For five centuries, Europeans and their descendants have tried to control the lives of people in Africa. If this was going to work out well for Africa, we’d know it by now.
And yet, the effort continues. Not only in Africa but in much of Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Latin America. And they want to continue forever.
In 2015 the United Nations announced that its 15-year Millennium Development Goals had been the most successful anti-poverty program in history – even though the African continent had more malnourished people than in 2000, and while more children attended school, everyone except the U.N. was alarmed that many of those children were learning little, or nothing at all.
Colonialism still shapes our lives, but today it comes with a friendly face. We call it karma colonialism. Richer countries try to control the others, for their own ends, and say they just want to help. This site looks at many aspects of karma colonialism.
Introductory pages about karma colonialism
Left: It’s still colonialism. Today’s foreign aid and charities look different from colonialism of the past. But the old goals and attitudes haven’t changed.
Right: Karma colonialism always looks nice. Here, U.S. Navy Seabees build a school in Timor Leste. But they’re doing it to benefit America, not Timor Leste.
Left: Can aid be decolonized? Many people have proposed ways to address flaws in the aid system. It doesn’t happen, because the system is ALREADY working well — for those in charge. Here’s a look at why reform efforts won’t work.
Right: Voluntourism sounds like an opportunity to feel good and do good. But the agencies selling these trips prioritize the “feel good” half and nobody really wants to think to carefully about the impact on those at the other end.
Left: Libraries that don’t work: Big NGOs tend to focus on appearance over substance. One result — libraries filled with the wrong books — undermines education in Africa. Karim F Hirji describes what he’s seen in Tanzania.
Right: Microcredit goes awry: Microcredit appeared on the scene with great promise in the 1980s. Then the term was taken over by profit-focused businesses. Today, microcredit often feeds on the poor rather than helping them.
Left: Pawns for Francophonie: Eager to spread French culture, language and influence, the government of France enabled one of the largest genocides of the 20th century: Rwanda in 1994.
Right: Fueling corruption: Why do so many governments in the South ignore the needs of their population? Western corporations pay better. For a decade, Europe’s Airbus bribed officials in developing regions to get their business.
Left: Does the U.N. want rote schooling for children in the South? It’s painful to think so, but that’s what the evidence says. And with a little thought, we can see how U.N. interests push it in this direction.
Right: The cholera epidemic: The epidemic that killed 10,000 Haitians revealed more than just sloppy sanitation practices by the U.N. It revealed institutional rot and an imperial attitude of impunity.
Left: A License to Meddle: Different students choose different subjects. Does this really call for U.N. intervention? Or is it just a License to Meddle?
Right: Experts vs. Chimps: Do “development experts” have any more wisdom than dart-throwing chimpanzees? Well, it’s a tight contest. It turns out, the experts who get in the news have a sorry track record, though they try to hide it.
Left: Francophonie. By forcing children in its former African colonies to study in French, France thought it was spreading the glory of the French language. But students ended up learning neither French, nor much of anything else.
Right: UNICEF preaches diversity. But for 75 years, it has ALWAYS had a USA citizen in its top spot. It’s hypocritical — and it leads UNICEF to push unsuitable Western-style approaches that often don’t work.
Left: Charity is not development. The aid industry promises development but does charity. They are opposites. That’s why aid projects so often achieve the opposite of what they promise.
Right: Cellphones and literacy. UNESCO took money from big tech to publish a deceitful report that benefited the company that gave it the money. If an African president had done that, what would we call it?
Left: Learn! Are you ready to develop a deeper understanding of why we believe so many international charities are ultimately hurting the poorest people of the world. Here are some books we recommend.
Right: What would make a better future? There are ways that wealthier countries can genuinely help others, if they want to. Give the aid money directly to the poor, for example. Here are ideas.
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