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.
Left: The UN for sale. UNESCO invites corporations to pay up, so they can benefit from its “reputable brand,” while small countries sell their UN vote. Who pays the price for this corruption? Just who you’d expect. Right: Selling good karma. Aid, in theory, is about helping others. But to a very large extent, it’s merely purchasing permission to feel good about ourselves while ignoring unpleasant realities. Want proof? Ask the birds.
Left: High-level hypocrisy. Coca-Cola pushes a harmful product on vulnerable children. How can Warren Buffett be a trustee for the world’s biggest health foundation, and also Coke’s biggest investor?
Right: Chocolate hands. You can buy chocolate hands at shops in Antwerp. So what? Well, one of the colonial era’s great atrocities involves Belgians chopping off the hands of Africans.
Left: Aid for the richest and whitest: UK Aid has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars through AgDevCo, a UK “impact investor,” to help white European investors run agribusinesses in Africa.
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.
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: 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.