Critical Review - Book Report/Review Example

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In order to receive even the most basic services Africans must pay bribes and go through endless bureaucracy. Western countries to improve living conditions by providing aid. But…
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Critical Book Review
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Download file to see previous pages It is a question that has troubled billions of people since the dawn of time: how should a society construct itself to maximize justice and opportunity? There are as many theories as there are grains of sand on the beach, but some ideas over the years have been more popular than others. Some people believe in socialism and that everyone must be made equal by the government, the tall cut down and the short pulled up; others believe in a meritocracy where those people who have talent and work hard are rewarded for their labours. In Lesotho these questions were asked from a development perspective. How could the lives of this country’s citizens be improved. Many aid agencies attempted to cut down on the corruption and bureaucracy by bringing aid directly to the people; they were trying to bring Lesotho into the 20th century.
James Ferguson’s book is mostly an indictment of this one size fits all development. Ferguson marshals a wide array of research to make his case. He has done a great deal of historical research using both primary and secondary research materials. He is intent on learning why certain key decision makers made the decisions that they did. What motivated the agencies and the Lesotho government to take their respective positions? How did they not see the problems on the horizon that appeared to be so obvious? These are key questions that Ferguson wants to answer. He attempts to do this by analyzing individual decision and following them up the chain to see how they appear in aggregate form. In so doing, he paints a picture of how corruption, politics, and aid works in southern Africa.
While the book is well written, it is a little specific and detail-oriented. Many of the figures written about would be unfamiliar to a contemporary or general audience. Many acronyms are left unexplained. When Ferguson gets into the details of the Lesotho life and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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