Monday, February 13, 2006

Hurry boy, she's waiting there for you

I don't read many economics books because they are usually boring. Too much emphasis on data, too much jargon, bah! I say. William Easterly is not boring. His book the Elusive Quest for Growth tackles the question of Third World growth, as in why after decades of billions of dollars in aid, has much of the Third World not grown. His answer is that the aid has not made economic sense and has not promoted growth. Without growth these countries will stay poor.

Easterly has a column in the Washington Post which is a handy summary of his argument from his upcoming book, The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill And So Little Good. The title is unfortunate as it will probably annoy many of its potential readers, those who believe the West should help poorer countries but don't see how. In the column he argues that the West likes giving aid to people in desperate need but doesn't help the locals who are actually building their economies. He closes with this: "Dare one hope that in 2006, it will finally be understood that Africa's true saviors are the people of Africa, and that those who would help them in their task must also be accountable to them?"

I will be sure to read this book. Give the column a read and see if you would too.

No comments: