting book. I think it might underplay the complexities and doesn't deliver much in the way of solutions, but a decent introduction, nonetheless.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eleni

    Makes me want to read more and do more. It may have over simplified the way international aid works but then we spend so much time complicating everything and ending up not taking any action at all.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    I loved this purely because it made me realise how ignorant I was of the issues it spoke about. It does get slightly facty in the middle, but the beginning and the end make up for this.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shehab Mekky

    brilliant literature of how the west failed Africa and why poverty there never ends

  23. 4 out of 5

    Simon

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrea A

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stig Aune

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Mcdonagh

  27. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  28. 5 out of 5

    Xun

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steven-John Tait

  30. 5 out of 5

    Julie

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