Despite Good Intentions: Why Development Assistance to the Third World Has Failed (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Univ of Massachusetts Press, Jan 1, 2003 - Business & Economics - 303 pages
3 Reviews
For more than thirty-five years, Thomas W. Dichter has worked in the field of international development, managing and evaluating projects for nongovernmental organizations, directing a Peace Corps country program, and serving as a consultant for such agencies as USAID, UNDP, and the World Bank. On the basis of this extensive and varied experience, he has become an outspoken critic of what he terms the "international poverty alleviation industry." He believes that efforts to reduce world poverty have been well-intentioned but largely ineffective. On the whole, the development industry has failed to serve the needs of the people it has sought to help.

To make his case, Dichter reviews the major trends in development assistance from the 1960s through the 1990s, illustrating his analysis with eighteen short stories based on his own experiences in the field. The analytic chapters are thus grounded in the daily life of development workers as described in the stories.

Dichter shows how development organizations have often become caught up in their own self-perpetuation and in public relations efforts designed to create an illusion of effectiveness. Tracing the evolution of the role of money (as opposed to ideas) in development assistance, he suggests how financial imperatives have reinforced the tendency to sponsor time-bound projects, creating a dependency among aid recipients. He also examines the rise of careerism and increased bureaucratization in the industry, arguing that assistance efforts have become disconnected from important lessons learned on the ground.

In the end, Dichter calls for a more light-handed and artful approach to development assistance, with fewer agencies andexperts involved. His stance is pragmatic, rather than ideological or political. What matters, he says, is what works, and the current practices of the development industry are simply not effective.

  

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Review: Despite Good Intentions

User Review  - Jonathan - Goodreads

saving the world is a business.. Read full review

Review: Despite Good Intentions

User Review  - Jessie - Goodreads

A fascinating account of the author's experience in development work - from PCV to PC Country Director to USAID and the World Bank. A must read for those of us working in this field who actually care about what we may or may not be achieving. Read full review

Contents

The Great Paradox of Development Assistance
1
Romance
11
Illusion
19
The Developing World and Its Condition
23
A Straw inthe Wind
31
BeingUseful or BeingUsed
37
The Evolution of the Idea of Development
48
Warm Bodies
75
Spare No Expense the Very Best
164
For the People By the People
175
The Mismatch of Organizational Imperatives and Money
180
Position Not Condition
197
Headless Chickens
215
The Professionalization of Development
226
Too Many Cooks
239
Rhetorical Support
246

Slidingtoward Dependency
90
Development Assistance as an Industry the Dev Biz
98
Dedication
111
TryingSimplyto Help
124
Avoiding History
128
Helper and the Helped
135
Confusing Stakes
143
The Consequences of Avoiding Certain Universals of Human Nature
152
Marketing Development
257
UnintendedConsequences
271
The Peoples Program
281
The Case for a Radical Reduction in Development Assistance
286
Epilogue
295
Bibliography
297
Index
301
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