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Looting Africa: The Economics of Exploitation

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Despite the rhetoric, the people of Sub-Saharan Africa are become poorer. From Tony Blair's Africa Commission, the G7 finance ministers' debt relief, the Live 8 concerts, the Make Poverty History campaign and the G8 Gleneagles promises, to the United Nations 2005 summit and the Hong Kong WTO meeting, Africa's gains have been mainly limited to public relations. The central Despite the rhetoric, the people of Sub-Saharan Africa are become poorer. From Tony Blair's Africa Commission, the G7 finance ministers' debt relief, the Live 8 concerts, the Make Poverty History campaign and the G8 Gleneagles promises, to the United Nations 2005 summit and the Hong Kong WTO meeting, Africa's gains have been mainly limited to public relations. The central problems remain exploitative debt and financial relationships with the North, phantom aid, unfair trade, distorted investment and the continent's brain/skills drain. Moreover, capitalism in most African countries has witnessed the emergence of excessively powerful ruling elites with incomes derived from financial-parasitical accumulation. Without overstressing the "mistakes" of such elites, this book contextualises Africa's wealth outflow within a stagnant but volatile world economy.


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Despite the rhetoric, the people of Sub-Saharan Africa are become poorer. From Tony Blair's Africa Commission, the G7 finance ministers' debt relief, the Live 8 concerts, the Make Poverty History campaign and the G8 Gleneagles promises, to the United Nations 2005 summit and the Hong Kong WTO meeting, Africa's gains have been mainly limited to public relations. The central Despite the rhetoric, the people of Sub-Saharan Africa are become poorer. From Tony Blair's Africa Commission, the G7 finance ministers' debt relief, the Live 8 concerts, the Make Poverty History campaign and the G8 Gleneagles promises, to the United Nations 2005 summit and the Hong Kong WTO meeting, Africa's gains have been mainly limited to public relations. The central problems remain exploitative debt and financial relationships with the North, phantom aid, unfair trade, distorted investment and the continent's brain/skills drain. Moreover, capitalism in most African countries has witnessed the emergence of excessively powerful ruling elites with incomes derived from financial-parasitical accumulation. Without overstressing the "mistakes" of such elites, this book contextualises Africa's wealth outflow within a stagnant but volatile world economy.

30 review for Looting Africa: The Economics of Exploitation

  1. 5 out of 5

    kripsoo

    In Looting Africa Patrick Bond basically updates Walter Rodney How Europe Underdeveloped Africa While Africa is often portrayed in global media as the hapless beneficiary of well intentioned aid and charitable campaigns Bond emphasizes the many ways wealth is pulled out of the continent through dividend and debt payments,unequal exchange, brain drains and such Aid is often a poisoned chalice that comes with demands that markets be opened to Western economic interests The same is true of much bal In Looting Africa Patrick Bond basically updates Walter Rodney How Europe Underdeveloped Africa While Africa is often portrayed in global media as the hapless beneficiary of well intentioned aid and charitable campaigns Bond emphasizes the many ways wealth is pulled out of the continent through dividend and debt payments,unequal exchange, brain drains and such Aid is often a poisoned chalice that comes with demands that markets be opened to Western economic interests The same is true of much ballyhooed debt relief China recent involvement in Africa is portrayed no more sympathetically China cuts deals with exploitative rulers and uses Chinese workers on projects like oil refineries Bond also emphasizes the collaboration of African elites in the neoliberal plunder--South Africa economically exploits its neighbors while NEPAD locks Africa into neoliberalism Although he occasionally sympathetically quotes NGO reports for the most part he believes that grassroots social movements are the only real hope for change It is this final point that I think is the weakest in the book. Although there is certainly some truth to the notion that a politics that seeks to genuinely promote the social good is going to be grounded among the people with nothing to lose in the current system I think its a strategic mistake to flatten the politics of all other actors into a single exploitative neoliberalism at most talks left walks right (as he argues was the case with Mandela opposition to the Iraq war while the ANC allowed the US to use South Africa in some ways to support the war) This is basically a politics of failing to see anything short of a revolutionary rejection of the system as a fraud I think its short sighted and will lead to a confused strategy Bond sees South Africa along with Brazil and India as an example of sub-imperialism but an argument can be made that these sub-powers look both ways sometimes aligning themselves with the West (which is itself not as unified as Bond believes) sometimes aligning themselves with the interests of poorer countries They are in-between politically ambiguous. Bond takes his position to the logical extreme and even heaps a certain amount of opprobrium on the World Social Forum since it was started by a social democratic party in Brazil in alignment with intellectuals in Europe But the WSF has clearly opened space for the networking of the kind of movements he admires worldwide Notwithstanding his (I think positive)calls to listen to movements I think there is a certain vanguardist tone to his political stance Movements from South Africa to the US are often hesitant (far more hesitant than far-left intellectuals) to break completely with pusillanimous ruling liberals for precisely the reasons outlined above because they allow a little bit of space to advance their projects Bond might want to listen to this a little rather than demand the movements immediately achieve a level of militancy he has deemed necessary for their goals

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    This was a good review of the politics of exploitation perpetrated by outside actors and their accomplices. I'm moderating my star level because I felt that the narrative flow was disrupted by too much emphasis on statements and proclamations by NGOs and other authors, whereas Bond's own view was most compelling. This was a good review of the politics of exploitation perpetrated by outside actors and their accomplices. I'm moderating my star level because I felt that the narrative flow was disrupted by too much emphasis on statements and proclamations by NGOs and other authors, whereas Bond's own view was most compelling.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ietrio

    Somehow the benevolent whites have left Africa to its people, and for Bond, the people of Africa aren't doing a good enough job so the whites have to send some armies there to put things in order. Somehow the benevolent whites have left Africa to its people, and for Bond, the people of Africa aren't doing a good enough job so the whites have to send some armies there to put things in order.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Contrary to what many wish were not the case, Africa's development problems are still implicated with global capital's exploitative extraction of Africa's wealth. Contrary to what many wish were not the case, Africa's development problems are still implicated with global capital's exploitative extraction of Africa's wealth.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sirana

  7. 4 out of 5

    Simon Wood

  8. 5 out of 5

    mai silvestrov

  9. 4 out of 5

    Berty Van Hensbergen

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carmelle

  11. 5 out of 5

    Warren

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sham Al-Ghazali

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sandisile Tshuma

  14. 4 out of 5

    Artemis

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ina Cawl

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  18. 4 out of 5

    SpaceBear

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marcela

  21. 4 out of 5

    David Burns

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elle

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cedric

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leon

  26. 5 out of 5

    Giulia

  27. 4 out of 5

    David

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Javid

  29. 5 out of 5

    I

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Tate

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