My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The dark side of Oxfam...

A good look at Oxfam and it's anti-business platform.
Get the picture? Oxfam promotes local "empowerment", (and works with others that encourage local communities to be dissident), offers a supposedly neutral corner to hear problems between international companies and local communities and offers to facilitate contact between the parties; on a good day, securing funding from the companies concerned (not the community groups, they usually don't have any) to fund this activity.

What a tangled web that is and sure enough Oxfam snared itself. It put its multi-functional capacity on show at the Tintaya copper mine, the third largest in Peru. Tintaya generates significant benefits to Peru. From the time it was developed by Magma, a US company, Oxfam US had hounded the company about the consequential environmental and social impact of its operations. BHP Billiton, one of the world's biggest mining companies, based in Australia, took over the mine when it purchased Magma.

Oxfam Australia offered itself to the company as the party able to manage and broker the complaints by local groups about the mine. It was after all the global "Mining Ombudsman".

An expensive (to the company) process of consultation was established. Commissions of enquiry into complaints about environmental damage, social impacts, sustainability and abuse of human rights were established. By Oxfam's own accounts, the complaints against the company (fostered by its US counterpart) were found baseless or insignificant.

But Oxfam were unable to deliver peace. Other local groups, not within Oxfam's range of influence), raised fresh complaints about the mine and sought unreasonable payments from the company (such a increasing the US$1.5 million dollar contribution to the local community to US$20 million). Oxfam peevishly grumbled in its reports that these groups were undermining the process of consultation it had established .

Oxfam was not in a strong position to complain. You can't be both Ombudsman and activist. When entirely new complaints were produced by locals (not connected with the Oxfam process) about a new tailings dam, Oxfam gave them currency. The supporter of empowerment found itself in conflict with its commercial role as mediator and its self-appointed role as Ombudsman.

Oxfam got itself in this mess because of the political values that drive Oxfam's advocacy activities. They are antagonistic to the private sector, urge global regulation of trade in commodities, and oppose intellectual property rights. Consistent with the political methodology of the old European left from where these values come, the operating principle is that the ends justify the means. In other words, anything goes.


Blogger PGP said...

Thanks for pointing that one out.
Can you say " Self serving hypocrites" ?

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oxfam once had a commercial on TV that was an indictment of their very existence, but they were too stupid to realize it of course.

The commercial advertised their 46 years of aid to Africa - as though this were some great thing.

Like, hello! Doesn't the expression 'being part of the problem' mean anything to these self-righteous morons?

1:13 AM  

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