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Aid Dependence in Cambodia

Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Aid Dependence in Cambodia
    Book Description:

    International intervention liberated Cambodia from pariah state status in the early 1990s and laid the foundations for more peaceful, representative rule. Yet the country's social indicators and the integrity of its political institutions declined rapidly within a few short years, while inequality grew dramatically. Conducting an unflinching investigation into these developments, Sophal Ear reveals the pernicious effects of aid dependence and its perversion of Cambodian democracy.

    International intervention and foreign aid resulted in higher maternal (and possibly infant and child) mortality rates and unprecedented corruption by the mid-2000s. Similarly, in example after example, Ear finds the more aid dependent a country, the more distorted its incentives to develop sustainably. Contrasting Cambodia's clothing sector with its rice and livestock sectors and internal handling of the avian flu epidemic, he showcases the international community's role in preventing Cambodia from controlling its national development.

    A postconflict state unable to refuse aid, Cambodia is rife with trial-and-error donor experiments and their unintended consequences, such as bad governance and poor domestic and tax revenue performance -- a major factor curbing sustainable, nationally owned growth. By outlining the terms through which countries can achieve better ownership of their development, Ear offers alternatives for governments still on the brink of collapse, despite ongoing dependence on foreign intervention and aid.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53092-7
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    (pp. xix-xxii)
    (pp. 1-14)

    When i came to America in 1986, aged ten, starting seventh grade at Willard Junior High School in Berkeley, California, and not speaking a word of English, one of the first things I did was write a letter to President Ronald Reagan to thank him for fighting Communism. It was in Ms. Morrison’s English as a second language class that I took pen to paper. Of course I didn’t tell her about it. We were in Berkeley, after all. The People’s Republic of Berkeley was the last place to admire anti-Communism, which in large part drove my thinking, but I...

  8. 1 AID DEPENDENCE AND QUALITY OF GOVERNANCE Global Evidence and the Case of Cambodia
    (pp. 15-48)

    Foreign aid has the potential to contribute to good governance in several ways. To the extent that aid is conditioned on government actions to improve governance, it can produce positive change. If aid encompasses technical cooperation focused on elements of good governance, it can also induce reform. And, more generally, if aid succeeds in increasing per capita income and human development, it can afford and enable good governance.¹ Research based on cross-sectional data examining limited dimensions of governance suggests, however, that dependence on foreign aid can undermine institutional quality, weaken accountability, encourage rent-seeking and corruption, foment conflict over control of...

  9. 2 GROWTH WITHOUT DEVELOPMENT The Garment, Rice, and Livestock Sectors in Cambodia
    (pp. 49-86)

    Between 2004 and 2007, Cambodia experienced double-digit per capita gross domestic product (GDP) growth: 10 percent in 2007 and 2004, 11 percent in 2006, and 13 percent in 2005. Simultaneously, it ranked among the worst countries worldwide in terms of governance indicators, coming in at 130 out of 158 in the 2005 Corruption Perception Index (the year it was first ranked), 151 out of 163 in 2006, and 162 out of 179 in 2007. If aid is bad for governance in Cambodia, and if bad governance is in turn bad for development, what explains Cambodia’s rapid economic growth?

    In search...

  10. 3 AN INTERNATIONAL PROBLEM The Cambodian Response to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
    (pp. 87-108)

    In january 2005, Cambodia’s first confirmed victim of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was discovered—in Vietnam. This led to the publication of news accounts critical of Cambodia’s notoriously weak health infrastructure. A March 5Wall Street Journalarticle by James Hookway entitled “In Rural Cambodia, Dreaded Avian Influenza Finds a Weak Spot” related the valiant efforts of Cambodia’s “chief flu-hunter at the cash-strapped Ministry of Health,” whose “emergency budget for educating [Cambodia’s] 13 million people about bird-flu dangers” was a mere $2,500 (Hookway 2005). I argue that such coverage confirmed an extant image of Cambodia as a hapless nation-state,...

  11. 4 SHALLOW DEMOCRACY Human Rights Activism and the International Community
    (pp. 109-132)

    Democratization is generally seen as necessary for the advancement of human rights and freedom of expression. This is particularly true in Cambodia, where the effects of years of civil war continue to permeate every level of society. Nation-building efforts, driven by outside actors over the past few decades, have concentrated on a political approach to democracy assistance (Carothers 2009), in which international aid is directed toward core political processes and institutions, such as elections and politically oriented civil society groups.

    Meanwhile, nonviolent popular protest, opposition unity, youth movements, and election monitoring observed in some countries have served as warning signs;...

    (pp. 133-144)

    Aid dependence, poor governance, growth without development, weak health infrastructure and surveillance, and shallow democracy are five new types of metaphorical hungers felt by Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge maxim that hunger is the most effective disease applies. It is hunger for national ownership instead of aid dependence; hunger for good, or at least good enough, governance instead of misgovernance or malgovernance; hunger for human development instead of merely macroeconomic growth; hunger for livelihoods when emerging and reemerging infectious diseases arise and make lives expendable; and finally, hunger for democracy instead of elections as window dressing. These hungers promise to be...

    (pp. 145-150)
  14. NOTES
    (pp. 151-158)
    (pp. 159-176)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 177-186)