Since the early 1990s at least, it has been commonplace to assess the consequences of international multilateral and bilateral aid in such terms as meeting `good’ governance criteria, providing for accountability, transparency and openness (Larmour 1998, pp. 1-20). Subsequently criteria including effectiveness have been utilised (Commonwealth of Australia 2011). As well, against the attacks from a vocal and influential anti-aid lobby, aid has been evaluated favourably in terms of whether it “really works” (Riddell 2014). The sub-text of all assessments, while rarely if ever stated, is whether aid advances capitalism, the accumulation of capital in the hands of a particular class, and meets particular welfare criteria. [Read more…]
Dr Scott MacWilliam is a visiting fellow in the State Society and Governance Program in Melanesia at Australian National University.