Dan's Reviews > The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good

The White Man's Burden by William Easterly
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's review
Oct 21, 2007

really liked it

The overall argument is that in the foreign aid world, "Planners" can't/don't understand local circumstances so they try to spend money as it pleases them and/or in ways that they've learned in completely different circumstances, while "Searchers" look for what works in the specifics of the situation. Planners are the World Bank, the UN and Jeffrey Sachs, Searchers are entrepreneurs throughout the developing world.

I'm giving 5 stars for his knowledge, insight and compassion, on display in the early chapters, 2 stars for his muddle-headedness in crafting his arguments and his tendency to veer completely off-topic, and extra credit for his case studies- they are terrifically interesting, and it's refreshing to see an author use case studies which don't necessarily support his overall point.

What I was and still am looking for is some guidance for myself; since I'm neither a World Bank employee, a micro-credit lender in Angola, nor Bono, the book doesn't give me direction on how to direct my money and time to make the world better.

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