The second problem with the dominant narrative about aid is that it casts Western countries in the role of benevolent benefactors, giving generously of their wealth to poor countries in the Global South. In reality, however, exactly the opposite is true. The flow of aid from rich countries to poor countries pales in comparison to the flow of wealth that runs the other direction.

Developing countries receive about $136 billion in aid from donor countries each year. At the same time, however, they lose about $1 trillion each year through offshore capital flight, mostly in the form of tax avoidance by multinational corporations. That’s nearly 10 times the size of the aid budget.

Because rich countries include debt cancellation as aid, it is only fair that we include debt service payments as part of the equation as well. Today, poor countries pay about $600 billion to rich countries in debt service each year, much of it on the compound interest of loans accumulated by rulers long since deposed. This alone amounts to nearly 5 times the aid budget. Using this metric, economist Charles Abugre calculates that the net flow of aid from the West to the Global South over the period 2002 to 2007 was minus $2.8 trillion. And that does not include the capital flight that I mentioned above.

There are many other flows of wealth and income that are being siphoned from the Global South that we need to take into account. For example, Action Aid recently reported that multinational corporations extract about $138 billion from developing countries each year in tax holidays (which is different from tax avoidance). This figure alone outstrips the global aid budget.

For another example, we can look at the WTO’s agreement on intellectual property rights (TRIPS), which has armed corporations with unprecedented rent-seeking powers. As a result of TRIPS, developing countries have been forced to pay $60 billion annually – half the aid budget – in extra patent licensing fees, over and above those required by normal laws, for the use of technologies and pharmaceuticals that are often essential to development and public health.

We can see these figures as direct cash transfers from poor countries to rich countries. And this is to say nothing of other forms of extraction that are more difficult to quantify, such as land grabs. Fred Pearce shows that land exceeding the size of Western Europe has been grabbed from developing countries by corporations in the past decade alone. The US, UK, and China are leading this movement by snapping up agricultural land in regions where land tenure laws leave indigenous inhabitants vulnerable to dispossession.

Aid in Reverse: How Poor Countries Develop Rich Countries (via tombomp)




So fucking powerful.

(via e-erik)


Musk Ming: “Das Kapital”资本论 100x150cmdigital art on Alu-Dibond / Digitale Kunst auf AluDibond (from left to right: Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao)


Musk Ming: “Das Kapital
digital art on Alu-Dibond / Digitale Kunst auf AluDibond
(from left to right: Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao)

Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like an nightmare on the brains of the living.
Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (via spectreofcommunism)

People’s Liberation Army soldiers read from the Little Red Book during the Cultural Revolution.


People’s Liberation Army soldiers read from the Little Red Book during the Cultural Revolution.

I hate the indifferent. I believe living means taking sides. They who truly live cannot help but to be citizens and partisans. Indifference is apathy, parasitism, perversion, not life. That’s why I hate the indifferent.

Indifference is the burden of history. Indifference operates with great power on history. It operates passively, but it operates. It is fate; that which cannot be counted on; it is that which twists programs and ruins the best-conceived plans; it is the brute matter that chokes intelligence. That which happens, the evil that weighs upon all, happens because most of humanity renounces its own will, allows laws to be passed that only revolt can nullify, and leaves men that only mutiny can overthrow to achieve power. Thanks to indifference, few hands weave the fabric of collective life unsurveilled, and the masses ignore it because they are careless; then it seems like it is fate that runs over everything and everyone, it looks as if history is but an enormous natural phenomenon, an eruption, an earthquake of which everyone is a victim, those who consent as well as those who dissent, those who knew as well as those who didn’t, the active as well as the indifferent. Some whimper pitifully, others curse obscenely, but none, or very few, ask themselves: if I too had fulfilled my duty, if I had tried to impose my will, would this have happened?

This too is why I hate the indifferent: Their wailing as if eternally innocent is a nuisance to me. I hold every person liable to how they fulfilled the task life has given them and continues to give them every day, of what they have done, and especially what they have not done. And I feel I have the right to be unrelenting, not to squander my compassion, of not having to share my tears with them.

I am a partisan, I am alive, and in the conscience of those on my part I feel the pulse of the future city we are building. And in it, the social chain does not rest on a few, nothing that happens in it is a matter of luck, nor the product of fate, but the intelligent work of citizens. In it, nobody is looking out their window while the few sacrifice and drain themselves. I live, I am a partisan. That is why I hate those who don’t take sides, I hate the indifferent.

Antonio Gramsci, February 11th 1917 (via redfennekin)

(via kissfromfoucault)


"The only ‘foreigners’ in our neighborhood are cops and fascists." - Exarcheia


"The only ‘foreigners’ in our neighborhood are cops and fascists." - Exarcheia

(via taylorswifthecreator)

Nonsense collage

I used to write here

Still will do in future (probably)

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