The crown agents and the CDC group: imperial extraction & development's 'private sector turn'

Gilbert, Paul (2022) The crown agents and the CDC group: imperial extraction & development's 'private sector turn'. In: Bhambra, Gurminder K and McClure, Julia (eds.) Imperial inequalities: the politics of economic governance across European empires. Manchester University Press, Manchester. ISBN 9781526166142

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This chapter examines two UK-based development bodies, the Crown Agents and the CDC Group, focusing on moments of controversy surrounding these organizations’ impacts on public finances, in the UK and its former colonies. It highlights the role these ‘development’ organizations played in managing colonial currencies and supply chains to ensure the expansion of Britain’s nascent welfare state in the immediate post-War period. Both organizations have undergone significant restructuring and repositioning since the formal end of empire, and now take centre stage in the retro-liberal aid regime under which the state exists to sponsor and facilitate the private sector. Donor states are increasingly entangled with private, for-profit agencies through a range of state-capital hybrids that may benefit donor states in the Global North and development professionals more than they do ‘beneficiaries’ in the Global South. This retro-liberal aid regime is also a ‘re-colonial’ one: development bodies established during the colonial period find success through new arrangements, but much like their colonial antecedents, do so as bearers of expertise that can address development challenges while demonstrating ‘value for money’ for the UK taxpayer and chipping away at the tax base in ‘beneficiary’ countries. The chapter thus foregrounds the colonial durabilities which are so deeply embedded within aid flows, government by contract, and even ‘value for money’ models of accountability that structure the retro-liberal aid regime.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2022 09:45
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 10:32

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