Saturday, 8 December 2007

Solutions for poverty: between the left and the right

 

Paul Collier, the author of the "Bottom Billion," sums up both sides of the development spectrum:

At present, the clarion call for the left is Jeffrey Sachs' book "The End of Poverty." Much as I agree with Sachs' passionate call to action, I think that he has overplayed the importance of aid. Aid alone will not solve the problems of the bottom billion. We need to use a wider range of policies.

At present, the clarion call for the right is economist William Easterly's book "The White Man's Burden." Easterly is right to mock the delusions of the aid lobby. But just as Sachs exaggerates the payoff to aid, Easterly exaggerates the downside and again neglects the scope for other policies. We are not as impotent and ignorant as Easterly seems to think.

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