One of the fundamental flaws of the antiglobalisation movement is that it proposes to have the third world countries be left to their own devices. Quite the contrary I believe that the third world needs more rather than less foreign investment.
There is no antiglobalisation movement. There are disparate groups who, for very different reasons, oppose what is going on at these intergovernmental cabals. Therefore it is nonsense to say that 'the antiglobalisation movement wants x'. If you read the manifestos, or did the smallest bit of research, you'd probably find that there are as many proposed solutions as there opposition groups. Which is exactly as it should be, I think.
Many pet projects ran by charity organisations destroyed local commerce forming in the third world and making those countries perpetually dependent on foreign aid (and giving job security to those running said charities).
One could also say, with perhaps more justification, that the actions of multinational corporations and organisations (for example, the E.U.), have stymied much organic economic development in the Third World.
A fairly good case study is the actions of Shell in Nigeria. They underwrote the military dictatorship, on condition that Nigeria closed its oil refineries and reduced its industry to exporting raw crude oil. The result? Nigeria imports petroleum refined from its own oil, at a tasty profit, by Shell. Ridiculous, no?
One could also speak of European economic dumping in Africa squeezing out native agriculture, and Monsanto's hegemonic behaviour in India.
I don't deny that NGOs have seriously distorted many aspects of economic life in the Third World. But what they distorted were colonial economies, whose produce and lines of supply were geared towards supplying the markets of the imperial powers.
Without rebuilding the economy based on export those countries will never be able to sustain themsleves.
Paradox. Their economies are based on export of raw materials at rock-bottom prices.
There are far too many dictators in Africa than the continent can bear. Unfortunately the militaristic nature of most of Africa's governments is one of the root causes of the extreme poverty sweeping the continent.
And who be sellin' them the guns? Us, of course.
So there. I think democracy and foreign investment are the tried and true ways of helping nations.
True? Maybe. Tried? I can't think of any instances. The USA, in particular, despite its breast-beating rhetoric about democracy, has a record of supporting and installing viciously dictatorial client regimes. Charming types like Pinochet, or the current bogeyman, Saddam Hussein.
If you don't believe go to Poland or Hungary or Czech republic to see how a battered nation can pick itself up from the floor.
Comparing Poland or Hungary to Third World countries is a bit like comparing an unemployed computer programmer to an illiterate. They may have been down in the dumps for a few decades, but they have centuries of civilisation and commercial experience behind them.
No matter how many times African nations get their debts cleared they will invariably end up in the same situation few years down the line unless their economic foundations are sufficiently strong.
Well let's suck it and see, shall we?
Charity projects as we know them will not help creating those foundations. Ironically they seem to have the opposite effect of creating the mentality of helplessness and a 'can't do attitude' amongst locals. Food for thought.
Straight out of Reaganite 'thought' about the disadvantaged. Perhaps NGOs are unwise and naive about solving the problems. But at least, godammit, they are trying. If you want to look at the real culprits, look for arms dealers and multinational corporations. They are the ones continuing the imperial tradition of despoilment and enforced poverty. Except these days they call it the free market.
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