Friday, October 18, 2013

About the aid business

Angus Deaton has a new book 'The Great Escape:Health, Wealth and the  origins of Inequality", kindle edition here. An excerpt. Chris Blattman's review here. From NY Times review 'A Surprising Case Against Foreign Aid' "In his considered judgment, global poverty today is no longer a result of lack of resources or opportunity, but of poor institutions, poor government and toxic politics. Though about $134 billion in official aid still flows from donor governments to recipient governments, there is no mystery, he says, as to why foreign aid fails to erase poverty. That is not its mission, he asserts: typically it serves commercial interests at home or buys political allies abroad, too often unsavory ones."
William Easterley tweeted that this review by Clive Crook is a  "Brilliant review of a brilliant book on development: ‘The Great Escape’ " Excerpt "Above all, Deaton argues, rich countries should stop putting obstacles in the path of the development of poor countries. Rich-country trade restrictions and farm subsidies put poor countries at a disadvantage. Rules on intellectual property rights need to be reformed so that they don’t unfairly discriminate against the poor.
Freer immigration may be the best aid policy of all. Migrants from poor to rich countries are better off than before, and their remittances make their families back home better off as well. These flows, which are almost three times bigger than flows of aid, “can empower recipients to demand more from their government, improving governance rather than undermining it.”
“The Great Escape” combines, to a rare degree, technical sophistication, moral urgency, the wisdom of experience, and an engaging and accessible style. It will deepen both your appreciation of the miracle of modern economic growth and your conviction that the benefits can and should be much more widely enjoyed."

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