- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Ebury Press (3 July 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0091914353
- ISBN-13: 978-0091914356
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 267,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Aid and Other Dirty Business: How Good Intentions Have Failed the World's Poor Paperback – 3 Jul 2008
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"Superbly lucid and readable" (Guardian)
"[A] heartening book on Africa and remedies for its plight ... Bolton doesn't rant or preach ... he balances hard facts with strong ideas" (Independent)
"If you've ever wondered why Africa is still poor, this is the book for you ... Bolton writes with energy and directness" (Metro)
"Engaging, absorbing and enlightening - everyone interested, from the aid worker to the armchair activist, should invest in this book. If Poor Story doesn't win your heart and mind to the cause of ending extreme poverty, nothing else will" (Oxfam website)
"A vivid account of the everyday problems facing African countries" (Financial Times)
A startling insight into how the West is failing Africa and what we can do about it - by an aid industry insiderSee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
To my positive surprise the sensationalist title is nothing like the book, which is well-balanced, well argued and consistent in the argumentation: there are enormous problems with development aid, free trade and globalization (because unlike many others, the author, former head of DFID in Rwanda, does understand that aid alone is not the only issue affecting African poverty), but he is correct when he says “In the right circumstances, it is unequivocally true that aid works”.
His analysis is then to state what these circumstances are where aid works, and here there is a clear and absolutely correct criticism of the work he did himself (and the work I am doing), of wrong modalities, lack of ownership, coordination, interests... For an uninitiated into the aid world, this is an excellent introduction to the problems that aid faces; for the initiated, it is an excellent reflection and summary of what we (should) know to be the problems.
But as mentioned, Mr. Bolton does not only talk about aid itself, but also brings up all the hipocrisies and contradiction of (not so free) trade and globalization.Read more ›
The author employs a very useful fictitious average African country with a new leader trying to deliver improvements to the life of his people. The impossibility of the decisions facing many African governments is highlighted very clearly through this approach which sounds like it might be gimmicky but isn't.
At the end of the book, he reminds us that as consumers we have power to press corporations to behave better through our purchasing decisions. Up to a point I agree, but there are likely to be people in the West for whom ethical purchasing is just too expensive, and some corporate efforts have too much of the fig leaf approach. The book very clearly shows the distorting effect of subsidies, especially farm subsidies. In certain areas, such as US subsidies to cotton farmers, the approach beggars belief regardless of the impact on poor countries. It is ironic that the West complains about various countries in Asia dumping goods in the West or using currency manipulation and low labour costs to undercut Western producers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A little out of date but makes a very interesting analysis and interpretation of the difference that AID does and does not make in Africa. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Katherine van Haeften
This is a brilliant book. Absolutely spot on. I recently completed an MBA in Humanitarian Development and needless to say churned through a lot of the current literature around... Read morePublished 23 months ago by james michie
I just couldn't get into this book, I simply never found myself absorbed by it and in the end gave up roughly half way through. Read morePublished on 28 Jun. 2014 by C
But it gets a little repetitive towards the end of the book once the real meat of the issues have been tackled and the author sets about a "call to arms". Read morePublished on 19 Feb. 2010 by ChillasPapa