"I have come to believe that most aid is doing more harm than good for the countries that receive it. In most cases, aid is guided less by the needs of the recipients than by the donor country's domestic and international interests."
—Angus Deaton, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Economics, in his book "The Great Escape"
Karma Colonialism: We can stop it
Cecil Rhodes said of the British: "I contend that we are the first race in the world, and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race." Few of us talk like that today. But how do we act?
Two hundred years ago, Western powers were invading and exploiting smaller countries. A few people opposed that. Where would you have stood?
None of us can answer that for sure. We'd like to think we would have stood up against the brutalities of colonialism — but who can really be sure? It's safer and easier to go with the flow. Most people always do. The status quo always offers justifications for believing that everything is fine.
Two hundred years ago, western powers were invading and exploiting smaller countries. A few people opposed that. Where would you have stood?
On these pages, we will show that while colonial attitudes have a new form, they're still with us, keeping poor countries poor. We urge you to learn more, then join us to stop it.
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Foreign aid, international charities, and certain of the institutions known as NGOs tell us they'll help "needy people" in the poorest corners of the world — but they must have our help.
But even as this flow of aid money provides genuine relief to some people, usually in highly visible ways, it does widespread but invisible harm in those same areas. Meanwhile, the charities, NGOs, staffs, governments, philanthropists, and foundations collect varied benefits for themselves, and do not want to actually end the problems they claim to address. "Needy people" are their bread and butter.
We call this karma colonialism. It stems from the same underlying dynamics as old-fashioned colonialism, but with a twist: A layer of karma keeps everyone feeling good.
Karma colonialism isn't the result of anybody's heavy-handed plan. It's the natural result of many people acting in their own best interests.
Karma colonialism was not created by a conspiracy, any more than your body was created because a lot of genes held a meeting and planned their strategy. It's a natural outcome of the haves — those with more power, more money, more connections, and greater media access — looking out for their best interests, while wanting to look good to others and feel good about themselves.
But it's hurting those without the power and money. On these pages we'll explain what led us to this conclusion, why we've chosen to use such a potentially incendiary term, and how you can work with us to stop it.
You may not agree with all of our conclusions, but we think you'll be dismayed at some of the things we report. If you think these ideas are worth considering, please encourage others to visit this site, and join us to stop karma colonialism. Thank you.
(This is a new site, first posted in December 2015. We will add many more stories in the weeks and months ahead. Please visit again.)