Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business

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Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989 - Business & Economics - 234 pages
4 Reviews
Each year some sixty billion dollars are spent on foreign aid throughout the world. Whether in donations to charities such as Save the Children, Oxfam, CARE, UNICEF, or the Red Cross, in the form of enormous loans from the World Bank, or as direct payments from one government to another, the money is earmarked for the needy, for relief in natural disasters--floods or famines, earthquakes, or droughts--and for assistance in the development of nations.

The magnitude of generosity from the world’s wealthy nations suggests the possibility of easing, if not eliminating, hunger, misery, and poverty; in truth, however, only a small portion of this sixty billion dollars is ever translated into direct assistance. Thanks to bureaucratic inefficiency, misguided policies, large executive salaries, political corruption, and the self-perpetuating "overhead” of the administrative agencies, much of this tremendous wealth is frittered away, as Graham Hancock’s alarming and comprehensive book reveals. Hancock cuts through the smoke screens and hot air of the "aristocracy of mercy” to provide a critical look at a multinational business that has never been subject to strict accountability.

Lords of Poverty is a case study in betrayals of a public trust. The shortcomings of aid are numerous, and serious enough to raise questions about the viability of the practice at its most fundamental levels. Hancock’s report is thorough, deeply shocking, and certain to cause critical reevaluation--of the government’s motives in giving foreign aid, and of the true needs of our intended beneficiaries.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ElizabethPisani - LibraryThing

The Lords of Poverty is a classic despite itself. It covers a lot of interesting ground, and is full of good ammunition to aim at the folly of the world's misguided do-gooders. But a little more gentle irony and a lot less outraged hectoring would make the same point more enjoyably. Read full review

Review: Lords of Poverty

User Review  - Aaron Crossen - Goodreads

I'll finish this one day Read full review


PART TWO Development Incorporated
PART THREE The Aristocracy of Mercy
PART FOUR The Midas Touch
PART FIVE Winners and Losers

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About the author (1989)

Author and journalist Graham Hancock was an East African correspondent for the Economist and covered the Ogaden war between Somalia and Ethiopia for the London Sunday Times. Hancock has written a number of books, among them African Ark: Peoples of the Horn, Lords of Poverty, (which earned an honorable mention for the H.L. Mencken Award for outstanding book of journalism in 1990), Journey Through Pakistan, and the international bestseller The Sign and the Seal, which documents Hancock's real-life quest for the lost Ark of the Covenant. Also the author of the top bestseller, Fingerprints of the Gods, Hancock has appeared on television with Michael Palin in his Pole to Pole series. He has also made appearances on the BBC, CNN, and the National Geographic's Explorer series to discuss stories related to his book The Sign and the Seal.

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