What is at stake is whether the inequalities and polarization between regions of the world (which are growing, not becoming smaller) and the instabilities to which they give rise can be managed effectively. (Edkins, 2000:158)
The UN and the global business community have successfully proved that they can partner for their own mutual benefit. As their neoliberal agenda has advanced, there has been a profound rethinking of the processes of government, whereby partnership among local, national, and international actors has become a tool for promoting social, economic, and security objectives, including mass immunisation for everyone.
This use of partnering in social management aims to transform the conditions of the poor and make them, as choice-makers, more responsible for their circumstances – so called ‘responsibilisation of the poor’ for their own route out of poverty. The World Bank, for example, advocates global public-private partnerships, as a new form of global governance (2004). Various international organisations (IOs) and programmes are using this method to shape poverty through the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRSs). The World Bank and IMF now require the inclusion of these in the plans of a national government if it expects to qualify for development loans and/or other forms of assistance. This ability to govern at a distance provides means for international industry and aid contractors to shape poverty reduction and labour laws on a global scale.
These new partnerships thus act to govern and regulate the lives of the ‘client’ poor within notions of efficiency, capacity, and enabling. They apply the language of financial empowerment, identifying financial literacy and services as a means to escape poverty and improve one’s life, but these routes also lead to market, ‘responsibilisation’, regulation and dispossession – the trademarks of neoliberalism. Once the subjects have become irretreivably enmeshed within the forces of an export-oriented global market they become less and les able to act as participants on their own behalf, and typically less and less able to feed themselves.
- Edkins, Jenny. Whose Hunger? Concepts of Famine, Practices of Aid (2000:158)
- Governing the Poor: Exercises of Poverty Reduction, Practices of Global Aid. Ilcan, S. and A. Lacey (2011)