Friday, July 6, 2007

DeBunking the Bank

"Goldman had some reason to doubt these promises before he began his principal case study, the Nam Theun 2 Dam Project on the Mekong River in Laos. In the Thar desert of northwest India, the World Bank had invested in a massive irrigation canal system to pour Himalayan water into a harsh arid environment. Wealthy landowners turned land along the main arteries of the canals into export-producing farms. But along the minor arteries water disappeared. Systematic theft of cement left canals too porous to deliver water. In other places channels were sand-clogged, and adjacent land was waterlogged and salinated. Driven into debt, poor farmers were forced off their land and into part-time labor, indentured servanthood, or sharecropping."

Case by case painstaking dissection of many Bank projects. Essential.

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