A Typology of Aid Critiques.

Critique of Aid #1: Exoticization of the Poor
Argument: Points to the tendency to imagine the poor as fundamentally different people. Suggests that we need to think of the poor as not fundamentally different people from us.
Example: Microfinance is built on the idea that the poor need to save more and once given the resources, can be entrepreneurial – but actually, people from first world countries are really poor savers. Moreover, the percentage of entrepreneurs in any society is low.

Critique of Aid #2: The Hubris of wanting the Poor to “be more like us”
Argument: Points to the tendency to imagine the poor as just like us. Suggests that there is no one path of development.
Example: A big critique of Rostow’s Stages of Growth is that development entailed a movement from rural –> urban settings, just like the Western experience.

These two critiques put together suggests a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. Or perhaps, one could interpret this as a fundamental problem with aid in itself – unless development is placed in the hands of the people themselves, the first-world will continue to have warped imaginations of the sites of development.


~ by moz on December 31, 2013.

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