Rebuilding Brand America: What We Must Do to Restore Our Reputation and Safeguard the Future of American Business Abroad

By Dick Martin | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 18
STIFF-NECKED,
TREE-HUGGING CRITICS

“International nongovernmental organizations are pressure groups,
whose resonance comes from some form of moral claim and whose
influence derives from their colonization of the U.N. and its
specialized agencies.”
1

—Deepak Lal, professor of International Development,
University of California

“For all their strengths, nongovernmental organizations are special
interests. A society in which the piling up of special interests
replaces a single strong voice for the common good is unlikely to
fare well
.”2

—Jessica Mathews in Foreign Affairs

WHEN EXXONMOBIL BEGAN PLANNING A NEW OIL PIPELINE IN Chad and Cameroon, it turned to the World Bank to help the two countries fund their portion of the cost. Even though the project promised to create 5,000 construction jobs and to pay billions of dollars in royalties and taxes to two of the poorest nations on earth, it took five years to win World Bank support.

The reason? The World Bank now invites nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to review major projects. According to ExxonMobil’s vice president of public affairs at the time, the NGOs “helped improve the project in several ways, but they also almost killed it.”3

Some of the NGOs were opposed to development of any kind.

-201-

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