Hoe de dominee de koopman versloeg: Nederlandse ontwikkelingssamenwerking gewogen
SourceInternationale Spectator, 60, 11, (2006), pp. 573-577
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
Paul Hoebink evaluates nearly sixty years of Dutch development cooperation policy. In many developing countries the Netherlands is known for and has a good reputation because of its generous and flexible development policy. Yet, in the foreign policy 'pecking order' development cooperation figures at the bottom. Development cooperation is often seen as the 'soft belly' of Dutch foreign policy. In these 'soft parts' idealism should reign over the more material (economic-commercial, or strategic) interests the country pursues. The author, however, argues that with the institution of its bilateral aid programme in the early 1960s export interests (or the 'merchant') dominated Dutch development policy. Only by a complex set of factors (such as changes in the organisational setting between the ministries, changes in the tying status of aid, the influence of internal and external critical studies) humanitarian ideals (the 'minister' or 'reverend') gradually got the overhand in Dutch development cooperation and made it the generous programme it is at the moment. These changes are not reflected in the Dutch public debate on development cooperation which remains superficial and is stuck in the simplicities of the 'aid doesn't work' versus 'aid works' divide.
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