Roger Bate reviews Bill Easterly's new book, White Man's Burden, which explains why foreign aid has failed so miserably over the years. Easterly was a classmate of mine in graduate school at M.I.T.
Here is a sample of Bate's review:
Foreign-aid is driven by "Planners" says Easterly. Perhaps the most famous planner and a determined opponent of Easterly is Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University and the United Nations. Planners think of development as a technical problem that can be overcome by ambitious, multi-faceted, centrally-controlled campaigns, backed up by oodles of cash. Unfortunately, planning lacks market feedback mechanisms, so cannot measure useful performance indicators. Plus, Planners are rarely held accountable for their myriad failures.
Easterly masterfully destroys the key arguments, or "legends," of the Planners -- one being that we must give money to the poorest to get them out of the poverty trap, another that aid will lead to growth.