THE DESTRUCTION OF A CONTINENT: Africa and International Aid by Karl & Kathleen Corbett Borgin

THE DESTRUCTION OF A CONTINENT: Africa and International Aid

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A diatribe against the ""aid fanatics,"" UN ""superbureaucrats,"" Scandinavian ""socialist politicians,"" and ""greedy,"" feckless Third World states together responsible for, most prominently, the Brandt Commission Report on North-South income redistribution--with a call for an end to developmental aid for Africa. Borgin and Corbett--a Norwegian and a Briton who've been academic colleagues in South Africa and Kenya--have one incontrovertible, unoriginal point: the failure, thus far, of most of that aid. They ask us to believe, however, that: 1) ""The African colonies were demolished not by the Africans themselves"" (or by historical forces), but by Western ""crusaders"" who indoctrinated Africans with anti-imperialist ideas; 2) ""If the Africans are willing to . . . acknowledge the experience of the most successful farmers Africa has ever had, the European settlers, and to use the most efficient technology the world has ever had, that of the American farmer, they will be successful."" (Otherwise, no go.) The context for these propositions is a thumbnail history of Africa lauding colonial ""industriousness"" and ""skill""; a running denunciation of not only development zealots but also fat-cat (""well-fed,"" ""luxuriously and expensively dressed"") African officials; a reprise of wrong turns in socialist Tanzania, Marxist Mozambique, and oil-rich Nigeria; a defense of ""the activities of the international companies""--followed, however, by condemnation of African leaders for devoting themselves to ""the establishment of industries, the erection of factories, and the building of a new infrastructure""! Africa's real and urgent problems are best approached, currently, through the Spring 1982 issue of Daedalus, ""Black Africa"" (which includes a stiff critique of development theory). Few Americans, of any ideological persuasion, are likely to accept the premises here--though an endorsement from Milton Friedman (who, says the publisher's squib, ""submitted"" the book) may come with it.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich