This post is part of our ‘When it clicked’ series. They are stories from people working within the ‘international development’ sector who want to share their experience of challenging the dominant narrative around poverty and development, how it felt and why it’s important to question. Find out more about it here.
Slightly later, on the professional side, it was Jason Hickel’s, “Flipping the corruption myth” (Feb 2014, Aljazeera). Hickel exposes the exaggerated myth of corruption in the global South that hides the systematic theft by the global North, “the corruption that is endemic to the global governance system, the tax haven network, and the banking sectors of New York and London.” Since then, I have brought up this simple argument a number of times in discussions, and whoever listens is intrigued at first, but as with so many aha moments, it loses potency due to the distractions of the mainstream. For me, this initial insight became part of a larger understanding of neo-liberalism that allows me to view my ‘development’ work in its proper extractive context.
(Then there is Tagore, and Chomsky, and Roy (Arundhati), and Faiz, and Fanon, and many many others.)