In This Review

Give & Take: What's the Matter With Foreign Aid?
Give & Take: What's the Matter With Foreign Aid?
By David Sogge
Palgrave, 2002, 236 pp

The author brings many years of experience in the aid industry to this biting critique of foreign aid today. He systematically reviews the stated and unstated aims of aid, the donor institutions and agencies that occupy its commanding heights, the aid policy process, and the multiple impacts of aid on recipient countries, particularly in Africa. He disaggregates the "aid chains" that transform policies into realities on the ground and deconstructs the often-deceptive discourse of "aid speak." Posed against the current U.S. administration's hostility toward any talk of global public goods is the Nordic-Dutch aid perspective derived from social democratic principles of mutual responsibility. Harmful Western aid policies based on market fundamentalism can be changed, Sogge believes, but only if policy makers are "shamed, prodded and cajoled into doing so" by well-informed insiders and political activists who recognize that there are better alternatives to the present system. This short but copiously referenced book provides a solid and provocative introduction to the topic.