Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Matt Ridley on William Easterly

Ridley is an OLS hero of the first rank and a superb social commentator.  In a post as his blog, Ridley reviews the most recent book by developmental economist William Easterly (more from OLS on Easterly, here).  Ridley gives a positive account of Easterly's effort (I'm about 40% through the book myself and I definitely think it's a must read for those who believe that with the right intentions, lots of effort, and lots of foreign aid, we can eradicate poverty in Africa), a slice of which is below as an enticement to both Ridley's review and Easterly's book:
This book is not an attack on aid from rich to poor. It is an attack on the unthinking philosophy that guides so much of that aid from poor taxpayers in rich countries to rich leaders in poor countries, via outsiders with supposed expertise. Easterly is a distinguished economist and he insists there is another way, a path not taken, in development economics, based on liberation and the encouragement of spontaneous development through exchange. Most development economists do not even know they are taking the technocratic, planning route, just as most fish do not know they swim in a sea.
Pretty much anything either of these intellectual giants write is worth your time.