Aid and Humanitarianism: a Critique

Click on the above link to open or download the essay. I wrote this as part of the course I’m on, and I think it might be of general interest. International aid and humanitarian interventions: maybe they reinforce inequality rather than reducing it. If so what?
This is the ‘deluxe’ version of the essay. ūüôā There were a few interesting passages I had to remove, to get it under the word-count limit for university essays, but I’ve put them back in for this version. Enjoy! And I’d be really interested in anyone’s comments.

Can Big Business Eradicate Extreme Poverty

Who can deliver the Eradication of Extreme Poverty? Amongst the main players will be:

    Governments, including the G20
    the United Nations
    Big Business

But how will money-grabbing, blood-sucking, exploitative, evil fat-cat bully-bossing cigar-puffing big business be persuaded to help eradicate extreme poverty? Here are some ideas.

    Civil Society Pressure. Here is a paper by a group called Trade Justice Scotland – with some genuine influence and a lot of right ideas about how companies should set their priorities. Principles of Just Trade Deals
    Flagship Sustainability Programmes. Astrazeneca (where I used to work) had a lot of social responsibility programmes including supporting charities and promoting healthy lifestyles for young people etc.¬† Then they decided to consolidate into a single “Flagship Sustainability Programme”: Healthy Heart Africa.¬† At the same time Kellogg’s decided to consolidate their sustainability programmes into something called “Breakfasts for Better Days” and give away a billion breakfasts, mostly in the developing world. ¬†“Flagship Sustainability” it seems is the order of the day.¬† Flagship programmes might form a meaningful part of the G20’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDG’s) which in theory are supposed to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.¬† The United Nations Global Compact is the mechanism for marshalling big business into helping with the delivery of the SDG’s. See this link: UN Global Compact
    And finally: Indoces. My favourite is the Access to Medicines Index run at very little expense by the Access to Medicines Foundation. They publish indices of how well the pharmaceutical companies do at developing medicines which are relevant in the developing world, and making them available to the poor. As soon as the AMI existed Astrazeneca wanted to be on it, despite being quite low in the rankings at first; and having joined the index Astrazeneca is extremely keen to improve their ranking (as, presumably are the other pharmaceutical giants). This could be how medicines and health-care come available to the poorest people in the developing world. See Access to Medicines Foundation

Need to Learn

Where will all the Poverty-Eradicating ideas come from? ¬†Some of them will come from here – University of Manchester. ¬†I’ve signed up for an MSc in International Development starting in September. ¬†Karen spent all day yesterday helping me learn my way: from Oxford Road railway station to University Place, to the other buildings where I’ll be studying, back to the railway station, back to campus, inside the buildings, out again, etc. etc. ¬†Poor Karen. ¬†Thanks & well done.

Karen taught me how to get to the Arthur Lewis Building


Eradicate-Extreme-Poverty Blog: Introduction

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog.¬† Karen and I have this firm belief that in our generation (i.e. those already alive) we (the human race) can eradicate extreme poverty and unfair trade.¬† Imagine a world where nobody at all lives in extreme poverty.¬† We’re not mad.¬† Knowledgeable people in the spheres of global development have the same opinion.¬† We would like to create popular and political will.¬† On this blog I will be posting any bright ideas, questions, articles, and seeking your comments.¬† Please join in.¬† The more the merrier.¬† To leave a comment just click on the title or time-stamp of any blog posting.

If you have something you would like me to post you could email it to me on

If you haven’t already done so you can learn a little bit more on our website: