Development Aid Confronts Politics

Development Aid Confronts Politics: The Almost Revolution

THOMAS CAROTHERS
DIANE DE GRAMONT
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 360
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wpk93
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  • Book Info
    Development Aid Confronts Politics
    Book Description:

    A new lens on development is changing the world of international aid. The overdue recognition that development in all sectors is an inherently political process is driving aid providers to try to learn how to think and act politically.

    Major donors are pursuing explicitly political goals alongside their traditional socioeconomic aims and introducing more politically informed methods throughout their work. Yet these changes face an array of external and internal obstacles, from heightened sensitivity on the part of many aid-receiving governments about foreign political interventionism to inflexible aid delivery mechanisms and entrenched technocratic preferences within many aid organizations.

    This pathbreaking book assesses the progress and pitfalls of the attempted politics revolution in development aid and charts a constructive way forward.

    Contents:

    Introduction

    1. The New Politics Agenda

    The Original Framework: 1960s-1980s

    2. Apolitical Roots

    Breaking the Political Taboo: 1990s-2000s

    3. The Door Opens to Politics

    4. Advancing Political Goals

    5. Toward Politically Informed Methods

    The Way Forward

    6. Politically Smart Development Aid

    7. The Unresolved Debate on Political Goals

    8. The Integration Frontier

    Conclusion

    9. The Long Road to Politics

    eISBN: 978-0-87003-402-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Jessica T. Mathews

    When we think about the noble aim of development assistance—reducing the devastating poverty that cripples the lives of so many people around the world—the idea of a potentially constructive role for politics in this endeavor may at first seem an oxymoron. We are all too familiar with the United States and other aid providers playing politics with aid—channeling large quantities of it to some governments that are unwilling or unable to make good use of it, for domestic reasons or to shore up strategically useful partnerships. And we know how development dollars can fall prey to corruption...

  4. ACkNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    • CHAPTER 1 THE NEW POLITICS AGENDA
      (pp. 3-18)

      Ever since its early years, international development assistance has had an uncertain and uncomfortable relationship with politics. The emergent community of organizations that Western governments set up in the 1950s and 1960s to carry out aid programs in what was then called the Third World embraced a conception of development centered on economic well-being and defined their central mission as fostering economic growth. They initially hoped that economic growth in poor countries would produce political development, which they defined primarily as liberal democracy. That political ambition receded quickly, however, when authoritarianism spread widely in the developing world during the 1960s....

  6. THE ORIGINAL FRAMEWORK:: 1960s–1980s
    • CHAPTER 2 APOLITICAL ROOTS
      (pp. 21-52)

      The idea that politics matter for development appears self-evident today, so much so that it is difficult to believe that development practitioners did not make the issue central to the aid endeavor from the start. Yet practitioners currently pushing their organizations to take politics into account usually find that they must struggle to overturn deeply entrenched organizational habits of avoiding politics or pretending to be apolitical. The new politics proponents tend not to locate the origin of these patterns very precisely. They assume the roots lie in the formative years of modern development aid, the 1950s and 1960s, although the...

  7. BREAKING THE POLITICAL TABOO:: 1990s–2000s
    • CHAPTER 3 THE DOOR OPENS TO POLITICS
      (pp. 55-88)

      After decades of avoiding talking about or acting on political issues, in the early 1990s mainstream aid organizations suddenly changed tack. They began repeatedly emphasizing a close connection between political and economic development, and publicly committing themselves to achieving political goals in the developing world. They held out these new goals, which some framed as improving developing country governance and others as fostering democracy, as being both intrinsically worthwhile and also instrumentally valuable for achieving socioeconomic progress in the places they worked.

      Why after thirty years of a deeply entrenched apolitical approach did the mainstream development community abruptly shift gears...

    • CHAPTER 4 ADVANCING POLITICAL GOALS
      (pp. 89-124)

      The 1990s embrace of political goals in development assistance contributed to a changing aid landscape in the following decade. Donors’ initial tendency to frame their pursuit of strengthening governance in developing countries as a technical undertaking gave way to more openly political conceptions of the task. In addition, more aid providers went beyond governance goals to embrace democracy itself as a core objective. Growing concern with what donors came to label as “fragile states” further raised attention to political issues on the development agenda, with Western policymakers coming to see weak states as not just a develop mental concern but...

    • CHAPTER 5 TOWARD POLITICALLY INFORMED METHODS
      (pp. 125-154)

      As mainstream aid organizations adopted increasingly political goals across the last decade, their operational methods evolved in at least somewhat parallel fashion. Their pursuit of governance, democratic governance, or democracy, especially with a growing emphasis on state-citizen relational values such as participation, accountability, transparency, and inclusiveness, affected not justwhatthey were trying to achieve but also how they hoped to produce change. Development actors realized that to attain these goals, they needed to seek deeper understanding of the local political contexts where they worked, to broaden the range of actors with which they partnered, and to sharpen their efforts...

  8. THE WAY FORWARD
    • CHAPTER 6 POLITICALLY SMART DEVELOPMENT AID?
      (pp. 157-194)

      The opening of the door to politics in the early 1990s proved ground-breaking. Over the course of that decade and the next, the international aid community traveled some distance toward thinking and acting more politically. Most major aid organizations adopted some explicitly political goals alongside their traditional socioeconomic ones. In parallel, they moved partly away from the temptation of the technical to pursue more political methods. Yet despite these changes, it is striking that in the late years of the last decade and continuing through to the present, a chorus of voices emerged among aid practitioners and development scholars calling...

    • CHAPTER 7 THE UNRESOLVED DEBATE ON POLITICAL GOALS
      (pp. 195-224)

      What has the renewed push on politics in the development community meant for the pursuit of political goals? As analyzed in chapter 4, by the end of the last decade most mainstream aid organizations had adopted (at least formally) significant political goals, whether formulated in terms of governance or, more commonly, democratic governance or democracy. Even those that still held just to governance emphasized principles such as participation, inclusion, accountability, and transparency that overlapped substantially with the democratic governance agenda. Some agencies spoke of these principles explicitly as human rights principles. Most aid organizations grounded their adoption of political goals...

    • CHAPTER 8 THE INTEGRATION FRONTIER
      (pp. 225-252)

      The renewed push on politics has led to significant progress in the use of political methods and some rethinking but limited change in the overall place of political goals in development aid. This political movement is also making itself felt in a further way, one that relates to both methods and goals, in the form of efforts within major aid organizations to mainstream political tools and approaches into what are often called traditional sectors of assistance, such as health, education, infrastructure, and agriculture. Aid providers usually refer to these efforts as governance integration, because they entail incorporating governance perspectives and...

  9. CONCLUSION
    • CHAPTER 9 THE LONG ROAD TO POLITICS
      (pp. 255-284)

      The road to politics in development aid—the journey away from early apolitical mindsets and approaches toward the incorporation of political thinking and action into both the goals and methods of assistance—has turned out to be remarkably long. It has stretched on already for at least five decades and an uncertain distance still lies ahead. Important movement has taken place along that road over the last twenty years, movement that may even constitute an unfolding revolution in the development enterprise. After long eschewing a commitment to political goals, the mainstream aid community now widely pursues such objectives alongside its...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 285-318)
  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 319-334)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 335-346)
  13. ABOUT THE AUTHORS
    (pp. 347-348)
  14. CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE
    (pp. 349-350)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 351-351)