Author Archives

Patricia Adams

Patricia Adams is an economist and the Executive Director of Probe International, an independent think-tank and watchdog over the environmental consequences of Canadian government and corporate activities around the world. Her books include In the Name of Progress: The Underside of Foreign Aid, (Doubleday 1985), and Odious Debts: Loose Lending, Corruption and the Third World”s Environmental Legacy (Earthscan 1991), which exposes the jeopardy of years of loose lending for both the Third World’s environment and their economies, and proposes a legal remedy to place responsibility for the Third World’s debt crisis on the parties involved, instead of on First and Third World taxpayers. Pat also edited the English language translation of Yangtze! Yangtze!, the extraordinary critique by Chinese experts of the Three Gorges dam that inspired the democracy movement when it was first published in 1989, led to the postponement of the dam, and was subsequently banned by Chinese authorities. Her books have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Bahasa Indonesia.

Cyberwar and secrecy threaten China’s dams

(March 12, 2013) China may be the world’s biggest cyberspace aggressor, but security specialists say China’s computer-controlled infrastructure is more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and to malfunctioning domestic software than are Western systems. Read Patricia Adams’ piece in the Huffington Post on why China’s dams are vulnerable to both.

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Corruption, bribery, baksheesh! Rooted in government

(February 6, 2013) Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has announced get-tough-on-corruption amendments to the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA). Pat Adams, head of Probe International in Toronto, sees the announcement as Canada’s response to pressure from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “Canada is supposed to report back on deficiencies in its anti-corruption laws by March of this year. This appears to fix the deficiencies,” she says.

Why we should say no to CNOOC

(November 23, 2012) The proposed takeover of Calgary-based oil and gas producer Nexen by China’s state-owned oil giant CNOOC should be nixed by the Canadian government, says Probe International’s Patricia Adams. As instruments of the Communist Party, China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are undisciplined by markets or the rule of law. Without subsidies, their rate of return on equity is negative. It would be impossible to stop them from distorting the Canadian economy, so Canada should just say no to CNOOC.

China’s new mega-dam is a mega-problem

(July 12, 2012) Almost 20 years in the making, China’s Three Gorges mega-dam was declared complete on July 4 when the last of its 32 generators went online, 10 years after the first turbine went into operation. There is no end in sight, however, for costs associated with the vast and controversial project, which remains closer to disaster than triumph.

Omen on the Yangtze

(April 17, 2012) Twenty years ago this month, China’s epic Three Gorges Dam received construction approval from the Chinese government, with the blessing of a Canadian government report: both governments stood to benefit from the ill-conceived state vanity project at great cost to many. Probe International’s Patricia Adams looks back at how the symbol of China’s ‘rise’ has become an omen of all that is wrong with China and why a country like Canada would inflict such risks on citizens elsewhere.