Analysis Of Tom Burgis's 'The Looting Machine'

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In The Looting Machine by Tom Burgis, the author discusses corruption and the effects of corruption on Africans living under the resource curse, or Dutch disease. He also talks about a system responsible for the looting of Africa’s natural resources to benefit individuals and companies from Chinese, French, American, Brazilian, British, Israeli, and African elites. Burgis suffered from PTSD, which stemmed from the aftermath of the Jos massacre and other events he experienced in Africa. To cope with his PTSD, Burgis wrote down what he saw during his research, experiencing tremendous guilt in the process. Instead of his initial reasoning that the Jos massacre occurred due to “ethnic rivalries”, he started to see the real reason and how the massacre…show more content…
This relates back to Congo, where violence spurred by ethnic rivalries is due to local groups’ desire to make money by getting into the extractive industries. In another example, Newmont, an American company, mines Ghanaian gold and pays the government part of the profits. Here, Burgis shined the spotlight on an environmental issue: the sodium cyanide spill in Kwamebourkrom that killed aquatic life and posed hazardous living conditions for locals (Burgis, 134). Finally, in the last few chapters, Burgis touched on Cecil John Rhodes’ legacy as the founder of De Beers, blood diamonds, imperialism, and violence carried out by local governments and mining companies in order to protect their interests. The Looting Machine has detailed cases and stories. It is evident that this book was well-researched and Tom Burgis was dedicated to getting information and persistent in his search, even when he ran into unanswered questions and emails. Such persistence is shown when Burgis visited Sino Zim’s office to find Masimba Ignatius Kamba, or when he went to 88 Queensway in order to find CIF’s office. He was turned away by receptionists multiple times, but eventually got ahold of Sam Pa’s personal information (Burgis,…show more content…
It is thought-provoking, in the sense that Africa’s need for foreign created a race to the bottom, much like what Pietra Rivoli described in The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy. Due to some African states’ reliance on foreign aid in order to mine and profit on their resources, they allow business standards to be lowered and for Chinese firms to tip the contracts moresoever in the favor of Chinese firms. This lowers the potential earnings of African states by lowering royalty rates, for example. Additionally, Burgis’ research was thorough and transparent. When he did not receive a response or if his questions were dodged, he made it obvious to the readers. Sure, some could view this book as too anecdotal to be used as a credible source of Africa’s situation. However, this is due to the nature of the system Burgis is writing about; after all, they are shadow states for a reason. Some readers will be saddened by this text, others angry, most curious to learn more, but above all, everyone will be intellectually stimulated and

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