Last night I stumbled across a thoughtful documentary. Noreena's Agenda: The New Activism highlights Noreena Hertz's work as an economist and activist on behalf of the world's poor. In the film she interviews Bono and Bob Geldof, discusses the move from nation-states to corporations as the largest economic units in the world, artiulates the importance of debt-forgiveness, and investigates the impact of G8 policy making.
In one particularly fascinating segment she demonstrates how monetary aid to Africa can be so poorly managed. In an act of benevolence the Finnish government built three wells. But today two of the wells don't work, the other is in poor condition and no one was trained to repair or do basic maintenance on the wells. To make matters worse, most of the money pledged in aid was used to build a compound for the Finnish workers, a compound full of saunas and swimming pools. This "drop and run" mentality is all too common among western benefactors.