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In his first book, The Looting Machine, Tom Burgis exposes the truth about the African development miracle: for the resource states, it's a mirage. The oil, copper, diamonds, gold, and coltan deposits attract a global network of traders, bankers, corporate extractors, and investors who combine with venal political cabals to loot the states' value. And the vagaries of resource-dependent economies could pitch Africa's new middle class back into destitution just as quickly as they climbed out of it. The ground beneath their feet is as precarious as a Congolese mine shaft; their prosperity could spill away like crude from a busted pipeline.
This catastrophic social disintegration is not merely a continuation of Africa's past as a colonial victim. The looting now is accelerating as never before. As global demand for Africa's resources rises, a handful of Africans are becoming legitimately rich, but the vast majority, like the continent as a whole, is being fleeced. Outsiders tend to think of Africa as a great drain of philanthropy. But look more closely at the resource industry, and the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world looks rather different.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Kindle Customer on 06-09-15
This is one of those rare books that can change so much about how you think about a topic as complex as Africa. Burgis did an excellent job of covering a broad swath of the continent without falling in to the usual traps of stereotypes and overs simplification that plague so many other authors. His insights on Sam Pa and the growing Chinese role in the "Looting Machine" was particularly interesting.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By jon b on 03-21-18
Fairly insightful as to the connections between warlords, cleptocracts, and corporations, but I don't think you can get the full perspective on the problems of Africa without going deeper, ie colonialism. It does help to rationalize much of today's news about the continent however. Check it out as I did but I'm definitely looking for more.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful