Aid State: Elite Panic, Disaster Capitalism, and the Battle To Control Haiti

Dreamscape Media. Jan. 2024. 13:23 hrs. ISBN 9781666653823. $17.99. HIST
A researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Johnston debuts with a searing examination of the classism, racism, and exploitation that have marked Haiti’s tumultuous history. Johnston, who has researched, monitored, and reported on the intricacies of Haiti’s political landscape since 2010, focuses here on what is known as the aid industrial complex. Rather than providing meaningful assistance to people whose countries have been ravaged by natural disasters, aid efforts too often enrich the companies and contractors who engage in humanitarian efforts. The principal villain in Johnston’s story is the Clinton Foundation and its founders, which touted the mantra “Build Back Better” with diametrically opposite results. Haiti’s people, who had not yet recovered from the effects of oppressive political regimes, were further devastated by shoddy construction and poor planning, particularly the choice to adopt greenfield housing construction instead of repairing existing structures. Narrator James Lurie delivers the text clearly and succinctly, opting for a measured rather than performative approach.
VERDICT While heartbreaking and discouraging, Johnston’s indictment of the aid industrial complex is essential listening, critically important when considering future responses to natural disasters.
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