Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Corruption #Nepal — it isn’t what you think it is

#1 Impediment to Development = Corruption
#1 Enabler of Corruption = Foreign Aid

Vicious cycle — unfortunately overlooked by well-meaning people (I/NGOs — too many to keep track of, private donors, foreign agents andd governments, the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF and so on) while corruption causes heavy suffering for 99+% of the people.
Foreign personnel often have their hearts in the right place, no question about that. A sprinkling of them understand native languages and some understand local cultures, too. The majority are operating under dead-blind conditions despite deep intellect, big hearts and some insight. Even with language and cultural skills nearly all get taken for a ride, so to speak, in other words, conned.
Exceptions are rare, and some people and organizations actually succeed and deserve a lot of respect for their hard work. They are too few and far between to justify aid across the board. Inadvertently, most are enabling corruption and holding back the only people who can ‘save’ Nepal – talented and capable Nepalis (countless in number) under the thumb of a corrupt and oppressive bureaucracy and societal structure paralyzed by entitlements.
It is the rich irony of the aid world that these foreign ‘aid’ workers/foreign donors and their internal, domestic allies tend to be from polar ends of the spectrum. Unsuspectingly, aid workers ally themselves with the more conservative demographic of the population (generally Hindu conservatives with a restrictive moral and elitist outlook…imagine Christian, Muslim, and Jewish conservatives for an idea of the unsavory impact of this alliance). All the same, most aid workers tend to be open-minded, liberal and intellectual.
Kind-heartedness allows many ‘aid’ workers to be unwittingly misled and is a reason aid should be banned for the sake of development. Taken as a WHOLE, aid undermines the very problems to be solved, tragically prolonging and extending suffering in the general population. Throwing the mutant baby out with the bathwater is perhaps the only hope for development in Nepal.
If foreigners must intervene, it they cannot keep themselves from getting involved, then, at a minimum, it is politely suggested to 1) learn the local language and 2) learn about the culture. Even then, chances of success are increased only slightly. If an outsider cannot resist doing something, then aim resources and energy at making government more transparent before and above anything else. Cleaning up the bureaucracy will take care of nearly all other problems. No need to fight tireless battles other than the one for a ethical, transparent government.
Nepal is full of talented and capable people ready, willing and able, waiting for a chance. There is no need of foreigners to get involved. Simply do nothing and get out of the way. On the other hand, foreign intervention and aid, by funding and legitimizing the status quo (knowingly — e.g., paying off officials for paperwork to operate as a person/INGO in-country — these official fees ‘disappear’ and go towards illegitimate activities as do ‘unofficial’ fees, and unknowingly– e.g., hiring the wrong people who feed them misleading information while fleecing them raw), undermining real work and progress, allying with religious-moral-elitist conservatives, taking attention away from the real problem of mis-governance, displacing internal workers, not understanding local language and culture and thus not understanding issues of the land and what can be done about them…for these reasons and more, foreign aid is prolonging development and contributing to chronic poverty and the troubles it brings of ill-health, malnutrition, lack of education, exploitation, injury, disease and premature death.
Most INGOs and donors are obstacles to forward progress and holding back the very people that can save Nepal – able and talented Nepalis under the thumb of an unethical bureaucracy, indecent politicians and oppressive societal structure.
Cheer up, the primary problem causing most other problems is corruption, and it can be served a death-blow by pulling the carpet of foreign aid out from under it.
One future day perhaps the following might be proclaimed:
#1 Champion of Development = Free, Fair and Transparent Bureaucracy and Society
#1 Enabler of Free, Fair and Transparent Bureaucracy and Society = Local People

Award winning journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas reports the following about aid in Africa: “Decades into political independence, many African governments remain reliant on foreign aid, yet often as soon as this aid arrives it is spirited away into the personal accounts of the leaders who are supposed to be looking after the interests of their people – and ironically many of those accounts are back in the West.
It is no surprise that many Africans are left asking the developed world: ‘Why do you frown publicly about corruption, yet turn a blind eye to its fruits?'”
More at How to Rob Africa

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