MAKING A KILLING: How and Why Corporations Use Armed Force to Do Business

Madelaine Drohan, Author . Lyons $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-59228-577-8

Former foreign correspondent for Toronto's Globe and Mail, Drohan concentrates on Africa for this indictment of multinational corporations that forge ties with armies, warlords, militias and mercenaries. She traces the roots of corporate armed force to Cecil Rhodes and his British South Africa Company, describing even greater atrocities perpetrated in the Congo and in Sierra Leone during the 1950s. The efforts of Belgian company Union Minière to secure an independent Katanga demonstrates the limits of corporations' ability to employ armed force in competition with effective governments and international organizations. The second half of the book shows what can happen given the absence of those countervailing forces. A single man, Roland Walter Rowland, shaped the history of newly independent Mozambique via politicized investment policies; in the early 1990s, Shell Oil worked hand-in-glove with the Nigerian government and ignored the consequences for human rights. In the Sudan, Talisman Energy, a Canadian oil firm, became embroiled in the north-south conflict that continues to wrack that country when Sudanese troops ostensibly guarding the oil fields practiced a scorched-earth policy in the surrounding communities. Though a comparative dimension incorporating South Asia and Latin America would have been valuable, Drohan's African case studies (and there are more here) are well researched, clearly presented and deeply troubling. Agent, David Johnston for Sideshow Media. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-59228-786-4
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-679-31197-3
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-679-31201-7
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