The-not-so-great aid debate



Publication Details

Engel, S. (2014). The-not-so-great aid debate. Third World Quarterly, 35 (8), 1374-1389.


The ‘Great Foreign Aid Debate’ raged in the 2000s yet there are few overviews of it. This paper builds on heuristic classifications of the debate not to simply classify it, but rather to explore how it is perhaps not as ‘great’ as claimed and, in fact, is contributing to a narrowing of thinking about development possibilities. The paper explores the debate through the books released in the 10 years from 2001 that made both an academic and a media impact. It analyses what gets discussed and why and, equally importantly, what does not get discussed. In terms of what is missing, the paper posits that ‘left’ has disappeared and the progressive critique and support for aid has been left to scholars like Jeffrey Sachs and Jonathan Glennie.

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