Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The future of aid is in building legitimation

Waśniewski, Krzysztof (2014): The future of aid is in building legitimation.

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Abstract

The present paper is an essay about the future of aid, understood as a global, durable, social phenomenon. Special attention is attached to the issue of governance, both the governance of aid itself, and institutional reforms in the recipient countries. A short review of literature on the topic serves to support a general thesis that the stream of aid is a stream of capital, and that natural possession of that capital confers palpable economic power to whatever social agent holds it temporarily in the field of their discretionary decision. Both theoretical, and empirical development of the subject is then conducted in order to show that the main cause of unsatisfactory institutional changes in the recipient countries is the fact that aid disturbs the already frail balance between legitimation and economic power in emergent societies. In conclusion, a new paradigm of governing aid is proposed, centred on building legitimation for aid itself, i.e. on using the known experience and history to construe a broad, consistent, normative base for aid programmes. The theory of justice, as proposed by John Rawls, seems to be the right starting point for establishing the primary rules of that normative base. As for the secondary ones, a new institution, namely international arbitration of claims related to aid, is proposed as an interesting solution for progressively building the secondary rules of recognition, in the legitimation of aid.

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