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Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business Hardcover – Jan 1 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (January 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871132532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871132536
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 15 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #814,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3.8 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ogilive on Nov. 17 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is certainly worth consulting for anyone studying international aid institutions. The better parts include those on private aid institutions and their related PR divisions; and on World Bank and IMF "structural adjustment." The bulk of the book, however, repetitively details how the aid industry is little more than a sort of stimulus program for the the already affluent. Most disturbingly, Hancock repeatedly cites US actions in the 1980s to curtail and undermine international aid and participation as examples of "responsible" responses to legitimate shortcomings of those institutions and actions -- rather than what they were: assertions of self-interested, unilateral foreign policy (what used to be called imperialism).
PS: It turns out that this Graham Hancock is the same Graham Hancock who later wrote the sensationalist-archaeological "Fingerprints of the Gods" series, confirming the suspicion that his judgment, his political views in particular, are highly questionable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard D. Nidel on June 22 2000
Format: Paperback
The book, while appearing to be quite academic, is, in fact a diatribe.
Some of the foregoing reviews have been pinned mainly on the emotion of the debate regarding foreign assistance, and not on the facts of the achievement thereof.
I'd like to put forth the case that, whatever may have been the operating environment during Mr. Hancock's experience, things have changed. They have changed with regard to the type of people that are working in the international development community, and the type of people who work for international NGOs. Whatever Viola P. Renya might think, my experience has shown that these are not people who believe they have 'dyed and gone to haven' (SIC), because they 'scored' a job with CARE or Save the Children. They are people who have left much more lucrative employment, in some cases, to help their fellow-people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tom Munro on July 27 2003
Format: Paperback
This book has the flavour of someone who has stewed over the question of foriegn aid for some time and then suddenly this book has been an outpouring of every bit of frustration ever felt by the author. From looking at his other books it appears that he is a person with a thorough background in the industry.
The book is one of the most daming that I have read. Although short the book marshals its facts and explains every argument with a clarity that is breathtaking.
The arguments are that the organisations which are involved in providing aid are incompetent. There are a number of reasons for the incompetance but all orginsations which deal with aid are incompetant and corrupt.
At the head of the list is the world bank. The world bank is willing to make grants of aid conditional on changes to monetary policy and dismanteling of anti competative market systems but it never wants to make aid conditional on introducing human rights or democracy. As a result changes to make the market more competative almost always damage the poor by for example the removal of food subsidies. The benifits of World Bank loans almost always flow to the middle class or urban dwellers. The Indian Economist Sen has shown that democracies do not have famines. If the world bank was to make democracy the condition of aid packages it would be more likely to reduce famines in these countries. In fact govermental corruption or incompetance is the real reason for the sorts of problems which require aid in the first place.
The world bank is addicted to large capital intensive projects. Most of these turn out to be white elephants and have unsustainable maintence costs. Again the benifits of electification or transport benifits mainly the urban centres.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Edward Bosnar on April 10 2001
Format: Paperback
It's too bad that updated editions of "Lords of Poverty" were never published; indeed, even this edition was out of print for several years before this reprint edition. Hancock's writing style here may be a sustained rant, but it nevertheless provides a great deal of useful information and tears down many of the misconceptions most Americans or Europeans may have about the international aid industry. Particularly interesting is his criticism of the various UN agencies and, especially, the World Bank and the IMF - whose projects all too often do more harm than good (if they do any good at all). Perhaps the most disturbing aspect exposed in this book is still quite valid today: that taxpayers in the big donor countries like the U.S., Germany, Japan, the U.K. etc. are footing the bill for many disastrous projects worldwide that make the lives of impoverished populations even worse and often destroy in the environment in the process. "Lords of Poverty" may be dated, but it's still well worth the read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Viola P. Reyna on Feb. 25 2000
Format: Paperback
In his book Lords of Poverty, Mr. Graham Hancock offers a very detailed account of the so-called Aid Industry. Unfortunately, the case study he presents is completely out of date (the 80's). This is the year 2000 and, hence, fresh figures, new dates and new names are needed.
The other flaw of his book is that, like every one else who has written on the subject of foreign aid, Mr. Hancock bases his account on his experiences in India and in some other regions of Africa. But what about the rest of the world. What we need is a much broader and deeper look of the foreign aid industry as the self perpetuating industry that it actually is, particularly with regard to the secret internal modus operandi of bureaucratic institutions such as the UN, World Bank, OAS, USIAD, etc, etc. In other words, we want the true inside story. It is the only way to really know what's going on.
Few people are aware that these organizations are ran mainly by "political rejects" who after having been thrown out from their own countries accused of becoming political trouble makers, or misfits, they find "haven" in those international aid organizations. Sort of like "dying and going to haven".
The fact that the head of the World Bank or the Secretary General of the UN might have been a head of state before he was rewarded with the current top job does not mean in any way that he is fit for the job that he is holding now. Those top positions and other of lesser importance, are usually regarded as political favors. The same holds true of those professionals who are looking for a place to land a good paying job that requires little or no work at all.
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