February 15, 2015

“Foreign Aid” is Corporate Welfare


To extend my point from the other day’s post on “welfare” for people and corporate welfare, we can say the same about so-called “foreign aid”, for example as laundered through USAID and the Gates Foundation (to give one each of a nominally “public” and nominally “private” example; in reality there’s no difference). The money channeled through these is invariably, except for a few cosmetically spent pennies, dedicated to increasing the penetration, domination, and profitability of Western transnational corporations in the recipient countries. USAID also continues with its original Cold War mission, to disseminate pro-corporate propaganda and actively seek imperialist goals within these countries. To the extent anyone involved even thinks of actual benefit for people (almost no one does), they see it solely in terms of trickle-down.
The corporate media frames this corporate welfare as “humanitarian”, and this stirs up the standard partisan conflict between conservatives and liberals, each group believing this lie. Meanwhile the corporations go their merry way.
In addition to comprising corporate welfare, this aid is also often in the form of dumping, as with Monsanto’s attempt to capitalize on Haiti’s misery following the 2010 earthquake. In all cases a primary goal is to destroy local economies and any form of economic or political self-determination among the “recipient” peoples.
All this is true regardless of whether the “aid” is direct from a government or corporation, or laundered through any kind of NGO or charity. These are front groups. The corporate character of the dumping is the same in every case.
As Bill Gates explains in this interview, practically a synthetic compendium of the corporate aid ideology, no one from the system would ever dispense foreign aid unless the point was for all of it to go through corporate tollbooths, set up corporate infrastructure, and help impose corporate enclosure, profit, control, and domination.
This is preparatory to my upcoming posts on the “New Alliance” corporate colonization plan for African agriculture and food. USAID’s role in aggrandizing corporate agriculture goes back decades. Along with the International Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs), its goal throughout the so-called “green revolution” was to spread capitalist propaganda among Southern governments, agronomists, and farmers, help the corporations penetrate and commodify Southern agriculture, and help plunder the germplasm resources of the South for the benefit of the corporate West.




  1. I look forward to reading the next series of posts.

    Comment by DualPersonality — February 15, 2015 @ 6:46 pm

    • I hope they live up to your expectations, DP. 🙂

      Comment by Russ — February 16, 2015 @ 6:06 am

  2. Russ,

    If you’ve not read Susan George’s work, starting with How the Other Half Dies, I think you’d find her books very interesting. She was an early critic of the green revolution, and a great writer on the causes of poverty. The UNRISD did some critical studies of the green revolution. Andrew Pearse’s Seeds of Plenty, Seeds of Want, was an important assessment of the green revolution.

    The green revolution succeeded in getting farmers throughout India hooked on agrichemicals. And, as you’ve written, a breathtaking amount of food is rotting in the FCI’s (Food Corporation of India) warehouses, despite hunger in many parts of the country.

    The common accusation from proponents of GMO and agrichemical dependency is that anyone opposing their agenda wants everyone in the Third World to starve to death. This is Michael Specter’s main argument against Europeans who want GMO food banned. Specter indignantly asserts that such Europeans want Africans to starve. But his accusation makes no sense, and it reveals his real agenda.

    Specter says that he favors GM crops because they will end hunger in Africa. He says that Europeans are cruelly perpetuating starvation in Africa by prohibiting the import of GM food from Africa to Europe. If Europeans would import GM food from Africa, he argues, then African farmers would plant GM crops for export.

    So, we see that his real agenda is to force-feed Europeans GM crops that they do not want. His agenda is not to end hunger in African. He just wants Europeans to eat GM food so GM crops can be grown in Africa for export. His indignation has nothing to do with concern about hungry Africans. His real indignation is caused by Europeans’ insistence on maintaining control over what they eat. He hates the thought of consumers being able to make informed choices about what they eat. He believes we should all silently and thoughtlessly consume whatever Monsanto dishes out. He’s a corporate fascist.

    And such people use the same argument against anyone who mentions organic farming. They immediately accuse anyone who mentions organic farming of wanting billions of people to starve. They dismiss organic farming as unproductive because they know nothing about organic farming. They argue from a point of pure ignorance.

    Comment by Brooks Anderson — February 15, 2015 @ 10:48 pm

    • Thanks for the suggestions, Brooks. I made notes of them and will check them out. I’ve heard of Susan George but not read anything by her yet. Since the main propaganda line the GMO cartel depends upon is the “Feed the World” Big Lie, we need to focus most on refuting it, demolishing it, and making it unacceptable among decent people.

      Specter’s a corporate authoritarian all right, and he certainly hates on principle the idea of people democratically deciding about their agriculture and food. He’s evidently a moron as well, given the intellectual level of his “arguments”. Food dumping is the cure for hunger? And then the hoary old “comparative advantage” Big Lie, endlessly disproven by reality. Evidently his target audience is people who know absolutely nothing about food, agriculture, or globalization.

      I wrote here about how the real objection to decentralized polyculture farming is that it can’t readily be economically or politically regimented and is therefore inherently anti-authoritarian. That’s why corporate ideologues like Specter regard it as a specter haunting the nightmare they want to force upon humanity.


      Comment by Russ — February 16, 2015 @ 3:29 am

      • Thanks Russ.

        I’ve concluded that everything that is commercialized and driven by the profit motive very soon becomes corrupted and perverted, whether it’s solid waste management, healthcare, housing, agriculture, defense, education, transportation, incarceration, or development aid. When we privatise solid waste management, we wind up with more, not less, waste. When we privatise the military, we end up with perpetual, not less, war. Privatisation rewards private individuals for socially and environmentally disastrous behaviours and outcomes. In the case of agriculture, free market forces unleash selection pressures that reward the most ruthless exploiters of land and labor.

        Have you read much of Ivan Illich’s work? I found much of his writing brilliant.

        Comment by Brooks Anderson — February 16, 2015 @ 3:53 am

      • You’re right, Brooks. The first step in a citizenry dissolving itself is when the people stop doing those things for themselves and institute professional, mercenary government to do them. Then the logical next step is “privatization”, which simply means government shifting power and control from the nominally “public”, “democratic”, theoretically accountable branches of itself (it retains these as a sham facade) to the nominally “private”, corporate, in principle sociopathic and unaccountable branch. That’s the neoliberal era in a nutshell, and so far the propaganda’s worked well enough that most people still completely differentiate the “public” US government from the “private” corporations and see them as separate, even antagonistic entities. But in the broad sense the corporate state is a unity, and the corporations are the extraconstitutional fourth branch of government. Corporate rule is nothing more or less than the latest form of dictatorship.

        I’ve heard lots of good things about Ivan Illich but only read a few shorter pieces.

        Comment by Russ — February 16, 2015 @ 6:05 am

  3. Adding to my previous comment, Illich’s books are the only books that I did not give away and that I brought with me to India.

    Comment by Brooks Anderson — February 16, 2015 @ 3:55 am

    • Sounds like he’s your favorite writer.

      Comment by Russ — February 16, 2015 @ 6:05 am

      • My decision to keep Illich’s books was based partly on my impression that his books were not always easy to obtain, but now I see that several of his books are available in pdf format in their entirety on the Internet.

        I just downloaded three that I don’t have physical copies of.

        I once had the great fortune to see him speak at Yale before he died.

        His writing probably had the greatest influence on my thinking.

        Comment by Brooks Anderson — February 16, 2015 @ 6:17 am

      • I’ll have to read him sometime.

        Comment by Russ — February 17, 2015 @ 5:18 pm

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