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The millennium challenge account: Neo-liberalism, poverty and security1

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March 2002 George W. Bush announced that the new Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) would increase US development assistance by $5 billion per annum. The MCA's goal of 'reducing poverty through growth' was highlighted in the November 2002 National Security Strategy, which elevated development to join defence and diplomacy as one of the three pillars of the 'war on terror'. This paper critiques the crude and dogmatic alignments that the NSS and the MCA draw between neoliberal economic policies, poverty reduction and security. Drawing on an analysis of the first five MCA 'Compacts' with Cape Verde, Honduras, Madagascar, Nicaragua and Georgia, I argue that the newly invigorated security-development paradigm is being used to legitimate more spending on 'development' programmes which are primarily intended to serve the interests of US consumers, manufacturers and investors. Despite the rhetoric, poverty reduction is at best a secondary objective. The paradox of American empire is that its pursuit of economic hegemony through the extension and ever-deepening penetration of neoliberal capitalism (in which the MCA is one small vehicle) precisely undermines the conditions for sustainable profitability, as well as social justice. This analysis suggests that like its military and diplomatic counterparts, the developmental 'pillar' of national security will contribute to the erosion of human and political security for the United States and the rest of the world.
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The millennium challenge account: Neo-liberalism,
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Neo-liberalism, poverty and security1', Review of International Political Economy,
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Review of International Political Economy 14:3 August 2007: 487–509
The millennium challenge account:
Neo-liberalism, poverty and security1
Emma Mawdsley
Department of Geography, Cambridge University, Downing Site, Cambridge
CB2 2EN, UK
ABSTRACT
March 2002 George W. Bush announced that the new Millennium Challenge
Account (MCA) would increase US development assistance by $5 billion per
annum. The MCA’s goal of ‘reducing poverty through growth’ was high-
lighted in the November 2002 National Security Strategy, which elevated
development to join defence and diplomacy as one of the three pillars of the
‘war on terror’. This paper critiques the crude and dogmatic alignments that
the NSS and the MCA draw between neoliberal economic policies, poverty
reduction and security. Drawing on an analysis of the first five MCA ‘Com-
pacts’ with Cape Verde, Honduras, Madagascar, Nicaragua and Georgia, I
argue that the newly invigorated security-development paradigm is being
used to legitimate more spending on ‘development’ programmes which are
primarily intended to serve the interests of US consumers, manufacturers
and investors. Despite the rhetoric, poverty reduction is at best a secondary
objective. The paradox of American empire is that its pursuit of economic
hegemony through the extension and ever-deepening penetration of neolib-
eral capitalism (in which the MCA is one small vehicle) precisely undermines
the conditions for sustainable profitability, as well as social justice. This anal-
ysis suggests that like its military and diplomatic counterparts, the develop-
mental ‘pillar’ of national security will contribute to the erosion of human
and political security for the United States and the rest of the world.
KEYWORDS
Millennium challenge account; poverty; security; neo-liberalism; empire.
INTRODUCTION
The 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States of America elevated
global development to join defence and diplomacy as one of the three pil-
lars of the ‘war on terror’, giving it an explicit role in America’s security
Review of International Political Economy
ISSN 0969-2290 print/ISSN 1466-4526 online C
2007 Taylor & Francis
http://www.tandf.co.uk
DOI: 10.1080/09692290701395742
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REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY
portfolio. As well as re-tuning the military, intelligence and diplomatic
communities to a post-9/11 and WMD-threatened world, the NSS ar-
gued that investing in development was a strategic necessity as well as
a moral imperative. Of course, development issues and foreign aid have
long been linked with US national security in both explicit and veiled ways
(Congressional Budget Office, 1994; Rosenau, 2003; Sogge, 2002), but the
2002 National Security Strategy sets out how the Bush administration re-
formulated and, to some extent, rediscovered this relationship.
Although the NSS is strong on rhetoric, it is low on detail. It is there-
fore all the more interesting that one of the very few initiatives specifically
mentioned as a response to the ‘new’ development-security demand, is the
Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). Bush first announced the MCA in
March 2002 at the International Conference on Financing for Development
in Monterrey. In White House briefings and documentation it was hailed
as the centrepiece of the Bush administration’s new approach to devel-
opment aid. A spokesperson for USAID described the MCA as only the
third Presidential announcement of such significance in relation to for-
eign assistance—the other two being Truman’s Marshall Plan (1947) and
Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress (1961).2Reflecting a broader trendtowards
the securitization of development (see Natsios 2006; and for more critical
views, Duffield, 2005; Fowler, 2005), not only was the MCA highlighted in
the 2002 National Security Strategy, but the MCA Steering Committee was
placed under the direction of the National Security Council. Discussing the
MCA with the press after its announcement, a ‘top advisor’ in the White
House explained:
If you are talking all the time about hunting down terrorists one by
one, you also need a positive message. And that means you have to
be the first to put up new money, to show you are serious about it.
(quoted in Sanger, 2002)
Thus, in his personal forward to the NSS, George W. Bush declared:
The United States will deliver greater development assistance
through the New [sic] Millennium Challenge Account to nations that
govern justly, invest in their people, and encourage economic free-
dom. (NSS, 2002: iii)
This paper explores the MCA in the context of growing concern about
the impacts of 9/11 on development geographies (Duffield, 2005; Fowler,
2005; Thomas, 2001; Woods, 2005); and in relation to debates over a ‘new
imperialism’ (Agnew, 2003; Glassman, 2005; Harvey, 2003). There are two
main threads to the argument. The first is that the location of the MCA
within the post-9/11 poverty-security paradigm was an opportunistic af-
filiation, indeed, a deliberate obfuscation directed at US taxpayers, in part
at the US Congress, and the wider development community. The MCA
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MAWDSLEY: THE MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE ACCOUNT
is not directed towards poverty reduction as it claims (see below), but
to the expansion of US economic hegemony. In this respect, it should be
placed within a longer history of empire through its attempts to actively
reshape the legal, institutional, infrastructural and financial contexts of
poorer countries to better suit US economic interests. As with contentious
domestic legislation (the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act being the
best known), invoking US national security has provided the Bush admin-
istration with the political leverage required in the ‘development’ arena.
The claims to poverty reduction (with concomitant impacts on improv-
ing security) are tenuous in the extreme—the MCA is intended to serve
primarily the interests of US and transnational capitalist elites.
This leads on to the second thread of the argument. The paper suggests
that, regardless of their motivations (implicit in the first thread), both the
NSS and the MCA offer a reductionist and facile construction of the re-
lationships between neoliberal economic growth, poverty reduction and
security. They set up a grossly simplistic set of assumptions regarding
the congruence between these three desired ends, with no suggestion of
any connecting mechanisms, never mind contradictions. While the ex ante
conditionality demanded by the MCA implies at least a minimal com-
mitment to some of the ‘moderating’ elements of the post-Washington
consensus, the Compacts it has drawn up ‘with’ poor and middle income
countries are redolent of the ‘bare knuckle’ neoliberalism that devastated
sub-Saharan Africa, Russia and parts of Latin America over the 1980s and
early 1990s. These policies and programmes fabulously enriched a do-
mestic minority; facilitated the appropriation of national assets for foreign
investors; and laid bare judicial, political and institutional structures to
external manipulation (Harvey, 2005). The NSS purports to argue that ad-
dressing poverty is both a moral and strategic imperative, and foregrounds
the MCA as a major element of this ‘new’ security demand. Paradoxi-
cally, by acting as another vehicle in the armoury of neoliberal capitalism,
the MCA is likely precisely to undermine both human and political secu-
rity, heightening the problems of disease, immigration, drugs, instability
and hostility that the NSS rightly identifies as threats to America and its
‘friends and allies’. Essentially, the NSS and MCA appear wilfully blind
to the many contradictions of neoliberal capitalism. This thread of the pa-
per explores the intellectually impoverished understandings of neoliber-
alism, poverty reduction and security evinced within the 2002 NSS and
MCA.
The next section sketches the ways in which the NSS constructs poverty,
security and neoliberal economic growth, and the relationships between
them. We then move on to a description of the MCA, before coming to a
critical analysis of the MCA’s positioning in relation to US national security,
and how that plays out in terms of economic liberalization and poverty
reduction.
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THE NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY, POVERTY
REDUCTION AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
The events of 9th September 2001 provided the ‘Pearl Harbour’ for the
self-styled ‘Vulcans’ within the Bush administration to accelerate pursuit
of their ambitious agendas (Daalder and Lindsey, 2003; Gibbs, 2004; Halper
and Clarke, 2004; Mann, 2004). In sharp contrast to the conservative foreign
stance adopted by the Bush team during the first election campaign (see
Condoleezza Rice, 2000),3the NSS is a classic exemplar of what is widely
characterized as second-generation neo-conservative language and ideol-
ogy.4Amongst other things, it conflates ‘American’ values with ‘American’
interests, which are in turn declared to be universal values/interests. This
legitimates an expansive global mission because everyone will be better
off under benevolent American hegemony, with the US fittingly benefiting
most of all. The NSS opens with the claim that the struggles of the twenti-
eth century resulted in a decisive victory for the forces of freedom, proving
that there is:
a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy
and free enterprise . . .These values of freedom are right and true for
every person, in every society. (NSS, 2002: i)
It sets out a vision of the US proactively engaged in encouraging, co-opting
and coercing the rest of the world to follow its lead, using military, economic
and diplomatic means.
Today, the United States enjoys a position of unparalleled military
strength and great economic and political influence. In keeping with
our heritage and principles, we do not use our strength to press for
unilateral advantage . . . We will defend the peace by fighting terror-
ists and tyrants. We will preserve the peace by building good relations
among the great powers. We will extend the peace by encouraging
free and open societies on every continent. (NSS, 2002: i)
While it aims to ‘work with others’ and ‘strengthen alliances to defeat
global terrorism’, it is not afraid to go it alone, or to reject other elements
of multilateralism and international law when they fail to recognize the le-
gitimacy of American exceptionalism. In an article that otherwise cautions
against the exaggerated and caricatured representations of the role of the
neoconservatives in the Bush administration, Max Boot (2004) says:
The ambitious National Security Strategy . .. with its call for U.S. pri-
macy, the promotion of democracy, and vigorous action, preemp-
tive if necessary, to stop terrorism and weapons proliferation—was a
quintessentially neoconservative document.
The NSS identifies a number of development issues that threaten US na-
tional security, and which constitute both moral and strategic imperatives
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MAWDSLEY: THE MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE ACCOUNT
for action. These centre on poverty, weak institutions and poor governance,
which give rise to problems of terrorism, disease, drugs, immigration, in-
stability and conflict. These threaten the military and economic goals of
the US; adversely affect the well-being of its individual citizens; and have
deleterious impacts for the poor and for low-income countries. Although
these problems are not bound within territorial states, the NSS identifies
weak and failing states as a key locus of threat. Whereas past enemies were
composed of great powers with industrial capabilities, fleets and battalions:
The events of September 11, 2001, taught us that weak states, like
Afghanistan, can pose as great a danger to our national interests as
strong states. (NSS, 2001: ii)
America faces a ‘shadowy networks of individuals [that] can bring
great chaos and suffering to our shores for less than it costs to pur-
chase a single tank. (NSS, 2001: i)
Poverty does not make poor people into terrorists and murderers.
Yet poverty, weak institutions, and corruption can make weak states
vulnerable to terrorist networks and drug cartels within their borders.
(NSS, 2001: ii)
Much of the criticism of the NSS’s approach to security and development
has focussed on this weak states/terror dimension (e.g. Crocker, 2003;
Englehart, 2004). It is worth briefly recapitulating these debates, in or-
der to get a sense of the incoherent policy thinking that I will argue also
characterizes the NSS and MCA’s positioning of poverty reduction. First,
as Radelet (2003a: 185) observes, the NSS is ‘notable both for its emphasis
on failed states as a foreign policy concern and for the complete absence
of a strategy for dealing with them’ (see also Rice, 2003).5Second, there is
a tension between the territorial focus beloved of traditional international
relations, and the identification of transnational/stateless threats, some-
thing that is not fully resolved in the NSS (Langmore, 2004), and is evident
in subsequent military interventions (Woodward, 2003; Elden, 2005) Third,
the connection between terrorism, political repression, poverty and weak
states is over-stated. While various groups can and do exploit the desper-
ation of poverty, and make use of weak or non-existent security and gov-
ernance in poorer countries, many terrorists/insurgents come from the
educated, middle classes, and even democratic contexts, as the London
bombs tragically demonstrated.
If weak states are dealt with problematically, what about the wider issues
of poverty? Here the NSS argues that the security imperatives are joined by
the demands of compassion. The most progressive statement in the entire
document starts the section on ‘expanding the circle of development by
opening societies and building the infrastructure of democracy’:
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A world where some live in comfort and plenty, while half of the hu-
man race lives on less than $2 a day, is neither just nor stable. Including
all of the world’s poor in an expanding circle of development—and
opportunity—is a moral imperative and one of the top priorities of
U.S. international policy. (NSS, 2002: 21)
However, as the statement suggests and the rest of the document encapsu-
lates, the development approach envisaged is that of expanding the circle of
development—a subtle, but critical distinction from a commitment to poverty
reduction. The way in which the NSS proposes to achieve this is by ignit-
ing ‘a new era of global economic growth through free markets and free
trade’.6This is supported with near religious fervour:
The concept of ‘free trade’ arose as a moral principle even before it
became a pillar of economics. (NSS, 2002: 18)
Policies that further strengthen market incentives and market institu-
tions are relevant for all economies—industrialized countries, emerg-
ing markets, and the developing world. (NSS, 2002: 17)
To be clear about this, the US has always placed prosperity at the core of
its national security. Historically, the US recognized that its own increasing
wealth and power depended on the prosperity of others—to provide mar-
kets for US goods, to supply resources to US consumers and manufactur-
ers and, increasingly, to provide outlets for profitable capitalist investment
(Harvey, 2003; Soederberg, 2004a). Bush’s 2002 NSS does nothing new by
declaring that US national interest is served by promoting economic growth
and stability in the rest of the world. One of the three core objectives laid
out in Clinton’s 1998 National Security Strategy is ‘To bolster America’s
economic prosperity’, through, amongst other things, encouraging an open
system of trading, enhancing access to foreign markets and strengthening
macroeconomic coordination. The difference is that the 2002 NSS presents
economic liberalization and poverty reduction as completely congruent,
indeed, practically synonymous. The relationship is not critically prose-
cuted in any way, and nor is the next segue into national security. We are
confronted with a simple set of alignments, but none of the connecting
mechanisms: neoliberal economic growth =poverty reduction =national
security. The confidence, fervour and superficiality that characterizes the
NSS is captured in this statement:
The United States will stand by any nation determined to build a
better future by seeking the rewards of liberty for its people. Freetrade
and free markets have proven their ability to lift whole societies out
of poverty—so the United States will work with individual nations,
entire regions, and the entire global trading community to build a
world that trades in freedom and therefore grows in prosperity. (NSS,
2002: iii)
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The 35 million Americans who live in poverty, most of them working,
often full-time (Langmore, 2004) may wonder to which ‘whole societies’
the NSS is referring? Although Clinton’s 1998 Security Strategy is also
powerfully neoliberal in its assumptions and prescriptions, it does at least
rhetorically note ‘great challenges’ as well as ‘immense opportunities’ in
an increasingly deregulated global economy (27). It recognizes that the
most vulnerable segments of society must be protected from the brunt of
the burden of adjustment; the need for the protection of labour rights; and
it argues for a substantial increase in the share of resources devoted to
basic social programmes that reduce poverty. Other mainstream develop-
ment institutions have started to concede that neoliberal economic policies
and conditions can have negative consequences. DFID, which in its 2000
White Paper firmly committed itself to neo-liberal solutions to poverty, is
more recently prepared to admit that this results in some losses and losers,
risks and vulnerabilities. Even though DFID adheres strictly to the view
of benign ‘globalisation’ (by which they mean neoliberalism), it at least
recognizes to some extent that it plays out in uneven and contradictory
ways (Slater and Bell, 2002). The NSS, on the other hand, makes just one
reference to a negative or unequal outcome of global liberalization of any
kind,7and even this is viewed as a transitional problem rather than struc-
tural outcome, and is directed solely towards US workers—not at the poor
of emerging markets or low-income countries, who must also weather the
impacts of trade liberalization. Thus, a paragraph on helping domestic
workers and industries to adjust mentions the transitional safeguards that
the US has set in place for its agricultural and steel sectors, which:
help ensure that the benefits of free trade do not come at the expense of
American workers. Trade adjustment assistance will help [American]
workers adapt to the change and dynamism of open markets (NSS,
2002: 19).
This is a hollow promise for many low-income US workers (Kotz, 2003),
but one for which the poor in emerging and developing countries do not
even qualify. This is no defence of the Clinton adminstrations’ record in
relation to domestic or foreign neoliberal policies. Like many other di-
mensions of foreign policy (including exceptionalism, unilateralism and
military aggression) there are strong continuities of ideology and practice
between the Clinton and Bush regimes There is, nonetheless, a significant
shift in the degree, context and rhetoric, which do mark a qualitative shift
in style and approach under Bush.
As we shall see, these simplistic assumptions around economic growth,
poverty reduction and security are also articulated by the MCA. Before
analysing these parallels and connections in more detail, the next section
will outline very briefly the main features of the Millennium Challenge
Account.
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THE MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE ACCOUNT
The MCA is run by a new agency called the Millennium Challenge Cor-
poration, based in Washington. It is intended to have a relatively small
staff, and a Cabinet level Board, chaired by the Secretary of State, currently
Condoleezza Rice. Other members of the Board are the Secretary of the
Treasury, the US Trade Representative, the USAID Administrator (an ap-
pointment only made after some pressure from US civil society groups), the
President of the Catholic Relief Service, and one other member, Christine
Todd Whitman, former head of the Environment Protection Agency and
something of a dissenting Republican (Whitman, 2005). In its terms of refer-
ence and functioning the Corporation (as its name suggests) is run as close
to a privatized model of government service as possible. In his remarks
to the Board of Directors meeting in November 2004, former Secretary of
State Colin Powell noted that they were seeking to employ people with ex-
tensive private sector experience, and that ‘we are attempting to minimise
our head count overall by subcontracting out all . . . services that are not
core to our mission’ (Powell, 2004). Paul Applegarth, the first CEO, told
journalist Glenn Kessler that ‘. ..we are not creating a bureaucracy. We are
more modelled on a personal services firm’ (Kessler, 2004).
Together with a number of other initiatives,8the MCA appears to halt,
if not quite reverse, the decline in American overseas aid that occurred
over the 1990s, whether measured in absolute terms or as a percentage of
GDP (Tarnoff and Nowels, 2004). At Monterrey, Bush announced that by
2005 the MCA would command $5 billion per annum, a sum that roughly
doubles America’s non-military development aid,9although it continues
to have the lowest ODA/GNI ratio in the OECD’s Development Assistance
Committee (OECD, 2002). The headlining slogan of the MCA is ‘Reducing
Poverty Through Growth’, and its underlying principle is to pick winners.
Here the MCA is part of an emerging trend towards ‘pull’ (or ex ante)
conditionality rather than ‘push’ (ex post) conditionality, whereby recipi-
ents must demonstrate that they have met the required certain achieve-
ments before receiving disbursements (Radelet, 2005).10 This represents a
departure from the more traditional cycle of extracting promises, handing
over the money, promises not kept, extracting promises, handing over the
money and so on. It is intended to be more effective in ensuring condi-
tions are honoured, and encourage greater ‘ownership’ by the recipients.
In order to qualify for MCA funding eligible countries must show demon-
strable achievements in 16 indicators, which fall into three categories:
promoting economic freedom, ruling justly, and investing in people (see
Table 1).
Countries have to score above the median in at least half of the indi-
cators in each of the three categories. The one non-negotiable indicator is
corruption—regardless of whether the other indicators are met, if a country
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Table 1 Qualification criteria: performance indicators and source of ratings (FY
2005)11
Indicator Monitoring agency
Ruling justly
Control of corruption World Bank Institute
Voice and accountability World Bank Institute
Government effectiveness World Bank Institute
Rule of law World Bank Institute
Civil liberties Freedom House
Political freedom Freedom House
Investing in people
Public primary education spending as %
of GDP
National governments
Primary girl’s education completion rate World Bank and UNESCO
Public expenditure on health as % of GDP National governments
Immunization rate World Health Organisation
Economic freedom
Inflation Must be below 15%. Sources: multiple
Fiscal policy National governments and IMF
World Economic Outlook
Trade policy The Heritage Foundation, Index of
Economic Freedom
Regulatory policy World Bank Institute
Days to start a business World Bank
Inflation Must be below 15%. Sources: multiple
falls below the corruption median it will, in theory, be disqualified. To sim-
plify a rather complex and, in its formative early years, slightly shifting
selection process, the Millennium Challenge Corporation first sets out a
‘long list’ of countries whose income levels fall below a specified cut-off
point. In 2004, its first operational year, these were the seventy or so poor-
est countries (with per capita GNP’s below $1415) who qualify to borrow
from the World Bank’s International Development Association,12 minus
those countries which, for various reasons, are proscribed by the United
States.13 This maximum GNP was raised in the third year to include Lower
Middle Income Countries, with a per capita annual GNP below $3035. The
calculation of the medians and how individual countries score on them
is rendered relatively transparent by relying on publicly available rank-
ings and figures derived from a number of organizations, including the
World Bank and Heritage Foundation. This is meant primarily to empha-
sise the objectivity and political neutrality of the process, and also act as
an encouragement and information source for those countries which wish
to work towards eligibility.14 Eligible countries do not automatically get
funding, but must then apply for it with specific proposals to the Board,
and one of the MCA’s key claims is that, having proved themselves by
meeting the performance indicators, recipient countries have significant
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ownership and responsibility over the ‘Compacts’ that are agreed. These
are expected to run for three to five years, and provide very substantial
levels of resource. The MCA aims for a ‘hands off’ approach, although it is
responsible for monitoring implementation and progress towards targets,
and ensuring fiscal accountability measures (MCC website; Radelet, 2003b;
see the Center for Global Development website for detailed and regularly
updated reports).
Supporters of the MCA claim that potential benefits and improvements
include increased US development assistance; improved transparency
of allocation; greater ownership by recipient countries; distancing from
geopolitical objectives; results-based lending and improved effectiveness;
and that by going to countries with a track record in good governance, the
funds are less likely to be utilized in corrupt ways. Critics, both ‘friendly’
and more radical have pointed to a number of problems. These include
the choice and construction of the particular performance indicators; their
monitoring and measurement by neoliberal, American and American-
dominated institutions;15 the use of medians as a hurdle for inclusion
(Kaufmann and Kray, 2002; Palley, 2003); the exclusion of countries for
which data on all the performance indicators does not exist (Nowel, 2005);
problems with data accuracy and reliability;16 the likely problem of MCC
under-staffing, and perhaps a somewhat parasitical reliance on USAID
country staff (Centre for Global Development, 2002); staff with limited ex-
perience of overseas and development issues (American Foreign Service
Association, 2003); the contribution of the MCC to an incoherent prolif-
eration of US aid institutions and streams (Cronin, 2004); issues over the
appropriate length of time commitment to the MCA recipients (Clemens
and Radelet, 2003); the threat of ‘geopolitical creep’ in the choice of coun-
tries; how its assumption compares with DFID’s ‘drivers of change’ model
(Chhotray and Hulme, 2006); and the struggles to secure the full Presi-
dential budget requests as they make their way through Congress and the
Senate. All of these are important issues, and are the subject of ongoing
debate and lobbying by academics, politicians, civil society actors and bu-
reaucrats. However, the purpose of this paper is not to give an overall
account of these debates. Rather, it is to examine the role and place of the
MCA within the Bush administration’s approach to neoliberal economic
growth, poverty reduction and security.
THE MCA: WHERE IS THE POVERTY REDUCTION?
The MCA is curiously bifurcated. On the one hand its sixteen qualifica-
tion criteria suggest that it has embraced the somewhat more moderate
principles of post-Washington consensus neoliberalism—markets require
healthy institutions; stability and growth are promoted by good gover-
nance and a strong civil society; some provision must be made for the most
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marginalized and vulnerable sections of society; and one size does not fit
all. On the other hand, the substantive content of the MCA’s Compacts em-
body the highly discredited tenets of unyielding market fundamentalism
in which the only hope for the poor is trickle-down. In this section, we will
first examine the weak fit between poverty reduction goals and the selec-
tion of countries and poverty. Second is an examination of the Compacts
drawn up with Cape Verde, Honduras, Madagascar, Nicaragua, and most
recently, Georgia.
Selection of eligible countries
The focus on picking winners means that there are both active and pas-
sive exclusions of some poor countries. First, the MCA is evidently not
directed towards the failed and fragile states that the NSS identifies as sig-
nificant threats to American national security. Countries like Afghanistan
are not remotely likely to qualify for assistance under this scheme given
their comprehensive failures in achieving the MCA’s criteria on economic
freedom, ruling justly, and investing in people. Moreover, many ‘rogue’
states with significant poor populations are legally debarred from receiv-
ing American aid, including Burma and Zimbabwe. More ‘passively’, the
qualification criteria developed by the MCA mean that countries with very
high poverty rates (such as Lesotho) are not specifically targeted, nor are
those with high absolute numbers in poverty (such as India). However,
these decisions can perhaps be justified within the terms of reference of
the MCA (picking winners, aid effectiveness, encouragement to threshold
countries etc), and given that the MCA is just one of a wide range of pro-
grammes and agencies, which have different objectives and which work
in around 150 countries (Tarnoff and Nowels, 2004).
Less justifiable in the eyes of many critics, is the decision to raise the
GDP eligibility threshold from the IDA countries to the lower middle-
income countries. InterAction (2003a) argue that expanding the pool to
lower middle income countries (with annual per capita GDP from $1435 to
$2975) will drastically limit the resources available to the very poorest (and
this is in the context of repeated failures to secure the full $5 billion from
Congress).17 Although the MCC has said that the two sets of countries will
compete with their peers and not with each other, the overall basket will
be reduced. Radelet (2003b) and many others argue that the development
disparities between IDA and LMIC countries (which already receive 40%
of US development assistance) are very significant, and offer the following
statistics (Table 2).
These issues over the choice of MCA eligibility and qualification raise
serious concerns about the extent to which the MCA is genuinely concerned
with poverty reduction, and thus—in the formulation of the NSS—with
enhancing security.
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Table 2 Development indicators of IDA and LMI countries
Development indicator IDA countries LMI countries
Average GPD/per capita $460 $1965
Average adult illiteracy rate 33% 14%
Average infant mortality rate (per 1000 live
births)
69 27
Flows of private capital (% of GDP) 8.7% 10.3%
Capacity to raise tax revenue 12.6% 21.8%
Savings (% of GDP) 8.4% 16.2%
Derived from Radelet (2003b).
The MCA compacts
By April 2005, the MCC had received proposals from 16 of the 17 countries
which qualified that year (out of some 70 or so eligible IDA countries), and
from all of the countries eligible for the Threshold Programme (Radelet
and Dizolele, 2005). By August 2005 the MCA had signed four Compacts,
with Cape Verde, Honduras, Madagascar and Nicaragua, and approved a
fifth with Georgia. To reiterate, if a country is declared eligible for MCA
funding by meeting the criteria it is then invited to enter into negotiations
with the MCA. The MCA has made much of the fact that it does not intend
to dictate to partners, but wishes to ensure stakeholder support and country
ownership. This is articulated in its third key principle:
Operate as Partners: Working closely with the MCC, countries that re-
ceive MCA assistance will be responsible for identifying the greatest
barriers to their own development, ensuring civil society participa-
tion, and developing an MCA program. MCA participation will re-
quire a high-level commitment from the host government. Each MCA
country will enter into a public Compact with the MCC that includes
a multi-year plan for achieving development objectives and identi-
fies the responsibilities of each partner in achieving those objectives.
(MCC website)
But a reading of the Compact fact sheets placed on the MCC website sug-
gests a different scenario. The individual compacts are remarkably similar.
It would appear that every single country independently identified agribusi-
ness, rural entrepreneurial development, and transport infrastructure as
their key priorities. There is little deviation from this blueprint. The Com-
pact with the most originality is that for Georgia, although this too focuses
on agribusiness, entrepreneurial opportunities and road rehabilitation. In
addition, however, Georgia’s Compact also includes $60 million to fund
‘regional and municipal infrastructure’ covering water supply, sanitation,
irrigation, municipal gasification, roads and solid waste in regions outside
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Tiblisi; and a plan to rehabilitate the North-South Gas Pipeline. A few ex-
amples give a flavour of the identical tone and approach of each Compact:
Honduras enjoys a comparative advantage in horticulture given its
rich growing conditions, year-long growing season, and close prox-
imity to U.S. markets. Despite this advantage, Honduran farmers
predominantly grow basic grains because horticultural crops require
more sophisticated techniques and infrastructure for both their pro-
duction and marketing. In addition, lack of access to credit makes in
more difficult for farmers to meet the higher working capital require-
ments of horticultural crops, and poor transportation infrastructure
increases the costs of getting crops to market and inputs to the farm
gate. (Honduras Fact Sheet, 2005: 2)
The Government of Nicaragua (GON) presented MCC with a strat-
egy to achieve economic growth and poverty reduction by building
the productive capacity of the departments of Leon and Chinandega,
a region with proven growth potential due to its fertile land and con-
nection to international markets. After extensive consultations, the
Nicaraguans identified insecure property rights, under-developed
infrastructure, and low-value rural business activity as the greatest
barriers to growth, and developed a proposal to address them with
MCA assistance. (Nicaragua Fact Sheet, 2005: 1)
The Georgians identified two barriers to poverty reduction and eco-
nomic growth in the regions outside of Tiblisi—a lack of reliable
infrastructure and the slow development of business, particularly
agribusiness. To address these impediments, the people of Georgia,
through a broad consultative process, developed a program focussed
on rehabilitating regional infrastructure and enterprise development.
(Georgia Fact Sheet, 2005: 1)
The MCC demands that in formulating the Compact proposals the recipi-
ent governments must undertake a consultation process that brings in civil
society, the private sector and any other relevant stakeholders. I have no
evidence regarding the rigour and inclusiveness, or otherwise, of the five
consultation processes. Each country fact sheet gives a rather bland as-
surance that this went ahead and that minor suggestions aside, everyone
agreed. However, ‘consultative’ and ‘participatory’ processes and meet-
ings organized by governments and donor organizations are now standard
practice, but are often little more than rubber-stamping exercises from the
‘domesticated’ end of the civil society spectrum.18 I would speculate that
the MCA consultations were not quite as inclusive, open or responsive as
suggested in the official literature. Essentially, it strains one’s credulity to
believe that they all came up with the same uncontested set of ideas. As for
the political and business elites, courted assiduously and with considerable
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pomp by the MCC and US establishment, their compliance is likely to arise
from cooption and self-interest. So the first observation is that despite ref-
erence to the eligible countries determining their own priorities, it is clear
that in those high level meetings the Millennium Challenge Corporation
sets out very close guidance indeed on what comprises an ‘acceptable’ set
of objectives.
The second observation concerns the content of the programmes them-
selves, hinted at in the quotes above. My critique here is not that they
are simply powerfully neoliberal in their assumptions, strategies and
objectives—that is to be expected. Privatization, user fees, deregulation,
competitive tendering for public services, enterprise development, the
promotion of export-led growth, public–private partnerships, and ef-
forts to improve the ‘investment climate’ are all standard policies within
mainstream development. Again, to give a flavour of the content and
tone:
The [Madagascan] Program activities are largely focused on promot-
ing investment opportunities through unleashing the rural private
sector ... A number of Program activities will be reinforced by a sys-
tem of graduated user fees for services, including land titling, regis-
tration, credit reporting, banking services, and technical assistance.
(Madagasar Fact Sheet, 2005: 7)
The Cape Verde MCA programme will assist Cape Verde in achieving
its overall development goal of transforming its economy from one
of aid-dependency to one of competitive, private sector-led growth.
(Cape Verde Fact Sheet, 2005: 10)
The $32.5 million Georgia Regional Development Fund will support
a ‘professionally—and independently—managed investment fund
to provide long-term risk capital and technical assistance to SMEs,
primarily in regions outside of Tiblisi, and will identify legal and pol-
icy reforms needed to improve the investment. (Georgia Fact Sheet,
2005: 1)
The MCA will offer assistance to ‘further develop and implement the Geor-
gian government’s energy sector strategy’ (1). In doing so, it will be joining
USAID, which is already offering support to the government of Georgia
in:
. . . developing and implementing both market-friendly policies and
a regulatory framework helps move state-owned utilities toward be-
coming private entities . . . USAID also helped the Ministry [of En-
ergy] to draft a new energy law and revise its energy policy to pro-
vide clear guidance to the rest of the government and energy sector
stakeholders. (USAID, 2005b)
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Cape Verde is now expected to privatize it ports by 2006, one of which
is being rehabilitated with MCA funds. Commenting on the commitment
secured from the Cape Verde government to introduce water pricing:
This . . .is a major policy breakthrough that no other donor has been
able to achieve. (Cape Verde Fact Sheet, 2005: 7)
These strategies and objectives are predictable.19 Rather, my critique is that,
like the NSS, the MCA Compacts adhere to a crude and untenably one-
sided version of neoliberalism which recognizes no trade-offs, losers, costs
(transitional or structural) or risks. It is less the approach and content of the
programmes outlined that is the issue here, more what is not said, what is
off the agenda. Specifically, (1) there is no acknowledgement that economic
growth might promote inequality, or that it is likely to disproportionately
reward particular social and political groups; (2) there is no reference at
all to any shorter or longer term risks associated with neoliberal growth
strategies, such as vulnerability to market fluctuations and other external
shocks, or declining terms of trade for commodities; (3) there is no men-
tion of northern protectionism and unequal access to markets; and (4) there
is no mention of sovereignty, despite the MCC’s direct interventions and
indirect influence in reforming legal/regulatory systems. Overall, there is
absolutely no recognition of any negative impacts of any variety whatsoever, with
the sole exception of one sentence in the Honduras Compact, which notes
that a small number of people will face displacement as a result of one of
the infrastructure projects (we are assured that they will be properly re-
settled). As noted above, even strong supporters of neoliberal development
strategies such as the World Bank and DFID are prepared to acknowledge
that globalization (used in this context interchangeably with neoliberal eco-
nomic strategies) plays out in uneven ways. The MCA Compacts, however,
appear to represent complete denial—the lessons from Bolivia, Russia, the
former Yugoslavia and most of sub-Saharan Africa, to name just a few, are
resolutely ignored. This may in part arise from the MCC’s Board20 and
staffing profile. As Radelet and Dizolele (2005) note:
The MCC has placed a priority on hiring staff with fresh ideas from
the private sector, complemented by professionals with government
experience. . .. there appear to be relatively few with strong expertise
in economic development. (3)
None of the Compacts offers any detail on exactly how, in the absence
of any redistributive and/or welfare programmes these projects will lead
to meaningful poverty reduction. Each Compact fact sheet simply states
that poverty will fall as a result of the economic growth that is expected
to follow programme implementation. Again, this can happen, and it may
happen—but there is enough evidence, credible even within mainstream
development circles—to demonstrate that it doesn’t always happen (Lucas
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and Timmer, 2005; Norton and Conlin, 2000). That these policies will result
in economic growth, and that this will in turn result in poverty reduction
is simply taken as granted. The Madagascan Compact, for example, in-
cludes a table detailing the fifteen major Project Activities across its three
substantive programme elements; sixteen Measures by which these will be
quantitatively assessed; and eleven Estimated Targets by which the success
or failure of the Compact will be judged. Not one of them focuses directly
on poverty reduction, or even to an aggregate rise in household incomes.
At best, one could say that the MCA is ‘post-Washington consensus-lite’
through its ex-ante conditionality. Even in this respect, it is worth bearing
in mind that the median for health expenditure in the poorest countries in
FY2005 is 1.74% of GDP; the median for expenditure on primary education
is 1.84%. Neither is particularly progressive or challenging to a government
seeking to cross the eligibility threshold. Moreover, the inclusion of lim-
ited ‘social well-being’ indicators in the qualifying criteria (the ‘investing
in people’ category) appears to be based primarily on an instrumentalist
logic. This is captured neatly in an interview with Earl Anthony Wayne,
Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs in December 2004.21
He explained how the formulation of the MCA was based on an assessment
of what successful countries had done right. He states:
Those countries that have taken off are countries that have gotten their
own economic system running. They’ve traded with others. Their
entrepreneurs have grown. They’ve gotten foreign investment... . Of
course, you can’t do that unless you’ve educated people and they’re
healthy.
The Compacts suggest that when it comes to substantive content, poverty
reduction is at best a derivative outcome, for which no specific provision
or planning is needed.
CONCLUSIONS
A huge array of evidence, not just from radical critics but also from within
the mainstream development establishment, demonstrates that crude ne-
oliberal development approaches can result in greater poverty, inequality,
instability and even conflict, eroding human and political security (Stiglitz,
2002). While radical and mainstream critics disagree very significantly
on the extent, the exact causes and the appropriate responses to the un-
even and contradictory outcomes of neoliberal globalization, there is at
least greater or lesser acknowledgement of its negative face—something
that is singularly missing from both the 2002 National Security Strategy
and the Millennium Challenge Account. Both set out a grossly inept un-
derstanding of the relationships between poverty, economic growth and
security. Paradoxically, as the MCC pursues its agenda of privatization,
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deregulation, opening markets and encouraging export-led growth, un-
encumbered by any recognition of costs, risks or inequalities, or of how
economic growth will translate into poverty reduction, it is liable to result
in heightened poverty and insecurity. While ‘development’ may have been
elevated to join defence and diplomacy as one of the three legs of the US’s
security strategy, one can argue that in this present iteration it is being
handled just as incompetently as its military and diplomatic counterparts
(Bacevich, 2002; Gregory, 2004). This is not to say there will be no benefits
for the poor. Although the MCA is going to disproportionately advantage
US and other overseas capitalist investors, domestic elites and northern
consumers, it is likely to raise the incomes of some poor people in some
places. In pursuit of the eligibility criteria, some threshold governments
may make a concerted effort to get more girls enrolled at primary school;
ordinary people will profit from improved transport connections. But the
MCA Compacts are also likely to result in increased inequality, worsening
opportunities for those amongst the poor and marginalized unable to pay
their user fees, a loss of sovereignty and reduced accountability to citizens
(not just customers), labour deregulation, increased profit flows to rich
investors, and greater vulnerability to capricious world markets in com-
modities and finances. Englehart (2004) concludes that the MCC mostly
neglects its stated goals of reducing poverty and promoting security by
creating goodwill and stability, but maximizes the objective of creating
foreign markets for US goods. The ‘blowback’ (Johnson, 2000) from the
MCA and other ‘development’ initiatives is unlikely to be as assured, hor-
rific or visible as that from US misadventures in Iraq, Afghanistan and
elsewhere, but it is one factor in the creation of an increasingly unequal,
unjust and angry world.
How does this analysis speak to debates over empire? I would suggest
that it cautions us against over-determining the impacts of 9/11 or the
‘war on terror’. A number of commentators suggest that although the at-
tacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were critical events,
the Bush administration’s response exposed an older reality rather than
spoke to a new one. The imperial hubris, the inflated fear and construc-
tion of the ‘Other’, US exceptionalism, unilateralism, and a willingness to
use military and economic means to pacify, control and exploit sovereign
countries all have a long American history, under both Democrat and Re-
publican regimes (Bacevich, 2002; Kaplan 2002). The analysis of the MCA
presented here also points to more continuity than change. In this case, the
newly invigorated security-development paradigm provided the admin-
istration with an opportunity to legitimate its ongoing pursuit of economic
hegemony with reference to global security through poverty reduction. But
the MCA is better located in an accelerated privatization and investment
agenda, which is being pursued through both bilateral and multilateral
institutions. The US has long dominated the World Trade Organisation to
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this end, while more recently the Bush administration has been the main
architect of the World Bank’s Private Sector Development (PSD) strategy,
for which Wolfowitz is sure to show further support. Amongst other things
this seeks to accelerate the outsourcing of basic services (health, education,
water) to NGOs and private contractors on a commercial basis; as well as
infrastructure and energy provision to larger investors.
But, a final word. Initiatives such as the MCA can be interpreted in terms
of weakness rather than strength. In a detailed and insightful analysis
Soederberg (2004) locates the MCA as part of the response to US financial
vulnerability—particularly the federal deficit and the 2000 dot com crash—
and the threat to profitable overseas investment resulting from poverty,
instability and poor governance. The MCA is one tool of economic empire
in that it seeks to open up economies in ways that meet the interests of US
consumers, exporters and investors. As Soederberg points out, this pursuit
of economic hegemony through the extension and ever-deepening pene-
tration of neoliberal capitalism—of which the MCA is one small vehicle—
precisely undermines the conditions for sustainable profitability, as well
as social justice. The strategy of ‘economic growth for poverty reduction’
as envisaged within the National Security Strategy, and operationalized
by the Millennium Challenge Account, is, for reasons argued here, only
very weakly—and perhaps negatively—correlated with human and po-
litical security. In the meantime, the costs are born by the world’s poor
and vulnerable—US steelworkers and Honduran small farmers on the one
hand; Iraqi police recruits and London commuters on the other.
NOTES
1 I would like to thank the three anonymous reviewers and the editors of RIPE for
their extremely rigorous and helpful comments. Thanks also to Giles Mohan
and Alan Ingram.
2 Symbolically, US Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, chose the 5 June 2002, the
55th anniversary of the announcement of the Marshall Plan, to deliver an ad-
dress at Georgetown University on the Millennium Challenge Account.
3 A pattern repeated in the second election campaign when Bush again adopted
a moderate, modest foreign posture, which was followed by a more aggressive
and expansionist view of the US’s place in the world once he regained the
White House (McManus, 2005).
4 The term ‘neconservative’ has morphed over time, and been haphazardly ap-
plied in both normative and theoretical contexts. It remains, I believe, a valid
and valuable term for thinking about some of the complex shifts and conti-
nuities in US politics. See Norton (2004); Hurst (2005); Daalder and Lindsay
(2003)
5 It is only more recently that there has been a greater focus on non-military
failed states initiatives e.g. USAID (2005a) Fragile States Strategy.
6 Throughout the document, this goal of economic liberalization is run together
with ‘building the infrastructure of democracy’. Unfortunately, there is space
here only to prosecute the economic element.
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7 This Panglossian take on the economics of globalization stands in sharp contrast
to the picture of an anarchic political world in an era of globalization, full of
trans-nationalized threats from evil and/or irrational actors. Langmore (2004)
talks of the ‘paranoia’ evident within the NSS. For other examples, see Kagan
and Kristol (2000) and Kagan (2003).
8 These include the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI); the US Emergency Fund
for Complex Foreign Crises; PEPFAR and many others.
9 Although this calculation is complicated by how development aid is first de-
fined, and then identified and tracked within Account 150. It is also complicated
by significant inconsistencies in data on secular trends in foreign aid and its
components. These problems are expertly analysed by Birdsall et al. (2003), who
nevertheless conclude that it is possible to derive trends and patterns with an
acceptable degree of confidence.
10 Another example is the World Bank’s Country Policy and Institutional Assess-
ment score. See also the report of the Congressional Budget Office (1997) on
the role and improving the effectiveness of foreign aid.
11 These have adjusted slightly since they were first proposed (Nowels, 2005).
The education indicator was shifted to specify girls; the inflation level was
dropped from 20 to 15%; and there is more input from national governments.
An environmental indicator is currently under discussion.
12 The figures change slightly from year to year. They have not been adjusted in
this paper.
13 Reasons for ineligibility to receive US foreign assistance (unless specially sanc-
tioned), include when an elected head of government has been deposed in a
coup; not cooperating with counter-narcotics efforts; countries that are on the
terrorist list; and countries that are in arrears on debt.
14 In May 2004 the Board set up a Threshold Programme for those countries who
just missed the criteria.
15 Since this criticism was raised, national governments have been offered more
of a role in measuring performance, as reflected in Table 1.
16 For a valuable analysis of the problems of this sort of data gathering and ranking
exercise (here in relation to assessing the ‘investment climate’ for Foreign Direct
Investment), see Perry-Kessaris (2003).
17 A different criticism is that the LMICs include many traditional strategic allies,
such as Jordan, Egypt, Colombia and Turkey. Some commentators suggest that
this may encourage ‘geopolitical creep’, thus compromising the ‘neutrality’
claim of the MCA. For discussions, see Lucas and Radelet (2004); Centre on
Budget and Policy Priorities, Centre for Global Development, and Bread for
the World (2004); Schaeffer and Pasicolan (2003).
18 See, for example, Mantham Adhyayan Kendra et al. (2004) on the shortcomings
of a recent World Bank consultation in India.
19 Although it is striking that in the publicly available ‘Guidance for de-
veloping proposals for MCA assistance in FY2004’, the illustrative exam-
ple of how to present the proposal uses education as its program goal,
and literacy rates, enrolment/attendance and teacher test scores as example
indicators.
20 In his history of the ‘Vulcans’, Mann (2004: 224) notes an episode in 1992, when
Robert Zoellick, then Undersecretary of State, clashed with Richard Armitage
over the delivery of urgently needed food, medical supplies and other relief to
Russia and other former Soviet republics. Armitage simply wanted to deliver
the aid, but was held up by Zoellick, who tried repeatedly to add conditions
to the aid in order to reinforce market conditions. Zoellick, who is a member
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of the Project for a New American Century and a free market fundamentalist,
was formerly on the MCC Board.
21 US economic policy after 9/11. Conversation with Earl Anthony Wayne
(Conversations with History, Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley).
http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people4/Wayne/wayne-con0.html Last ac-
cessed 14th October 2005.
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... In one prominent example, this performance-based view of foreign aid allocation is embodied in the United States' Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) program. Created in 2004, the MCA closely aligns foreign aid funding decisions with a country`s performance on governance dimensions: only countries that meet specific policy and QoG criteria receive the generous aid packages that the institution can offer (Mawdsley 2007;Girod, Krasner, and Stoner-Weiss 2009;Goldsmith 2011). These criteria included quantitative, publicly accessible indicators from a variety of different sources that include corruption control, government effectiveness, rule of law, and/ or macroeconomic indicators such as inflation or fiscal policy. ...
Article
This chapter reviews empirical literature on foreign aid and QoG. The chapter begins with a description of how scholarship on foreign aid and QoG developed in conjunction with prominent debates in the development community. The chapter discusses three major debates: whether or not QoG moderates foreign aid effectiveness, whether or not donors give aid selectively based on QoG, and whether or not foreign aid undermines or can help build QoG. With regard to aid effectiveness, the most recent literature suggests that aid can be effective even under conditions of poor QoG. With regard to selectivity, the existing literature shows an increasing selectivity for overall aid flows since the end of the Cold War and provides evidence of selectivity in terms of type of aid. The evidence that aid undermines QoG is not as strong as has been claimed by some of the initial studies in this literature. The chapter concludes by suggesting ways forward for all three literatures.
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It is the argument of this chapter that the COVID-19 pandemic created a need to problematize how we understand security, especially the contrast between state security and human security. This chapter argues that the pandemic has illustrated the importance of human security as well as the need to understand it as a precondition for, and not as an alternative to, state and international security. However, the study does not argue that the increased importance of human security translates into the protection of all humans. The crude reality that security is always at someone's and something's expense sustains vulnerabilities within societies. The study acknowledges that the changes in the security implications (both material and perceived) do not necessarily or automatically translate to changes in policies. Institutional resistance to change and general political trends among other factors affect the extent to which policies will evolve in a direction that would better meet the security implications of the pandemic.
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Over the last decade, international rankings have emerged as a critical tool used by international actors engaged in global governance. State practices and performance are now judged by a number of high-profile indices, including assessments of their levels of corruption, quality of democracy, creditworthiness, media freedom, and business environment. However, these rankings always carry value judgments, methodological choices, and implicit political agendas. This volume expertly addresses the important analytical, normative, and policy issues associated with the contemporary practice of 'grading states'. The chapters explore how rankings affect our perceptions of state performance, how states react to being ranked, why some rankings exert more global influence than others, and how states have come to strategize and respond to these public judgments. The book also critically examines how treating state rankings like popular consumer choice indices may actually lead policymakers to internalize questionable normative assumptions and lead to poorer, not improved, public policy outcomes.
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Using a power-knowledge framework, this volume critically investigates how major global indicators of legal governance are produced, disseminated and used, and to what effect. Original case studies include Freedom House's Freedom in the World indicator, the Global Reporting Initiative's structure for measuring and reporting on corporate social responsibility, the World Justice Project's measurement of the rule of law, the World Bank's Doing Business index, the World Bank-supported Worldwide Governance Indicators, the World Bank's Country Performance Institutional Assessment (CPIA), and the Transparency International Corruption (Perceptions) index. Also examined is the use of performance indicators by the European Union for accession countries and by the US Millennium Challenge Corporation in allocating US aid funds.
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Using a power-knowledge framework, this volume critically investigates how major global indicators of legal governance are produced, disseminated and used, and to what effect. Original case studies include Freedom House's Freedom in the World indicator, the Global Reporting Initiative's structure for measuring and reporting on corporate social responsibility, the World Justice Project's measurement of the rule of law, the World Bank's Doing Business index, the World Bank-supported Worldwide Governance Indicators, the World Bank's Country Performance Institutional Assessment (CPIA), and the Transparency International Corruption (Perceptions) index. Also examined is the use of performance indicators by the European Union for accession countries and by the US Millennium Challenge Corporation in allocating US aid funds.
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Using a power-knowledge framework, this volume critically investigates how major global indicators of legal governance are produced, disseminated and used, and to what effect. Original case studies include Freedom House's Freedom in the World indicator, the Global Reporting Initiative's structure for measuring and reporting on corporate social responsibility, the World Justice Project's measurement of the rule of law, the World Bank's Doing Business index, the World Bank-supported Worldwide Governance Indicators, the World Bank's Country Performance Institutional Assessment (CPIA), and the Transparency International Corruption (Perceptions) index. Also examined is the use of performance indicators by the European Union for accession countries and by the US Millennium Challenge Corporation in allocating US aid funds.
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Using a power-knowledge framework, this volume critically investigates how major global indicators of legal governance are produced, disseminated and used, and to what effect. Original case studies include Freedom House's Freedom in the World indicator, the Global Reporting Initiative's structure for measuring and reporting on corporate social responsibility, the World Justice Project's measurement of the rule of law, the World Bank's Doing Business index, the World Bank-supported Worldwide Governance Indicators, the World Bank's Country Performance Institutional Assessment (CPIA), and the Transparency International Corruption (Perceptions) index. Also examined is the use of performance indicators by the European Union for accession countries and by the US Millennium Challenge Corporation in allocating US aid funds.
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Using a power-knowledge framework, this volume critically investigates how major global indicators of legal governance are produced, disseminated and used, and to what effect. Original case studies include Freedom House's Freedom in the World indicator, the Global Reporting Initiative's structure for measuring and reporting on corporate social responsibility, the World Justice Project's measurement of the rule of law, the World Bank's Doing Business index, the World Bank-supported Worldwide Governance Indicators, the World Bank's Country Performance Institutional Assessment (CPIA), and the Transparency International Corruption (Perceptions) index. Also examined is the use of performance indicators by the European Union for accession countries and by the US Millennium Challenge Corporation in allocating US aid funds.
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Using a power-knowledge framework, this volume critically investigates how major global indicators of legal governance are produced, disseminated and used, and to what effect. Original case studies include Freedom House's Freedom in the World indicator, the Global Reporting Initiative's structure for measuring and reporting on corporate social responsibility, the World Justice Project's measurement of the rule of law, the World Bank's Doing Business index, the World Bank-supported Worldwide Governance Indicators, the World Bank's Country Performance Institutional Assessment (CPIA), and the Transparency International Corruption (Perceptions) index. Also examined is the use of performance indicators by the European Union for accession countries and by the US Millennium Challenge Corporation in allocating US aid funds.
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Using a power-knowledge framework, this volume critically investigates how major global indicators of legal governance are produced, disseminated and used, and to what effect. Original case studies include Freedom House's Freedom in the World indicator, the Global Reporting Initiative's structure for measuring and reporting on corporate social responsibility, the World Justice Project's measurement of the rule of law, the World Bank's Doing Business index, the World Bank-supported Worldwide Governance Indicators, the World Bank's Country Performance Institutional Assessment (CPIA), and the Transparency International Corruption (Perceptions) index. Also examined is the use of performance indicators by the European Union for accession countries and by the US Millennium Challenge Corporation in allocating US aid funds.
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Full-text available
Foreign aid is huge global endeavour with an annual tumover in the tens of billions of dollars, large workforces, and never-ending streams of ideas about how non-Westem societies should develop. Rich and poor states use it to manage relations with each other. Both givers and receivers, at least in public utterance, applaud foreign aid as a good thing that should continue. Yet something is the matter with foreign aid. This article summarizes in four pages the 234-page book, Give & Take. What's the Matter with Foreign Aid?, published by Zed Books in 2002 { ISBN: 184277 -069- I }
Book
People around the world are confused and concerned. Is it a sign of strength or of weakness that the US has suddenly shifted from a politics of consensus to one of coercion on the world stage? What was really at stake in the war on Iraq? Was it all about oil and, if not, what else was involved? What role has a sagging economy played in pushing the US into foreign adventurism? What exactly is the relationship between US militarism abroad and domestic politics? These are the questions taken up in this compelling and original book. In this closely argued and clearly written book, David Harvey, one of the leading social theorists of his generation, builds a conceptual framework to expose the underlying forces at work behind these momentous shifts in US policies and politics. The compulsions behind the projection of US power on the world as a "new imperialism" are here, for the first time, laid bare for all to see.
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The plight of the poorest around the world has been pushed to the forefront of America's international agenda for the first time in many years by the war on terrorism and the formidable challenges presented by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In March 2002, President Bush announced the creation of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). This bilateral development fund represents an increase of $5 billion per year over current assistance levels and establishes of a new agency to promote growth in reform-oriented developing countries. Amounting to a doubling of U.S. bilateral development aid—the largest increase in decades -- the MCA offers a critical chance to deliberately shape the face that the United States presents to people in poor nations around the world. This book makes concrete recommendations on crafting a new blueprint for distributing and delivering aid to make the MCA an effective tool, not only in its own right, but also in transforming U.S. foreign aid and strengthening international aid cooperation more generally. The book tackles head on the tension between foreign policy and development goals that chronically afflicts U.S. foreign assistance; the danger of being dismissed as one more instance of the United States going it alone instead of buttressing international cooperation; and the risk of exacerbating confusion among the myriad overlapping U.S. policies, agencies, and programs targeted at developing nations, particularly USAID. In doing so, The Other War draws important lessons from new international development initiatives, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, the mixed record of previous U.S. aid efforts, trends in the U.S. budget for foreign assistance, the agencies currently involved in administering U.S. development policy, and the importance of the relationship between Congress and the executive branch in determining aid outcomes. The MCA holds the promise of substantially increasing U.S. development assistance and pioneering a new era in aid, but the authors caution against creating yet another example of wasted aid that could undermine political support for foreign assistance for decades to come. About the Authors Lael Brainard is director of the Brookings/CGD Project on the Millennium Challenge Account and holds the New Century Chair in Economic Studies and Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. Carol Graham is Vice President and Director of the Governance Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, where she also directs the Global Poverty Reduction Initiative. Steven Radelet is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. Nigel Purvis is a senior scholar in Foreign Policy, Economic, and Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. Gayle E. Smith is a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and formerly was senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council.
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Used wisely, America‘s immense military power can preserve freedom but used unwisely, it can fracture global stability. Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke argue, that as long as neo-conservative radicals dominate the nation's national security process, fracture is more likely. Assuming Americans will see increasing threats in the future, this book is important because it identifies the factions and agendas involved. It advocates an alternative approach based on a return to the mainstream principles that have successfully guided American diplomacy for half a century. years. © Stefan Halper & Jonathan Clarke 2004 and Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Article
The U.S. economy has undergone a profound restructuring during the past two decades. This process, known as neoliberal restructuring, has affected practically every dimension of social life, including the gap between rich and poor, the nature of work, the role of big money in politics, the quantity and quality of public services, and the character of family life. This article can also be found at the Monthly Review website, where most recent articles are published in full. Click here to purchase a PDF version of this article at the Monthly Review website.