The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good
In his previous book, The Elusive Quest for Growth, William Easterly criticized the utter ineffectiveness of Western organizations to mitigate global poverty, and he was promptly fired by his then-
This book is almost a direct response, or count...more
I can admit that Easterly's writing style is less than masterful, and that the examples and evidence that he uses is a bit hodge-podge and clearly not exhaustive. This book, by itself, does not provide a fool-proof case for Easterly's thesis.
However, I simply think this book is critically important because its easy to overlook the problems that Easterly brings up, and these pr...more
Jeffrey Sachs, a darling of the left, has his flaw...more
I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time, so I was excited to get started on it. The first chapter, I wasn’t feeling so sure about it. His introduction to global development issues seemed to be very market-heavy, and I kept thinking: Can we pursue this line of thinking without acknowledging the role that globalized market capitalism has played in creating the very economic i...more
Easterly acknowledges that...more
Top down planning from those not involved in the areas to be helped lead to wasted efforts, refusal to take responsibility and very loose goal setting allowing almost anything to be declared a...more
His overarching point seems in general to hold - the solution is to decentralize aid. It's a general economic point that I think most people can get on board with at a basic level. Instead of politicians/bureaucrats picking and choosing specific initiatives,...more
This famous book decries the current state of Western aid agencies by emphasizing how inefficient these are at actually helping the poor. The book begins by establishing the terms Planners and Searchers. The Planners are most aid agencies, with big dreams and unrealistic expectations, that favor the idea of the Big Push. Proponents of the Big Push belie...more
Ultimately, he recommends a pretty pragmatic reorientation of how/why aid is offered...more
Easterly is acerbic, sharp, often...more
Well researched at times it felt a bit too driven by statistics. The ideas in it - bottom-up rather than top-down - are not radical.
I would have liked a bit more outrage and naming of culprit organisations besides anodyne targets like IMF and World Bank. More gossip, back-stabbing and revelation of dirty deeds would have really livened the narrative up.
“Westerners: don’t do things to or for other people without giving them a way to let you know—and hold you accountable for—what you have actually done to or for them.”
He took a few hundred pages to get there, but it was an interesting and important read (also amusing and conversational in tone -- helpful with this subject matter). For the past year or so I have been supporting Kiva.org, the microlending organization, and will even more happily cont...more
I made it a bit over halfway through this book. I couldn't take it anymore. William Easterly (and this book in particular) is supposed to be an authority on foreign aid and international development. Here goes.
Throughout the book, Easterly makes comparisons between what he calls "Planners" (people who build top-down programs) and "Searchers" (bottom-up) in international development (you can almost hear him trying to channel Heath Ledger's Joker). He uses these labels to describe one of...more
I think it is important to be hopeful and ambitious, but I understand William's view that we need to also be pragmatic, maintain accountability and focus on results. I agree that we need to focus on objective outcomes, but certain interventions take time to h...more
It's called White Man's Burden and its author, William Easterly, probably is getting...more
In some ways its comp...more
Economics at New York University, joint with Africa House, and Co-Director of NYU's Development Research Institute. He is editor of Aid Watch blog, Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and Co-Editor of the Journal of Development Economics. He is the author of The White Man’s Burden: How the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and S...more