The Ignorant Donor: A Radical Re-imagination of International Aid, Development, and Education

Will Brehm, Iveta Silova

Research output: Contribution to journalOther Journal Articlepeer-review


The logic behind international aid to development has typically centered on economics. Notwithstanding the variation in focus – from macroeconomic monetary and trade policies, to economic wealth programs aimed at creating jobs, to supply- and demand-side reforms – the central discourse on international aid has been dominated by a political economist’s viewpoint. Steven Klees’ article, “Aid, Development, and Education” continues to use an economic perspective by challenging some of the neoliberal economic assumptions made within the development industry since the 1970s.2 He offers a refreshing progressive alternative to the dominant neoliberal agenda and its institutions. His initial question – has such aid helped? – has a clear answer in all of the literature he reviews: no, aid has not been as effective as it could have been. But his call for a “new architecture” of international development derives from “old” foundations, reinforcing the established pillars of the economic development continuum – neoliberal, liberal, and progressive. Will a progressive development architecture produce a different outcome than that of (neo)liberalism without rebuilding the philosophical foundations of international aid? Is a reimagination of international aid along radically new philosophical lines possible? If so, what would it look like?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Issues in Comparative Education (CICE)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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