Self Help

B000QJLQXU EBOK - Easterly, William

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Matheus Puppe

· 77 min read

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Here is a summary of the key ideas in The White Man’s Burden by William Easterly:

  • The book examines why Western efforts to aid developing countries through large-scale plans and projects have often failed to meaningfully reduce poverty and disease. This is described as the “second tragedy” facing the poor.

  • Over the past 50+ years, trillions of dollars in foreign aid have been spent by Western nations to aid the developing world. Yet problems like child mortality, lack of education, and extreme poverty persist in many places.

  • Easterly argues that traditional “planners” who devise big push projects and top-down policies fail to address poverty because they cannot centrally plan complex social realities like markets and institutional change.

  • In contrast, Easterly advocates for a more experimental “search” approach that tests various interventions on a smaller scale, learning from successes and failures. This organic, bottom-up process is likelier to discover effective solutions.

  • The book critiques how foreign aid has often perpetuated dependency, undermined self-sufficiency, and failed to uphold principles of choice and consent among those it aims to help.

  • Easterly ultimately calls for a shift towards supporting homegrown, locally-led development initiatives rather than externally-driven plans from foreign donors and governments.

The article contrasts “Planners” and “Searchers” in addressing global poverty. Planners develop big plans and blueprints to tackle poverty through top-down interventions. However, they lack local knowledge and accountability. Their plans often fail to achieve goals like getting low-cost medicines to children in need.

Searchers take a more incremental, experimental approach. They look for specific, tangible ways to help the poor that people are incentivized to implement. Markets reward Searchers who find ways to meet demand profitably, like distributing popular books. The article argues Searchers could help with tasks like medicine delivery if given the chance, instead of big foreign aid being dominated by Planners’ ineffective plans.

While Planners’ dreams of ending poverty are inspiring, their strategies have resulted in unmet goals and failure to help the poor effectively. A Searcher strategy that empowers localized problem-solving may have better outcomes, according to the article. In summary, it says Planners fail while Searchers could succeed if given opportunity.

  • Under the Millennium Development Goals set in 2000, the target date for meeting various poverty reduction targets was 2015, but many targets were missed with no accountability.

  • In 2005, the G8 agreed to double foreign aid to Africa from $25 billion to $50 billion per year, and forgive some previous African aid loans. This showed renewed enthusiasm for “big push” aid plans.

  • The “war on terror” also gave new momentum to large-scale military interventions and aid plans focused on fighting poverty, following Woodrow Wilson’s vision of American influence promoting global progress. However, military occupation often imposed simplistic external solutions on complex local problems.

  • Large-scale aid plans originating from central planners have largely failed to achieve their goals of ending poverty, despite $2.3 trillion spent over 60 years. Jeffrey Sachs argued in 2005 that ending poverty traps would be “much easier than it appears” but the continued failure of planners calls that assertion into question.

  • Getting bed nets effectively to the poor in places like Malawi showed the value of searchers finding localized solutions rather than top-down planner approaches being imposed. Population Services International had success with a social marketing model of partially subsidized bed net sales.

  • The debate between “Planners” who advocate for big, top-down social engineering programs and “Searchers” who favor bottom-up, incremental solutions is a long-standing philosophical divide. Planners seek utopian goals through comprehensive plans, while Searchers focus on pragmatic, piecemeal reforms through trial and error.

  • Feedback and accountability are essential for Searchers but lacking in Planners. Searchers receive feedback from stakeholders that guides incremental improvements, while Planners are not accountable to those affected.

  • In wealthy democracies, politicians are forced to be Searchers through local accountability, while outsiders tend to be Planners when intervening in developing countries from afar without accountability.

  • Planners remain popular in Western assistance due to a perception that big plans signal action is being taken, even if ineffective. This satisfies donors without solutions needing to reach those in need. Lack of accountability allows ineffective approaches to persist.

  • Both left-wing and right-wing ideologies support big, state-led plans or military interventions that allow them to see themselves as saviors, similar to fictional heroes. Dissidents on both sides favor more pragmatic, incremental solutions through local markets and democracy over imposition of Western models.

Here is a summary of the key points about poor people from the passage:

  • Many poor people worldwide face desperate needs like malnutrition, lack of clean water and sanitation, diseases caused by contaminated water, and lack of access to basic healthcare and education. These basic human needs are often not met.

  • Simple, local solutions exist to address some of these needs, such as providing food, repairing wells, improving sanitation infrastructure, and distributing medicines. But aid efforts are often distracted by “big plans” and goals that are not feasible to implement.

  • There is a historical tendency among Western nations to favor grand, utopian plans and visions for transforming poorer regions, rather than focusing on practical, localized solutions. This stems from attitudes of Western superiority and a desire for ambitious goals.

  • However, some aid programs have had success implementing smaller-scale solutions like feeding the hungry, expanding access to clean water, and improving healthcare access. More could be achieved if aid focused more on pragmatic, localized efforts rather than distant utopian plans.

  • In summary, the passage criticizes the emphasis on large-scale plans and goals over practical, localized efforts to meet basic needs, despite many poor people facing dire problems that simpler solutions could help address.

  • In the 19th century, some Europeans defended imperialism and colonialism by arguing it brought civilization and progress to less advanced peoples. They portrayed colonial rule as a benevolent “tutelage” that helped uplift subjected races.

  • After World War II, the language shifted away from racial superiority and instead focused on “development” and ending poverty. Foreign aid programs proliferated under the UN, World Bank, USAID and other agencies to promote economic growth in the “third world.”

  • Economists like Rostow and planners viewed foreign aid as a way to modernize poor nations and prevent the spread of communism during the Cold War. Grand plans and integrated strategies were advocated to spur “development.”

  • However, critics argue this patronizing view underestimated the ability of local people to help themselves. In reality, countries like China, India, and East Asian Tigers grew most rapidly through decentralized market forces without massive foreign aid or outside direction.

  • Homegrown solutions by entrepreneurs, NGOs and local governments were often more effective than top-down planning by Western experts. While foreign aid has a role, the poor should not be viewed as passive recipients but as active agents of their own development.

  • Etenesh Ayele and her colleagues run an association in Ethiopia that teaches girls skills to avoid having to work in firewood brigades. They teach alternative skills like weaving and provide small loans for start-up capital.

  • Most women already know how to weave but lack money to buy materials. The association provides materials and helps with new designs so the women can more easily sell the shawls and dresses they make.

  • This is a homegrown effort that could be better supported by foreign donors. Poor communities have accomplished more for themselves than outside planners.

  • Western aid alone cannot transform societies. The main hope is for communities to be their own “searchers,” borrowing ideas when useful. The book focuses on what Western aid can do, not how long-term prosperity is achieved.

  • One success story was Botswana, which had high growth not due to aid but due to embracing democracy and developing its diamond resources. Aid may have played an early role but growth soon made it less important.

  • The book argues aid should focus on modest, doable steps identified by local “searchers” rather than utopian goals. This would free up resources to address priorities like access to medicines, bed nets, food for new mothers, and education.

  • The village has little electricity, with only a few homes and one area with a TV showing a funeral gathering 50 people. Night falls and it is very dark.

  • Vendors sell food by candlelight. Speakers are playing loud heavy metal music across the street from the TV viewing, which is a change from traditional drums played 35 years ago.

  • The few electric hookups are an improvement from 35 years ago when there was no electricity at all.

  • Accommodation for the night is basic but insect-free.

  • These snapshots provide anecdotal evidence of small improvements made piecemeal, like electricity, water infrastructure, a junior high school financed by Western donations. However, much more could still be done to help people, like improving access to healthcare.

  • The examples suggest aid searchers can find local improvements, but many potentially lifesaving interventions still don’t reach many people due to gaps in aid programs and implementation.

  • Sachs argues there is evidence of a poverty trap, where the poorest countries have significantly lower growth than others. However, the specific data he cites does not fully support this. While the poorest countries grew slightly slower in 1950-1975, they grew much slower in more recent periods of 1985-present.

  • The composition of which countries were the poorest has changed over time. Many countries that were in the poorest group in more recent periods were not in 1950. This suggests countries can decline into poverty rather than being stuck there.

  • Other scholars have failed to find evidence that savings rates increase only at intermediate income levels, as required by poverty trap theory. Reasons for poverty may lie elsewhere.

  • While specific poverty traps may exist, average data does not show the poorest countries have zero growth, as the theory requires. Slower growth of poorer countries historically may be explained more by variations in quality of government, with European countries generally having better institutions.

  • The evidence suggests variation in government quality, rather than a savings-technology poverty trap, better explains differences in long-term growth rates across countries. Bad government, rather than a trap, appears to account more for recent poor growth in some countries.

  • There is no definitive evidence that aid in the form of a “Big Push” allows countries to takeoff into self-sustaining growth, as the cycles of studies on this question have not clearly proven aid’s impact. Africa’s large aid receipts have not conclusively shown this theory to work.

  • The article discusses research on the relationship between foreign aid and economic growth in developing countries. In the 1990s, a significant portion of GDP in many African countries came from foreign donors.

  • Initial research in the 1960-1980s on this topic was inconclusive due to limited data and reverse causality issues (aid increasing when growth decreases).

  • A 1996 study by Peter Boone found that aid financed consumption rather than investment and had no effect on growth, even after controlling for reverse causality.

  • An influential 2000 study by Burnside and Dollar found that aid had a positive impact on growth in countries with good fiscal, monetary, and trade policies. This study influenced policy and led to increases in foreign aid.

  • However, later studies by the author and others, using new data and the same methodology as Burnside and Dollar, did not find evidence that aid raised growth in countries with good policies.

  • Another study by CRB found aid increased short-term growth, but this result also did not hold up to further scrutiny and statistical testing by Rajan and Subramanian.

  • In summary, while the relationship between aid and growth was debated, later research using new data and testing prior results found little evidence that foreign aid significantly increased economic growth.

  • Some criticisms of international aid include that it is often tied to purchases from the donor country, limiting its effectiveness in the recipient country. Donor countries also sometimes give aid for political rather than development reasons.

  • Studies have found no difference in impact on growth between bilateral aid (tied) and multilateral aid (not tied). Nor was aid more effective if it came from Scandinavian countries known for less tying and political motivations.

  • Additional analyses found that beyond a certain level of aid as a share of GDP (around 8%), more aid had no effect or even a negative effect on growth, contrary to theories that large amounts are needed for a “big push.” Many countries have now surpassed this level.

  • Large public investments financed by aid in Africa did not lead to the expected increases in productivity, casting doubt on big push theories. Countries receiving high aid were also no more likely to experience economic “takeoffs” into self-sustaining growth.

  • Rigorously evaluating aid programs is difficult due to selection biases and lack of a clear counterfactual. Some economists favor smaller, experimentally tested interventions over large transformative visions which are hard to properly evaluate.

  • Economists Michael Kremer and Edward Miguel employed a randomized controlled trial approach to study a deworming drug and education program in Busia district, Kenya administered by the aid organization ICS.

  • They found that the deworming drugs significantly reduced school absenteeism by 25% due to reducing intestinal worm infections in children. However, the education program had no effect on worm infection rates.

  • This identified a practical way to help kids stay in school through deworming drugs, while showing another proposed method (education) did not work. As a result, ICS expanded its successful deworming program.

  • Other research found no evidence that SME promotion through aid actually leads to economic growth or poverty reduction, contrary to common beliefs. This caused concern in the aid community but highlighted the importance of evidence-based evaluation of different policies and programs.

  • Additional studies examine economic and political factors in developing countries to identify piecemeal approaches that seem to contribute to development, rather than comprehensive proposals. However, planners still tend to favor top-down comprehensive reforms despite evidence of failure.

Here is a summary of the key points from the chapter:

  • The “Big Push” theory of using foreign aid to rapidly transition developing countries to free markets failed in the 1980s. This led to soul searching about a top-down approach and whether local contexts were being ignored.

  • Western economists then began conditioning aid on countries rapidly adopting free market reforms. However, introducing free markets from the top-down often did not work in practice as it overlooked the complex, bottom-up process through which markets developed organically in the West.

  • Russia’s transition to a market economy in the 1990s through “shock therapy” is examined as a case study. Western economists promoted this approach but it led to economic collapse, not rapid growth as promised. Local experts warned against shock therapy but were ignored.

  • Soviet enterprises survived the transition not through efficiency but barter networks that bore little resemblance to real markets. Value was destroyed rather than created. Privatization resulted in asset stripping by oligarchs, not entrepreneurship.

  • Life expectancy notably declined in Russia after the failed reforms, indicating their human costs, before Putin brought more state control and stability albeit less political freedom. The chapter examines the difficulties of planning or imposing free markets from the outside.

  • Much of the limited democracy that Yeltsin established in Russia was eroded under Putin. In 2004, Freedom House downgraded Russia’s status from “partly free” to “not free.”

  • Putin went after oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky for alleged tax evasion and had him convicted and sentenced to 9 years in prison, seen as a way to curb political dissent.

  • The Russian economy grew since 1998 but per capita income was still below Soviet levels in 1989. Many Russians felt economic performance was still poor or mediocre and that the country was headed in the wrong direction.

  • The World Bank and IMF pursued shock therapy and structural adjustment loans in countries like Russia, believing quick, comprehensive reforms were needed for projects to succeed. However, these policies often failed due to poor implementation and unintended consequences of large-scale changes. Piecemeal reforms may have been more effective.

  • Countries receiving many structural adjustment loans, like in Africa and ex-Communist states, often experienced negative or no growth. The policies generally did not achieve their goals and caused economic hardship in many places.

The passage discusses the benefits of specialization and trade as outlined by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations. It argues that through specializing in certain tasks and trading with others, individuals and societies can become better off.

It uses the example of the author not knowing how to produce basic foods themselves, but trading their economist services for money to purchase home cooking items and takeout instead.

Specialization allows people to focus on what they’re good at and practice skills through repetition. Markets also help reconcile supply and demand through a decentralized search process, determining prices and quantities of goods efficiently without central planning.

Financial markets further boost specialization and efficiency by equalizing returns across sectors and allowing anyone to invest in high-return opportunities through borrowing. This positive feedback loop rewards producers that meet consumer needs.

The passage argues markets have historically proven effective at dispersing information through a bottom-up search process, as seen in many developing nation success stories. However, it notes markets do not guarantee national success on their own, as complex real-world factors are involved.

  • Bottom-up social institutions and norms are essential for well-functioning markets to develop. These evolve organically within societies over long periods of time, and cannot be imposed by outsiders.

  • Markets alone do not help the very poor, who lack money to participate. Development needs both grassroots market forces that benefit rich and poor, as well as targeted short-term assistance for basic needs.

  • Helping the poor is complex, but top-down imposition of free markets won’t work. Solutions must be tailored to individual country contexts and histories.

  • Social norms are needed to prevent “opportunistic behavior” like cheating that undermines markets. Lack of checks on greed can stall development as much as lack of markets.

  • Many types of cheating are possible without trust and enforcement, like low quality goods, non-payment, reneging on contracts, price gouging with leverage.

  • Solutions include interpersonal trust, reputation systems, warranties, courts, but these are less effective in poor countries with little transactions and weak institutions. Development relies on organically growing trust and institutions from the bottom up over long periods.

  • In poor countries and developing areas, there are often informal networks and associations that help facilitate economic activity in the absence of formal institutions. This includes things like age groups, ongoing business relationships, ethnic trading networks, and business associations.

  • These networks help prevent opportunistic behavior and cheating through mechanisms like reputation effects, multilateral punishment for misbehavior, provision of trade credit only after repeated interactions, and exclusion of bad actors from the entire network.

  • Common ethnic groups often play a prominent role in business networks due to preexisting social ties and an incentive to cooperate. However, this can also perpetuate ethnic income inequality over time.

  • While networks help make markets function, they are not a perfect solution as they also exclude outsiders and limit competition. Overall, the informal networks fill an important gap where formal institutions are lacking.

  • Informal social networks are important for facilitating exchanges, especially in markets with poor formal institutions in developing countries. These networks can be based on ethnicity, family ties, etc. However, networks that exclusively benefit certain ethnic groups can breed resentment from other groups.

  • In countries with weak rule of law, informal norms, self-protection groups, and even mafia-like organizations sometimes emerge to provide security and dispute resolution where formal institutions fail. However, these alternatives don’t always lead to good outcomes and their authority is difficult to limit.

  • Establishing clear, secure property rights is important for enabling markets and investment. Without title to land and assets, people have little incentive to accumulate capital long-term. Hernando de Soto noted most poor urban dwellers in developing countries do not have legal land titles.

  • Both informal networks and well-defined property rights are necessary conditions for markets to function effectively. But top-down policies alone may not be enough - outsiders need to understand local social arrangements to help design interventions that work. The evolution of rule of law in Western nations was a complex, bottom-up process.

  • Property rights are complicated and don’t just come from the state enforcing them from the top down. They arise gradually from decentralized processes as communities search for solutions.

  • Michael Cresap, the author’s ancestor, claimed land along the Ohio River in a loose way by building cabins and then selling the land. George Washington disputed some of Cresap’s claims. Land titles on the frontier were often unclear with multiple claimants.

  • Over time, the US government and state legislatures passed many laws trying to sort out land rights, but enforcement was inconsistent. Squatters’ rights were eventually recognized. Custom and informal agreements played a big role in determining property arrangements.

  • Formal titles only become worthwhile when the value of the land or assets increases above the costs of titling. Poorer societies rely more on oral traditions and community agreements regarding land use and ownership.

  • Attempts by outsiders to completely rewrite legal systems from the top down, like Western groups did in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, often had little real effect as they failed to consider local customs and realities. Evolution from the bottom up works better than top-down engineering of property laws and systems.

The passage discusses critiques of land titling efforts in Kenya and the effects it had. Specifically, it summarizes research by the anthropologist Parker Shipton on how titling impacted the Luo tribe’s traditional land tenure system. That system was complex with both individual and family rights over different plots used for various crops, allowing risk diversification.

Land titling sowed uncertainty by not clarifying whether the government would recognize traditional land patrons or those they granted temporary rights to. It led to conflicts being decided by committees pressured to rule in favor of whoever provided more gifts. Titling also failed to keep up with land sales and transfers, disconnecting formal ownership from reality. Opportunistic behavior further complicated transactions.

The experience suggests imposing private property through titling alone may increase land tenure insecurity rather than reduce it by disrupting customs. Kenyan law later began recognizing traditional rights again. The passage argues for building on customary law from the bottom-up rather than contradicting it through top-down imposition of formal rules.

  • Mexico allowed foreign banks to enter to put competitive pressure on local banks, but it did not fully solve Mexico’s bad loan problem. Banks lend less to the private sector due to still-shaky bankruptcy laws, declining private loans from 49% to 30% of bank assets from 1997-2003.

  • Mexico has not fully made financial markets work due to difficulties establishing the right bottom-up rules and incentives. This may explain the disappointing payoff of Latin America’s “free-market” reforms which were top-down.

  • Top-down comprehensive reforms by outsiders fail because rules that make markets work emerge from complex bottom-up social processes of norms, relationships and laws evolving over time in response to circumstances. Trying to change all rules at once through shock therapy can disrupt existing systems before new ones solidify.

  • Despite failures of top-down reforms, there have been positive bottom-up market trends in Africa, Latin America and ex-Communist countries as new generations embrace opportunities and technologies like movies, phones, TVs and internet spread rapidly without government intervention. Individual stories also show people climbing out of poverty through entrepreneurship.

  • Bolivia has struggled with political instability and economic stagnation for centuries, having had 195 presidents by the 1830s. This reflects deep divisions in its multi-ethnic society dominated by a white elite.

  • In the 16th century, Bolivia was wealthy due to its silver mines at Potosi, which became the largest in the world. However, the wealth did not translate into sustained economic growth for the country as a whole.

  • The silver boom relied on a forced labor system that exploited the indigenous population. Very little of the wealth trickled down to improve livelihoods for most Bolivians.

  • When the silver boom ended in the 17th century, the economy stagnated with no strong new industries or prosperity created. Bolivia remained poor despite its earlier mineral riches.

  • Weak and corrupt governance, along with ethnic divisions between the ruling white elite and indigenous majority, have contributed to Bolivia’s unstable politics and failure to develop economically over the long term. It remains one of the poorest countries in Latin America.

  • Under the Spanish colonial system of encomiendas, wealthy conquistadors were granted large tracts of land with rights to the labor and crops of Indigenous communities living on the land.

  • High rates of Indigenous mortality from European diseases broke up traditional communities and allowed wealthier Europeans to consolidate land into large estates called haciendas. Hacienda owners utilized stranded Indigenous laborers. Other Indigenous people lived in their own communities subject to tribute taxes.

  • When Bolivia gained independence in 1825, the hacienda system remained dominant. By 1846 there were over 5,000 hacienda owners managing a labor force of 400,000 Indigenous peasants. Indigenous communities declined in size and power over the following decades.

  • The tin mining boom of 1880-1930 further increased demands on Indigenous land by hacienda owners. The government undermined free Indigenous communities and fraudulently acquired their lands. Indigenous people were increasingly left with the poorest quality lands.

  • Even after independence, Bolivia remained dominated by white elites politically and economically. Indigenous people continued working under exploitative conditions on haciendas into the 20th century with little representation, education, or rights.

  • The 1952 revolution failed to improve conditions for Indigenous and poor Bolivians. The country remained politically unstable with weak, corrupt institutions dominated by elites until recent Indigenous-led uprisings demanded greater rights and control over natural resources.

  • Democracies can help provide public goods like roads and infrastructure through feedback from voters. Politicians have incentives to respond to voter demands and address issues like potholes to get re-elected.

  • Survey data shows a correlation between measures of democracy (“voice and accountability”) and government effectiveness in delivering services, even after controlling for income levels. Areas with more democracy tend to have better government services.

  • However, democracy is complex and not a quick fix. It requires fair election rules to prevent cheating and protecting minority rights. Otherwise the majority could vote to oppress minorities or disenfranchise opposition groups.

  • Property rights also need protection, or a populist majority could vote to excessively redistribute wealth. This was a historical concern in establishing democratic systems like the US.

  • While oligarchies may allow for growth by protecting incumbent elites, democracies are better for long-term development as they give more opportunities to entrepreneurs and allow new economic sectors to emerge over time through political competition and equal rights.

  • Acemoglu and Robinson argue that democracy emerges from a strategic face-off between the rich minority oligarchy and the poor majority. The poor threaten revolution to extract democratic concessions.

  • Repression may work initially but becomes more costly as people get educated. Granting democracy is often a compromise to avoid full revolution. This happened in Britain in the 19th century.

  • Democracies emerged more easily in industrial societies with a mid-size middle class, while agrarian/resource societies tended toward oligarchy and instability.

  • Natural resources like sugar, silver and oil often led to highly unequal societies dominated by oligarchies, as the resources were easy to monopolize. This hampered the emergence of democracy.

  • Historical examples like minority European settlements in Latin America, Africa and elsewhere largely validated Acemoglu and Robinson’s arguments. The oligarchies performed well initially but stagnated over centuries, unlike democratic settlements.

  • In summary, oligarchies tend to stagnate long-term due to repression breeding resentment, while democracies emerged as a compromise between the rich and poor to avoid revolution in more industrialized societies. Natural resources often hindered democracy.

Here is a summary of the key points about the pattern of oligarchy and stagnation:

  • In many developing countries, power is concentrated in the hands of a small elite group, forming an oligarchy. This oligarchy seeks to maintain its power and privileges.

  • The oligarchy uses various tactics to prevent the rise of democracy and popular representation that could threaten its dominance. This includes manipulating electoral rules, stoking ethnic/national divisions, and curbing civil liberties and freedom of the press.

  • The oligarchy’s primary goal is preserving the status quo and its own socioeconomic position, not promoting broad-based economic development. Stagnation tends to persist under oligarchic rule.

  • Natural resources like oil can entrench oligarchic rule by providing state revenues independent of taxpayers. Rent-seeking replaces economic productivity.

  • Unequal agrarian societies with powerful landowning elites also facilitate oligarchy and stagnation. The elite classes block land reforms and popular redistribution.

  • Ethnic or nationalist conflicts are sometimes exploited by oligarchic leaders to divert political opposition and promote their own hold on power over development goals.

  • Corruption is common under oligarchic dominance, as the elite classes steal from state coffers and buy off political opponents. This undermines governance, property rights, and the rule of law.

In summary, the concentration of political and economic power among a narrow oligarchy is associated with stagnation, corruption, suppressed democracy, and poor development outcomes according to this analysis. The oligarchy prioritizes its privileges over broad-based economic growth.

There is a difficult problem for donor agencies wanting to aid poor countries. They have to give money to the governments of recipient countries, even if those governments are corrupt or undemocratic. Many historical and political factors have resulted in bad governments having deep roots in some countries.

Studies show that foreign aid often goes to countries with undemocratic or corrupt governments, rather than being based on need or good governance outcomes. Strategic and political concerns also influence which countries receive aid. Some positive examples of aid supporting reform, like in Botswana, show what’s possible with good leadership.

But aid can also potentially worsen governance issues. High aid revenues that go to national governments tend to benefit political insiders rather than ordinary citizens. Some studies find aid decreases democracy and increases corruption over time. Even when donors want to reform poor governments, the systems in place may sabotage well-intentioned aid programs or prevent benefits from reaching people. Better targeting of aid is still needed.

  • The World Bank tried to implement a “social action program” in Pakistan in the 1990s to improve basic social services like education and healthcare.

  • However, an independent analysis found the program showed little success. Education enrollment stagnated and some areas saw declines.

  • After recognizing the first phase failed, the World Bank approved a second phase, but a 2000 review also found improvements were not happening or very slow.

  • The program was finally abandoned in 2002 after nearly a decade of failure.

  • Issues like political interference in hiring, absenteeism, frequent staff transfers, and corruption prevented effective implementation and addressing deeper issues like discrimination faced by the poor.

  • Aid alone could not address problems like powerful elites and ethnic divisions within Pakistan’s government.

  • While language in aid documents suggests progress, the reality on the ground showed governments were struggling with weak institutions and poor performance. Progress reports contradiction this reality.

  • Some success was seen in areas like education expansion and electrification where efforts were more visible and measurable, allowing for greater accountability, but corruption saw no progress.

  • The trend toward increased democracy in Africa over 1985-2004 may have been partly due to donor pressure, but evidence suggests aid did not correlate with democracy and may have weakened it. Africans deserve credit for progress on their own.

  • The IMF and World Bank now emphasize consulting civil society, but this does not substitute for democracy. They have supported corrupt regimes like in Burkina Faso that maintain power undemocratically.

  • Even well-intentioned participation efforts can contradict existing democratic processes or exacerbate political conflicts. Aid allocation has intensified tensions in places like Sri Lanka.

  • The IMF and World Bank claim not to dictate to governments, but their conditions on loans effectively do so. They engage in “ventriloquism” where governments present proposals the IMF/WB will approve, not their true priorities.

  • Peer review of African governments is questionable as it substitutes accountability to other states for accountability to citizens.

  • The IMF enabled corrupt and undemocratic regimes like the Duvaliers in Haiti for decades despite the terrible economic and political outcomes for the Haitian people. Their mandate to remain apolitical in reality supported undemocratic politics.

  • Haiti has been dysfunctional for two centuries due to the legacy of its history as a slave colony run by European minority settlers. It was once extremely prosperous but is now the poorest country in the Americas.

  • The Haitian Revolution overthrew the slave owners but the mulatto elite took their place, dominating politics today. Black Haitians transferred their hatred from white slave owners to the mulatto elite, fueling political instability.

  • Throughout the 19th century, power struggled between the mulatto Liberal Party and black National Party. The mulatto leader Jean-Pierre Boyer only established schools for mulattoes, not blacks, keeping the black majority illiterate and powerless.

  • This long history of political turmoil, elite domination, and lack of development has condemned Haiti to underdevelopment, even with later IMF loans that did not address the deeper political roots of instability and poverty.

  • The IMF also repeatedly bailed out notoriously corrupt regimes like Mobutu’s Zaire and continued lending to Rwanda despite signs of genocide, prioritizing “business as usual” over meaningful political reforms.

  • More recently, the IMF and World Bank have tried to engage with post-conflict states like Angola and the DRC, but corruption remains rampant and reforms have had little real impact. Deeper political and economic transformations have not been achieved.

  • The IMF and World Bank have a poor track record of screening out and not lending to genuinely bad governments, like in DRC, Angola, Haiti, and Rwanda where lending continued despite serious human rights abuses.

  • While the IMF and World Bank do show some willingness to lend less to the absolute worst 10% of governments based on corruption and democracy ratings, they don’t further penalize governments in the next worse 10% that still have issues.

  • The UN has also failed to establish high standards, allowing countries like Libya to chair the Human Rights Commission despite major human rights violations.

  • The 2005 UN Millennium Project report downplayed the role of bad governance in poverty, but did rule out aid to 4 extremely repressive regimes. However, its list of 63 ‘potentially well-governed’ aid recipients included many highly corrupt and non-democratic countries.

  • The Millennium Challenge Account experiment tries to only give aid to governments meeting standards of democracy, investment in citizens, lack of corruption and open markets. However, accurately assessing governance is difficult given measurement errors in ratings.

  • In general, the aid system struggles with conflicting goals of reforming governments, promoting government “ownership” and bypassing governments to directly fund projects. A gradual, experimental approach may work better than universal models.

  • The passage cautions against giving governments a “blank check” through foreign aid, as some governments may abuse this power. It is difficult for outsiders to reliably determine which governments cannot be trusted in this way.

  • It argues that Western political leaders and activists should continue exposing tyranny in other countries, but Western governments and aid agencies should not expect to reform bad governments or install good ones.

  • The current foreign aid system “coddles” and likely worsens bad governments. For example, the long-time dictator of Cameroon gets over 40% of government revenue from foreign aid, which could increase to over 50% under proposed increases.

  • Private citizens from all countries should continue economic and social interactions, but Western governments/agencies don’t need to deal with corrupt autocrats. When working with governments fails to help the poor, alternative approaches should be tried.

  • Could aid be taken away from bad governments and directed instead to reaching poor people? Could Western voters demand aid goes where it most helps the poor rather than unequal friends of donors?

  • Even in democracies, not everything needs government involvement. Why insist analogous projects in poor countries go through their governments?

  • The principle should be nonintervention - don’t reward bad governments but also don’t try to overthrow or control them. Both the donor and recipient status quos need reform.

  • The international aid bureaucracy, which includes organizations like the World Bank and USAID, has spent $2.3 trillion on poverty but has not been very effective in delivering critical services to the poor.

  • In Tanzania, the “growth industry” has been bureaucracy - they produce thousands of reports for donors but roads and other needed infrastructure are lacking.

  • Private sector models like air travel show how markets can efficiently deliver services without excessive bureaucracy. But markets don’t provide all public goods like roads.

  • Domestic public bureaucracies in wealthy democracies work better because they are accountable to elected officials and voters. For example, the author was able to get a pothole fixed quickly through his local government in Maryland.

  • The problem with foreign aid is it lacks bottom-up feedback from the poor. Bureaucrats control the “thermostat” for the poor but don’t get feedback on what they need. This leads to wasted resources and unmet needs.

  • Searchers could do better by getting direct input from the poor through surveys and experiments to understand local conditions. But the incentives are misaligned as rich country politicians, not the poor, control the aid agencies. This principal-agent problem is difficult to solve.

In summary, the author argues the foreign aid bureaucracy has failed to effectively deliver critical services to the poor due to a lack of accountability and bottom-up feedback from aid recipients, as well as misaligned political incentives within the system. Market and domestic public models show how accountability and responsiveness can work better.

  • Principal-agent problems arise when a principal (like a store owner) hires an agent (employee) to perform a task but their interests are not fully aligned. Contracts can help by incentivizing the agent to act in the principal’s interests.

  • However, this breaks down if the principal cannot observe or monitor the agent’s actual performance. The agent then has no incentive to work for the principal’s goals.

  • International development agencies face severe principal-agent problems due to the “invisibility” of their efforts and outcomes. It’s hard to attribute poverty reduction (or lack thereof) to any single agency’s actions.

  • There are also problems with multiple principals (donor governments/lobbies) and agents (development organizations) all working towards vague goals like ending poverty. This diffuses accountability further.

  • Analogies are drawn to how markets provide better feedback/accountability than bureaucracy by enabling consumers to choose/punish firms, and how democracy subjects bureaucracies to voter scrutiny through elected officials.

  • The summary concludes by contrasting how easily a US resident can get a pothole fixed versus the highly complex process a poor Tanzanian must go through with little guarantee of results. This illustrates the lack of accountability in foreign aid.

Based on the information provided:

  • A Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) is created by the national government of a developing country, usually with input from other stakeholders like civil society, NGOs, and international organizations.

  • The PRSP lays out the country’s macroeconomic, structural, and social policies and programs to promote growth and reduce poverty, as well as associated external financing needs and major sources of financing.

  • It is a requirement for countries to receive concessional loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Poverty Reduction Support Credits. So the national government takes the lead role in developing the PRSP to qualify for these programs.

  • Other international organizations like the UN, World Bank, IMF, etc. provide guidance, technical support and review the PRSP, but ultimate responsibility for creating it lies with the national government of the developing country.

Government bureaucracies are often less accountable to their intended beneficiaries (the poor) compared to private firms. This lack of accountability can result in bureaucracies doing a worse job of matching their supply of services to customer demand. Aid agencies also tend to lack a scientific approach to evaluating their actions, reflecting this lack of accountability.

Aid agencies will perform better when they can recruit dedicated professionals, and less well when political pressures lead to hiring based on other criteria besides merit. Professionals are easier to attract when their work involves well-defined, specific tasks that can boost morale.

Some factors that may have contributed to past success stories in aid include:

  • Health interventions have clearly defined and observable outcomes like reduced disease death rates. Specific diseases can be monitored, providing feedback.

  • Education, nutrition, water, and piecemeal policy projects also have visible indicators of success like enrollment ratios, weight/height of children, days to start a business.

  • Organizations like the WHO that focus narrowly on goals like health improvement can work even with a top-down structure if there is feedback.

Areas less likely to succeed involve goals that are general, invisible, and lack individual accountability, like overall economic growth. Aid agencies may overemphasize reporting on inputs like money spent rather than outputs or results due to lack of accountability. Politicians then reward agencies based on inputs rather than outcomes.

  • Aid agencies produce many reports, frameworks and summits to showcase their activities and commitments to international goals like the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This emphasis on observable outputs over real results reinforces their incentive to set goals rather than achieve them.

  • The proliferation of goals from different issue lobbies and constituencies has led to aid agencies trying to do everything rather than specializing. This “tragedy of the commons” problem means resources are spread too thinly to maximize impact.

  • In contrast to private sector specialization, aid agencies feel pressure to at least nominally support all goals, leading to inefficient “doing a little of everything” rather than focusing on high-impact priorities.

  • The political incentives in rich democracies encourage aid agencies to promise everything rather than make difficult trade-offs. Changing these incentives could allow aid to be directed to areas with the highest cost-benefit for poverty reduction.

  • Some reports from aid agency research departments can still be valuable if produced through professional standards and accountable to external scrutiny, like some World Bank and IMF studies.

  • The IMF’s flagship report is the World Economic Outlook, which provides high-quality analysis of the global economy and its prospects. It receives significant media coverage.

  • The World Bank’s flagship annual report is the World Development Report, which has examined topics like government service delivery and institutions for prosperity. These reports show some awareness of the need for poor citizens to have feedback mechanisms.

  • The IMF and World Bank also produce reports on individual poor countries that provide important economic information, though these receive little press attention.

  • There is a bias among aid agencies toward visible new construction projects over less visible but important ongoing maintenance and operating costs. As a result, infrastructure and projects often fail due to lack of maintenance.

  • Coordination among multiple aid agencies has been a persistent issue, with calls for better coordination not leading to real changes. Efforts to coordinate through more planning tend to overburden recipient governments.

  • Aid is sometimes designed to also benefit donor countries through tied aid and technical assistance contracts. Politics also influences which countries receive more aid.

  • Evaluation of aid projects often relies on self-evaluation rather than independent assessment, weakening incentives to determine what approaches are most effective.

  • The OED (Operations Evaluations Department) conducts evaluations of World Bank projects and reports to the board of the World Bank, not the president. However, staff move between OED and other parts of the World Bank, so negative evaluations could hurt staff careers.

  • Evaluations are subjective. Unclear methods sometimes lead to inconsistencies between evaluation findings and observed outcomes. Even when evaluations point out failures, it’s difficult to find evidence the World Bank changes practices in response.

  • An anthropologist studied an unsuccessful Canadian/World Bank aid project in Lesotho. The project aimed to modernize farming but locals were not interested as most worked in South African mines. Project goals to improve livestock/crops were not achieved due to lack of authority and poor conditions. The main outcome was improved roads benefiting South African traders, not local farmers.

  • Truly independent evaluations of specific interventions are needed to hold agencies accountable and drive learning. Outsider political pressure may be required to create incentives for meaningful evaluation. New World Bank evaluation initiatives are a step forward but it remains to be seen if results will impact operations.

  • Even when seeking “participation”, aid agencies propose top-down plans like PRSPs that centralize power rather than empower locals. Bureaucratic incentives make truly decentralizing power difficult. Examples show tension between rhetoric of local ownership and reality of centralized planning approaches.

The passage discusses coordinating a multi-step process to develop a methodology for country-level MDG needs assessments. It critiques current top-down planning approaches used by aid agencies and argues for a more bottom-up, localized process.

Some key points:

  • It argues that current “participatory” planning approaches used by aid agencies actually patronize and diminish the poor by not giving them a true voice.

  • It advocates instead for approaches that maximize self-reliance and let the poor self-select, like scholarships and matching grants, to put the poor more in the driver’s seat.

  • It suggests aid agencies could learn from private markets and innovation by having more specialized staff learn about specific sectors/regions, rather than generalists producing top-down “Big Plans.”

  • The methodology development process would need to abandon utopian planning and engage in more piecemeal, localized intervention based on learning from prior experiences and mistakes.

  • It critiques various UN processes and documents as incomprehensible and ineffectual, producing numerous goals and conferences but little real change, and suggests the UN is worse than other aid agencies at learning from failures.

So in summary, it advocates a more bottom-up and localized methodology that truly involves the poor and focuses on learning from experience rather than top-down utopian planning.

  • Bureaucracies often struggle to effectively supply what the poor need due to complex and challenging conditions. The UN bureaucracy faces especially difficult problems as it has 191 member states with different political goals and lacks a clear constituency.

  • Suggestions for reform include: Giving aid agencies narrow, focused objectives rather than unrealistic goals; holding each agency individually accountable rather than collectively; allowing specialization and competition between agencies; increasing independent evaluation of aid programs; and giving more power and resources directly to the poor communities being helped.

  • Other strategies discussed are utilizing businesspeople, academics, and local communities more in monitoring aid effectiveness; exploring mechanisms that give more control of resources to the poor; and generally taking a more experimental, trial-and-error approach of finding small ways to improve outcomes rather than comprehensive frameworks.

  • A private firm example from India shows how Hindustan Lever used business incentives to promote handwashing with soap, recognizing it could significantly increase sales while helping reduce diarrheal diseases among the poor. This illustrates how private sector searchers can sometimes find ways to address poverty issues traditionally handled by aid agencies.

The main transmission mechanisms for diarrhea that HLL had to change behavior around through its health education programs were hand washing and sanitation. It started the Lifebuoy Swasthya Chetna program to educate children and parents in villages about how proper hand washing with soap can prevent diarrhea and other infectious diseases. The program formed health clubs in villages and had local doctors talk to parents about the importance of hand washing in preventing diarrhea. Through these education campaigns, HLL was able to increase sales of its antibiotic soap while also promoting better hygiene practices among villagers to protect their health. The key transmission mechanism it focused on changing behavior surrounding was hand washing to prevent the spread of diarrhea and other diseases.

The IMF aims to ensure loan repayments by imposing conditions on borrowing countries to get their finances in order. This typically involves cutting government deficits by reducing spending. However, enforcing austerity often roils domestic politics as unpopular cuts are made to subsidies or public sector wages.

Protests and riots have frequently erupted in response to IMF austerity programs. One example given is Ecuador in 2000, when teachers went on strike for weeks against salary cuts mandated by an IMF loan. Indigenous groups occupied Congress and there were mass demonstrations, leading the president to be deposed. Other countries like Argentina, Brazil, Kenya and Zambia also saw protests against IMF involvement in the late 1990s-early 2000s period.

While the IMF argues its financial discipline is needed, critics say imposing numerical targets and intruding in domestic politics can have mixed or counterproductive effects. Governments usually accept IMF loans anyway out of desperation during financial crises, even if the conditions damage their long-term popularity or political stability.

Here are the key points from the passage:

  • 7 of 8 cases of state failure or collapse in the past had a high proportion of time under IMF programs in the decade preceding collapse. This suggests IMF programs increased risk of state collapse for fragile states.

  • The IMF applied standard programs uniformly without regard for political fragility in places like Somalia, Sierra Leone. This likely exacerbated problems rather than solving them.

  • Sierra Leone had a horrific civil war after 1990 collapse following heavy IMF involvement. War resumed in 1998 despite another IMF program 1994-1998.

  • Even after 2001 IMF program in Sierra Leone, security depended on UN peacekeepers, the government couldn’t fully control mining areas, displaced people hadn’t returned, and peace was not stable upon planned UN withdrawal.

  • IMF numbers and diagnostics rely on unreliable statistics from poor countries with weak institutions. Figures like money supply, GDP growth, reserves, deficits vary widely between IMF reports, undermining program design and targets.

  • Overall the passage criticizes the IMF for being too simplistic and uniform in its approach, relying on poor data, and exacerbating problems in politically fragile states rather than solving the underlying issues.

Here are a few key things the government might do without the IMF:

  • Rely more on domestic sources of financing for budget deficits, like printing money or issuing domestic government bonds. This could lead to higher inflation and macroeconomic instability.

  • Have more difficulty accessing emergency lending during financial crises. The IMF provides large loans to countries experiencing currency or debt crises. Without the IMF, countries would need to find alternative sources of financing or rely more on reserves.

  • Have less pressure to implement fiscal austerity and structural reforms. The IMF conditions its loans on countries agreeing to policy changes like spending cuts, subsidy reductions, tax increases, etc. Without the IMF, governments may be less willing to make difficult economic reforms.

  • Face higher borrowing costs from private lenders on international debt markets. The IMF acts as an official lender of last resort, so its support can reassure private bondholders. Without IMF programs, countries might struggle to roll over maturing private debt.

  • Have less technical assistance on macroeconomic policymaking. The IMF provides analysis, forecasts and advice to member countries, which governments may find useful even if they can finance deficits through other means.

So in summary, independent financing could compromise stability and reforms, while forgoing IMF technical support and the role as lender of last resort might increase risks and costs of sovereign borrowing.

  • The IMF often displayed overly optimistic assumptions in its country programs, underestimating risks and downplaying them in presentations to its Executive Board. This led to promises in programs that were difficult to achieve.

  • Repeated lending by the IMF to countries weakened its leverage, as countries knew they could count on more loans even if conditions were not fully met.

  • This was demonstrated by the heavy indebtedness of poor countries, many of whom received multiple IMF and World Bank structural adjustment loans but still ended up needing debt relief through the HIPC initiative. Repeated lending contributed to unsustainable debt levels.

  • HIPC debt relief itself often did not lift growth as projected, so countries remained dependent on debt financing cycles. Repeated failures to meet growth targets called into question the viability of using loans to finance development.

  • Argentina’s debt crisis in 2001 was another major embarrassment, as the IMF continued lending even when recovery seemed unlikely, postponing but not preventing an eventual default.

  • In summary, the IMF’s repeated lending and overly optimistic assumptions contributed to failure of adjustment programs and unsustainable debt burdens in many poor countries.

  • AIDS has devastated many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, spreading from southern Uganda in the 1980s to present-day South Africa where 30% of pregnant women in their 20s test HIV positive. Countries like Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have HIV rates of over 30% among adults.

  • The passage describes personal stories that illustrate the human toll of AIDS, such as a man in Uganda who lost his entire family to AIDS and was left alone, and a young South African woman struggling to support her HIV-positive self and three children with little support.

  • While the problem of AIDS in Africa now receives attention from activists, celebrities, politicians and aid agencies, the passage criticizes the two decades of neglect and inaction by the West even though experts had warned of the devastating potential impact decades ago.

  • Behind the recent attention is a tale of neglect, prevarication, incompetence and passivity by political actors and aid agencies when they had all the information needed to take preventive action much earlier that could have saved millions of lives.

So in summary, it outlines the massive human and social costs of AIDS in Africa but argues the recent response has been inadequate given longstanding warnings that were ignored for decades during which millions died unnecessarily.

The passage discusses two paradoxes - the paradox of evil in religion, and the paradox of the White Man’s Burden in foreign aid.

The paradox of evil says you cannot have a benevolent and all-powerful God, while also having evil happen to good people. This contradiction is difficult for true believers to resolve.

The paradox of the White Man’s Burden is that foreign aid cannot claim to act in the poor’s interests (condition 1), be effective at resolving their problems (condition 2), while also allowing many preventable bad things to happen to the poor (condition 3). If condition 3 occurs, then one of the other conditions must not hold true.

Foreign aid is impacted by this paradox in its response to the AIDS crisis in Africa. Early inaction and ineffective action on AIDS prevention reflect how out of touch aid planners were with realities on the ground. It shows foreign aid’s ineffectiveness at fulfilling the White Man’s Burden.

In contrast, foreign aid has had successes in health areas like immunization and disease eradication. These narrower objectives that directly help the poor may be easier for aid to achieve when goals are clear, monitorable, and politically supported.

  • Early in the AIDS epidemic, prevention efforts were lacking even though “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Agencies were slow to recognize and address the growing crisis in Africa.

  • Prevention work was not very “visible” to Western audiences in the late 1980s/early 1990s, so it garnered little attention or funding until infection rates soared. Agencies seemed unsure how to respond at first.

  • A 1998 study found the World Bank’s AIDS projects lacked economic analysis of effective interventions and promoted condom use in only half their projects. Country strategies failed to acknowledge HIV/AIDS issues.

  • Despite producing reports acknowledging AIDS was “completely preventable,” the World Bank’s M&E system for projects was extremely complex and did not incorporate scientific standards like randomized trials.

  • The story of Kitty Genovese describes how collective responsibility problems can lead to inaction, as each agency assumes someone else will respond to crises. This “Genovese effect” may have contributed to delays in the AIDS response.

  • Stories of grandmothers like Mary Banda caring for orphaned grandchildren highlight the immense human toll of the AIDS crisis in Africa and the need for culturally-sensitive prevention messaging.

  • Many AIDS orphans in Africa have no family to care for them due to the large number of family members who have died from HIV/AIDS. This is breaking down the traditional system of extended families caring for orphans.

  • Orphans who have no family support are often on the streets and face numerous risks like substance abuse, crime, accidents, and acquiring HIV themselves through sex work.

  • Studies show orphans with less family support get less schooling and worse outcomes compared to orphans living with relatives or non-parental guardians.

  • Treating AIDS through antiretroviral drugs is being pushed as a humanitarian priority. However, this is an expensive approach that diverts resources from more cost-effective prevention and treatment of other diseases killing many Africans like malaria, tuberculosis, and diarrheal diseases.

  • prevention and treatment of these other major diseases can save lives for just $5-40 per person compared to $1,500 per person per year for antiretroviral treatment. The resources spent on HIV treatment could save many more lives overall if spent on more cost-effective interventions.

  • Antiretroviral treatment for HIV/AIDS is estimated to only extend life by 3-5 years on average before resistance develops. Estimates from Brazil show the effectiveness of first-line treatment is only about 14 months.

  • Providing expensive HIV/AIDS treatment to the poor in Africa raises questions about whether that is the best use of scarce funds or the priority those communities would choose. Treatment costs thousands per person while other interventions like preventing measles could save more lives for less money.

  • Western politicians emphasize treatment as a visible action to satisfy voters that something is being done, even if it may not help the most people. Prevention through condoms is a harder political sell.

  • Religious conservatives in the US push for abstinence-only education for prevention funds despite lack of effectiveness, undermining pragmatic condom promotion. This overrides evidence of what works best to reduce transmission in Africa.

  • The same funds spent on effective prevention could avert many more infections and ultimately save more lives than treatment, according to estimates. But aid focuses on visible treatment over prevention due to political incentives.

  • While more funding for health in developing countries is needed, prioritizing the highest impact interventions is important given limited resources. Spending on education to reduce transmission has far higher impact than expensive treatment per person saved. But aid agencies avoid making difficult trade-offs.

  • Money for aid and healthcare is limited, so trade-offs must be made between spending on different health issues like AIDS, malaria, diarrhea, etc. Spending vast amounts on AIDS treatment means less available for other life-saving interventions.

  • AIDS treatment with drugs is very complex and relies on strong healthcare systems, but systems in poor African countries are dysfunctional with corruption, stockouts, untrained staff, etc. So treatment may save fewer lives than expected.

  • Simpler interventions like bed nets and vaccines have more potential for success given weaknesses in delivery systems.

  • The political pressure for AIDS treatment ignores that no amount can stop the crisis - only prevention can do that by saving future generations.

  • Critics argue cost-effectiveness analyses are oversimplified and don’t account for “weak links” that mean aid money achieves far fewer health benefits than expected.

  • While commending the compassion of AIDS activists, the needs and priorities of ordinary Africans like job opportunities should also be considered, not just dramatic depictions of AIDS suffering.

So in summary, it argues the case for prioritizing AIDS treatment is flawed given limited resources and weak healthcare systems, and prevention should be the main focus to actually stop the crisis.

  • There is a renewed interest in imperialism and neotrusteeship/postmodern imperialism in Western policy circles. This involves high levels of foreign control over domestic politics and economies in weak states.

  • Scholars like Fearon, Laitin, and Krasner argue failed and badly governed states cannot fix themselves and need alternatives like de facto trusteeships or shared sovereignty supported by external actors.

  • The US State Department has created a new Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization headed by Carlos Pascual. Its mandate is to pre-plan reconstruction of up to 25 countries not currently in conflict.

  • The plans aim to fundamentally change the “social fabric” of nations and create “democratic and market-oriented” states, which sometimes means “tearing apart the old.”

  • Krasner and Pascual describe how this office will coordinate civilian and military stabilization and reconstruction efforts during and after interventions in other countries. The goal is long-term transformation of weak states.

So in summary, there is a renewed interest in neocolonial forms of control over weak states by Western policymakers and academics, with the US taking a leading role in planning such interventions through its new Reconstruction and Stabilization Office.

  • The U.S. military is planning to involve interagency civilian teams more closely in regional combatant commands to help develop strategies for post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction. These civilian teams will deploy alongside the military to provide guidance.

  • There will be increased coordination between the military efforts and other forms of foreign aid provided by organizations like USAID, the World Bank, and IMF.

  • The goal is to help ensure realistic assumptions about civilian reconstruction capabilities and enable more people to benefit from peace, democracy, and market economies.

  • However, the chapter argues that past colonial efforts did not actually facilitate economic development and created some of the conditions seen in today’s failed states and bad governments.

  • Colonial powers left behind arbitrary borders dividing ethnic groups and often reinforced despotic rule by indirectly governing through local autocrats they appointed. This weakened institutions and popular legitimacy in the newly independent states.

  • Overall, the level of colonial administration was poor due to few European officials. They often made the situations worse by reorganizing traditional political systems in detrimental ways. So the lessons of history suggest colonial and neo-imperial projects may do more harm than good.

  • Colonial rulers often implemented indirect rule, where they appointed local chiefs to carry out responsibilities on their behalf, like collecting taxes, requisitioning labor, enforcing policies, and providing military recruits.

  • Chiefs were given unchecked powers which they often abused to extract extra taxes, labor, and resources for themselves beyond what was required by the colonial authorities.

  • Even systems labeled “direct rule” by colonizers like the French and Belgians still relied on local village chiefs appointed by colonial administrators.

  • Colonizers struggled to fully control things and were often bamboozled by opportunistic locals. They had to rely on native clerks and interpreters but these individuals sometimes established corrupt parallel systems.

  • Early in colonial rule, educated Africans held some positions in colonial administrations. But later, colonizers decided to favor traditional rulers to control the interior and removed educated Africans from power, exacerbating divisions.

  • Indirect rule shifted power dynamics in favor of elderly traditional rulers and exacerbated generational conflicts between young and old males in African societies.

  • While colonialism had exploitative aspects, some colonizers also had humanitarian motivations to “develop” and “civilize” colonies, though their efforts were often incompetent and counterproductive.

  • Colonial powers in the 19th-20th centuries viewed railways, education, healthcare, and agricultural development as ways to “open up” and develop their colonies for economic gain. However, the results were mixed.

  • In India, per capita income grew only slowly under British rule. Railways and other infrastructure were built, but incomes failed to rise significantly.

  • In the Philippines, Americans established schools, infrastructure, legal systems, and public health initiatives to improve literacy, reduce disease, and advocate crop production. However, secondary education rates remained low.

  • European colonial powers also built extensive rail networks in Africa to connect mines, plantations, and ports. This reduced transport costs substantially. Health initiatives lowered disease rates and increased populations.

  • Education rates varied widely across African colonies, from over 30% primary enrollment in some places to under 10% in others. Secondary education was much rarer at only 1-2% enrollment.

  • Forced cultivation schemes in various African colonies often displaced higher-yielding local crops and farming methods, with unintended negative consequences. Large infrastructure projects like Tanzania’s groundnut scheme often failed.

  • Overall, African economic growth under colonialism was modest, and the income gap with Europe widened over time. Areas without extensive colonial rule, like East Asia, tended to develop more rapidly after independence.

  • The article discusses economic growth and outcomes in former colonies and non-colonized countries from 1960-2001. It finds that per capita income growth was 1.7 percentage points higher in non-colonies, and by 2001 income was 2.4 times higher in non-colonies.

  • Economist Louis Putterman argues having a long history of statehood before colonization (which prevented colonization in many cases) gave countries an advantage to seize economic opportunities after colonialism. Naturally formed states generally outperformed artificial colonial creations.

  • However, outcomes varied widely among non-colonies. China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan had spectacular growth. Others like Iran and Saudi Arabia benefited from oil. But countries like North Korea, Afghanistan and Nepal struggled.

  • The Congo (now Democratic Republic of Congo) is discussed as one country that suffered greatly from colonial abuse and mismanagement. It endured Portuguese, Belgian and Mobutu’s brutal rule before further conflict in recent decades. While escaping colonization was generally advantageous, it did not guarantee stable development for all formerly non-colonized countries.

  • From 1998-2002, an estimated 3.3 million people died in the Congo war, making it the deadliest conflict since WWII. Various militias and foreign forces looted the country’s minerals.

  • Laurent Kabila was assassinated in 2001. His son Joseph Kabila became president but was similarly authoritarian. He allowed foreign invaders to remain and reopened international aid to prop up his rule.

  • Despite $1.5 billion in World Bank loans since 2001, average incomes remain very low at $0.29 per day. It’s unclear how much aid benefits average Congolese given much of it flows through corrupt warlords. Over 3 million Congolese remain refugees.

  • European colonization and intervention over 500 years has severely mismanaged and exploited the DRC, leaving it with extreme poverty, instability and misgovernment even after decolonization in the 1960s. Arbitrary borders and propping up bad leaders exacerbated problems.

  • Decolonization failed to adequately consider locals’ wishes and imposed Western concepts of nationality, often keeping illogical colonial borders that divided ethnic groups and combined enemies. This sowed seeds for many modern conflicts over disputed territories and national identities.

  • Hussein ibn Ali sent a message declaring an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire in exchange for British support for Arab independence after the war.

  • The British representative Sir Henry McMahon negotiated with Hussein and sent a letter in 1915 promising to support Arab independence in most of the Arab lands, excluding what is now Lebanon which the French saw as their influence area. The boundaries were vaguely defined.

  • In 1916, the Sykes-Picot Agreement secretly divided control of the Middle East between Britain and France after the war, carving up the Ottoman Empire. This contradicted promises to the Arabs.

  • In 1917, the British issued the Balfour Declaration supporting “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”, despite having promised the land to the Arabs.

  • These contradictory promises by the British to the Arabs, French and Jews over the same lands like Palestine set the stage for ongoing conflict after the war and still impact the region today. The arbitrary borders drawn by colonial powers combined diverse ethnic-religious groups, failing to consider local identities and aspirations.

  • When Pakistan was formed, it comprised disparate ethnic groups and provinces that did not all strongly support the idea of a united Pakistani state.

  • The Pathans in what became NWFP preferred independence or union with Afghanistan. Sindhis and Balochis also initially opposed Pakistan and wanted more autonomy for their provinces.

  • After partition, Urdu became the national language, but most Pakistanis at the time spoke other languages, causing resentment.

  • East Pakistan later seceded to become Bangladesh after facing repression from West Pakistan, demonstrating the unstable nature of the Pakistani state constructed by the British.

  • Pakistan has struggled with democracy, military coups, religious and ethnic tensions, threats from extremism, and volatility due to its geopolitical position between India and Afghanistan. Its formation as a state joined disparate groups and left many territories divided.

  • Sudan gained independence in 1956 after a period of joint British-Egyptian rule, but the transition was troubled and lacked planning for self-governance. This led to instability, conflict, and deferred decisions around the country’s political system.

  • Civil war broke out shortly after independence and lasted until 1972, killing 500,000 Sudanese. Peace lasted about a decade before renewed civil war began in 1983 under President Numeiry.

  • Numeiry imposed sharia law nationwide in an attempt to gain Islamist support. The US supported Numeiry as an ally against Libya and Ethiopia, giving him $1.5B in aid. Rebellion in the south was led by John Garang.

  • Conflict continued through the 2000s. A peace deal in 2005 was overshadowed by the Darfur crisis, in which Arab militias attacked African villagers, killing 400,000 and displacing millions. Economic development was hindered by perpetual war.

  • Western intervention has historically undermined self-governance and local solutions in Sudan. While aid continued, economic and humanitarian conditions remained dire. Repeated violence shows the need for sustainable political reconciliation across regional divides.

  • The Ford Foundation funded a legal education program in India at Banaras Hindu University law faculty in 1964, but it failed - most graduates did not practice law. An evaluation in 1971 found this and the Foundation cut back funding.

  • N.R. Madhava Menon observed this failure. He started a legal aid clinic at Delhi University in 1971 to give students real-world experience and raise law school prestige.

  • In 1982, Menon proposed a new type of law school - a 5-year integrated program awarding a BA and law degree, mixing legal education with clinical experience. Indian universities rejected it.

  • In 1986, with support from the Bar Council of India and Karnataka state government, Menon established the National Law School of India in Bangalore. It drew on some American ideas but was mostly Indian.

  • The school was a success. Menon later got funding from the Ford Foundation to expand facilities.

  • National Law School is now the top law school in India, with huge application numbers. Graduates are in high demand. The school has expanded steadily.

  • Menon retired in 1998 but the school has continued to thrive. Other states established similar law schools following Menon’s model. Today he heads a National Judicial Academy to train judges.

The passage discusses American interventions during the Cold War, using the examples of Nicaragua and the Contra war of the 1980s. It aims to look beyond superficial assessments of outcomes to investigate the impacts on local populations.

In Nicaragua, both the American right and left claimed victory in the Contra war, but the reality on the ground was more complex. The Contras committed violent atrocities against civilians, including using land mines and deliberately targeting non-combatants. Both the Sandinistas and Contras committed human rights abuses. The CIA intervention supplied weapons to the Contras and exacerbated the conflict, despite knowing of abuses.

The town of Quilalí, Nicaragua is discussed in depth. Both Sandinista and Contra forces committed killings, disappearances and other violence against civilians there. Families like the Peraltas and Galeanos suffered losses on both sides of the conflict. In total over 30,000 Nicaraguans died. The US intervention failed to stabilize the situation or improve outcomes for the local population, contradicting Reagan’s rhetoric of supporting freedom and democracy. Overall, the passage casts doubt on claims that American intervention benefited Nicaraguans.

  • Congress cut off aid to the Contras in 1987 due more to the Iran-Contra Affair scandal than issues with the Contras themselves.

  • President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica negotiated a peace plan for Nicaragua that included democratic elections. The Sandinistas agreed to elections, believing they would win.

  • However, in the 1990 election, Violeta Chamorro of the united opposition won against Daniel Ortega.

  • After the war, around 500 ex-Contras and 1,000 families returned to Quilali from Honduras. The infrastructure was ruined and the town faced many hardships.

  • Ex-Contras invaded land belonging to a cooperative, seeking land they were promised. This reflected wider confusion over land ownership as different groups competed for claims.

  • Nicaragua failed to achieve strong economic recovery despite significant international aid in the 1990s, due to issues like weak governance, inefficient public sector, and uncertainty over property rights.

  • In 1975, Angola gained independence from Portugal after a socialist government came to power in Portugal. This led to a hasty withdrawal, leaving three rival guerilla groups - MPLA, UNITA, and FNLA - to fight for power.

  • A civil war broke out between the rival groups, each backed by foreign powers. The MPLA was supported by the Soviets and Cubans. UNITA was initially supported by the US, South Africa, and China. FNLA was supported by China, Romania, and North Korea initially but lost support.

  • The civil war was destructive due to foreign intervention. It continued on and off from 1975 until 2002, killing over 750,000 Angolans. The economy was devastated by the war and exile of the white population after independence.

  • UNITA and its leader Jonas Savimbi continued fighting with backing from the US under the Reagan administration. A peace agreement in 1991 failed as Savimbi violated it after losing an election.

  • The civil war only ended in 2002 when MPLA forces killed Savimbi. However, the damage from foreign meddling, mismanagement, and long civil war left Angola dependent on food aid with high poverty and disease rates.

  • In 1916, Woodrow Wilson said the United States had intervened in Mexico to serve humanity.

  • The US frequently intervened in Haiti throughout the 19th century, often to protect American business interests. It directly occupied Haiti from 1915-1934. The US left behind a newly trained Haitian army that was dominated by mulatto officers until 1946.

  • Haiti experienced political instability and the noirist movement emerged advocating for black power. Francois Duvalier became president in 1957 and ruled until 1971, passing power to his son thereafter.

  • The US intervened again in 1994 to restore Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power after a coup, but its support waned as his government became corrupt. Haiti ranked as one of the most corrupt countries.

  • Foreign interventions and aid efforts over the past century in Haiti and other countries have generally failed to promote long-term stability or democracy, according to studies. Issues include distorted strategic interests of intervening powers, lack of local knowledge, and unwillingness to be held accountable.

  • The passage discusses Japan’s economic growth since the 1800s without Western colonization. Homegrown reformers known as the Meiji leaders drove modernization following the opening of Japan by Commodore Perry in the 1850s.

  • The Meiji embraced Western learning and technology but rejected dependence on the West. Their goal was preserving Japanese independence through self-help and searching for what worked domestically.

  • Early reforms included establishing a land tax system in 1873 that treated land as private property that could be bought/sold, unlocking capital. While external land reforms often fail, respecting local customs made this homegrown reform successful.

  • Tariff revenues grew industry, and railroads/communications integrated the domestic market. Educational reforms grew skills. By 1901, Japan was the first non-Western great power, proving homegrown development can succeed without colonialism where many interventions have failed.

In summary, the passage discusses how homegrown reforms and searchers, not Western intervention, drove Japan’s economic miracle in the 19th century and allowed it to avoid colonization and become a modern, independent power.

  • In the late 19th century, inexperienced rulers in Japan printed too much money, causing inflation.

  • In 1881, Matsukata Masayoshi became finance minister and implemented reforms. He cut spending, privatized state enterprises to generate revenue, and used the funds to buy back currency. He also created the central Bank of Japan.

  • Inflation halted and private enterprise grew after the privatizations. Mitsui and Mitsubishi emerged to buy up former state companies and diversify into new industries like mining, shipping, and manufacturing.

  • Education reforms in the 1870s-80s sought to eliminate illiteracy and establish schools. This fueled technical skills and management talent for industrialization.

  • After WWII, the US occupation rebuilt Japan’s advanced economy rather than trying to radically transform its society. Japanese companies and policymakers effectively guided postwar growth in industries like electronics and automobiles.

  • Hong Kong and Singapore had more positive colonial outcomes than other colonies due to being established as free trade zones on unoccupied land, with indigenous Chinese populations governed separately. Their initial conditions supported long-term prosperity.

  • Hong Kong and Singapore achieved high incomes and developed country status according to the OECD, surpassing the UK despite receiving little foreign aid or intervention. Their success was part of broader growth in East Asian Tiger economies.

  • Taiwan in particular became a technology powerhouse, with companies like TSMC becoming global leaders in semiconductor manufacturing.

  • China experienced rapid economic growth starting in the late 1970s after launching market reforms. It has since become a major exporter and manufacturing hub, producing many consumer goods for international markets.

  • Western nations long tried to promote development and modernization in China through efforts like Jesuit missionary work, support for Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist government, and limited aid through organizations like the League of Nations. However, these had minimal lasting impact until China’s postwar reforms.

  • China’s success demonstrates an “unconventional” model that combines some non-Western elements like one-party rule with market reforms and integration into the global economy. It has become a major economic power despite skepticism from Western models.

  • Beijing has 5 beltways currently with a 6th under construction, reflecting the rapid growth and urban expansion. Technology use is also widespread with cell phones and computers everywhere.

  • The Chinese economics PhD students the author taught were highly motivated to learn, being able to absorb a semester’s worth of content in 5 days of intensive teaching. Their work ethic far surpassed the author’s own exhaustion.

  • While China’s growth has been rapid, per capita income remains low at only 1/6 that of the US. Ongoing issues around state control of certain industries, banking problems, and lack of democracy pose worries. Future changes will come from within as exploration continues.

  • India failed to develop under British rule. After independence, growth was mediocre until economic reforms in the late 20th century. Homegrown companies like NIIT and Wipro have been hugely successful in areas like IT and business process outsourcing.

  • In Turkey, the author met a rural village woman named Fatma whose poor family survives on sporadic work and charity. Turkey has seen significant economic growth and development of manufacturing industries since the 1980s. The Koç Group conglomerate exemplifies Turkish entrepreneurial success.

  • Botswana successfully partnered with De Beers in the diamond industry, using revenues to develop the country instead of nationalizing, and has achieved high growth and development as a result.

  • Roland Akosah, Robert Danso-Boakye, and Yaw Nyarko all attended secondary school together in Kumawu, Ghana, where conditions were challenging with limited resources.

  • They went on to study together at the University of Ghana.

  • Facing the military dictatorship under Jerry Rawlings, they all left Ghana to pursue graduate degrees abroad - Akosah got an MBA from Wharton, Danso-Boakye got degrees in international banking from Edinburgh and Surrey, and Nyarko got a PhD in Economics from Cornell.

  • Akosah returned to Ghana in 2000 to start his own investment bank, Eno International, focusing on sectors like pharmaceuticals and electronics.

  • Danso-Boakye also returned to Ghana in the late 1980s to participate in new banking opportunities, and now holds a senior role at Trust Bank in Accra.

  • Nyarko became an expert in game theory and economics, joining the faculty at Brown and now NYU, where he also helps develop NYU’s study site in Accra to support research and education in Ghana.

  • Yaw Nyarko is a professor who has volunteered his time to teach economics at Ashesi University in Ghana. He wants to start an interdisciplinary research center in Africa at NYU called Africa House.

  • Roland Akosah is skeptical about the impact of foreign aid in Ghana. He thinks it has given Ghana a reputation as “panhandlers” who rely on others rather than improving their own economy. Yaw Nyarko agrees that foreign aid can distort incentives and make people look to outsiders to solve their problems rather than solving them internally.

  • The chapter discusses reforms that could be made to foreign aid to make it more effective. It critiques the “utopian blueprint” approach that aid has taken and argues it should focus more narrowly on tangible outcomes that directly help individuals rather than trying to transform whole governments/societies.

  • Some suggestions include dropping conditionalities, focusing aid on direct services for the poor like healthcare and education, allowing specialization among aid agencies, and holding agencies accountable through independent evaluation of results. But it warns reform is difficult given entrenched bureaucracies.

  • In summary, it analyzes criticisms of foreign aid’s past approaches and offers cautious thoughts on reforms to make aid more accountable and effective at achieving outcomes that help individuals out of poverty.

  • Aid agencies need to move away from top-down planning and collective responsibility, and toward managing for results based on close dialogue with partner governments and stakeholders.

  • There is a risk of “cream skimming” where agencies pick the easiest projects to show quick results, rather than addressing underlying challenges. This can free up government resources for unproductive spending.

  • Reform efforts need to focus on specialization, evaluation, and creative pilot programs to address problems. New ideas will emerge from grassroots efforts closer to those in need.

  • Case studies provide examples of effective, low-cost interventions identified through rigorous evaluation, like deworming drugs, nutritional supplements, condom education, malaria spraying, fertilizer subsidies, vaccination, and water provision.

  • Cross-country statistical analysis has also identified associations between practices like transparent banking regulations and greater banking development and access for the poor.

  • Both targeted experiments and statistical analysis are needed, as well as problem-solving adapted to local contexts, for aid to be most effective. Ongoing learning and evaluation should guide reform efforts.

  • Aid agencies tend to shift staff frequently, so staff do not gain enough localized experience and knowledge of particular problems. This leads to a lack of specialized expertise.

  • To improve, agencies should let staff gain long-term experience in local settings and problems, and let experienced staff make decisions on the ground about what is or is not effective.

  • To incentivize evaluation and learning, agencies could survey intended aid recipients (the poor) before and after projects, along with control groups, and publicly disclose all efforts and outcomes.

  • Advocates for the poor from donor and recipient countries could hold agencies accountable for outcomes. Increased transparency and public scrutiny would create pressure.

  • Politicians should view negative evaluations as learning opportunities rather than excuses to cut funding, to encourage evaluation and improvement.

  • Innovative market-based ideas proposed include a decentralized “marketplace” like eBay to match social entrepreneurs, technical experts, and donors via online platforms; and issuing “development vouchers” for the poor to redeem for services from competing aid agencies, creating competitive pressure to deliver results efficiently.

  • While not perfect solutions, these novel ideas could be tested through experiments to determine if market mechanisms make aid delivery more effective and responsive to the needs of the poor. Increased localization, accountability, and incentives for results are priorities.

  • The passage discusses potential ways to improve foreign aid and make it more effective at helping poor people. It argues that aid agencies currently lack accountability and feedback from the people they aim to help.

  • Some proposed ideas include conducting randomized controlled trials of new aid approaches, creating advance purchase funds to reward development of things like vaccines, and holding worldwide competitions for effective aid projects with large rewards.

  • Another key idea is finding ways to get direct feedback from poor communities on whether aid is reaching and helping them, such as conducting surveys before and after aid projects. Independent local monitors could also help ensure accountability.

  • Private firms are mentioned as another potential avenue for aid delivery, as they may have more incentive to satisfy “customers”. But the main focus should still be on very basic principles - having accountable agents search for what works, evaluate results, and adjust approaches based on feedback from the poor.

  • The overall argument is that aid needs to shift its focus from large-scale planning to small-scale, practical solutions and experiments that are directly accountable for making a difference in people’s lives. This could help ensure aid money finally reaches those it aims to help.

Here is a summary of the key people and organizations mentioned:

  • Aart Kraay and Claudio Raddatz - World Bank economists who studied poverty traps and the role of aid and growth.

  • Bryan Graham and Jonathan Temple - Harvard University economists who studied whether ideas of multiple equilibria can explain differences in rich and poor nations.

  • Jeffrey D. Sachs - Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and advocate for the Millennium Development Goals and a “Big Push” approach to development. Published The End of Poverty.

  • UN Millennium Project - UN initiative led by Jeffrey Sachs to achieve the Millennium Development Goals through a costed plan and needs assessment.

  • Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, and James Robinson - Economists who studied the “reversal of fortune” between previously rich and poor places.

  • Ross Levine, David Roodman, and William Easterly - Economists who studied and found new doubts about the influence of policies on aid effectiveness in promoting growth, as claimed by Burnside and Dollar.

  • Craig Burnside and David Dollar - World Bank economists whose 2000 American Economic Review paper claimed policies mattered for aid effectiveness, but this was later doubted by Easterly, Levine, and Roodman.

  • Bono - Musician and activist who lobbied the Bush administration on increasing aid for Africa.

Here is a summary of the key points from 2/03/20020314-7.html:

  • The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was announced by President Bush on November 26, 2002 to reform foreign aid and link it to policies that promote economic freedom, fight corruption, and invest in people.

  • The goal of the MCC was to provide increased foreign aid to developing countries that implement good governance, economic freedom, and investments in health and education. It aimed to replace old foreign aid models.

  • The White House website provided more details on the motivation behind the MCC, noting it was intended to help countries that rule justly, invest in their people, and encourage economic freedom. The MCC countries list can be found at their website.

  • Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer’s 2003 paper discusses potential publication bias issues in evaluating development effectiveness using randomization. Another relevant paper on this issue is by DeLong and Lang from 1992.

  • The UN Millennium Project report discusses investing in development as a plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, noting the importance of country ownership and partner accountability.

  • The Commission for Africa report and a 2005 IMF paper discuss evidence on the relationship between aid and growth from cross-country studies.

  • A 2005 paper discusses implications of large aid increases on fiscal and institutional issues after major “aid surges”.

  • A 2004 Brookings Papers article endorses the use of low-cost innovations to end poverty traps in Africa.

  • Three Nigerian government websites provide details on steel and infrastructure projects in Nigeria.

  • The summarizer credits Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo of MIT for the FDA analogy for randomized experiments.

  • A 2005 book discusses what works to end global poverty, citing difficulties with scaling up small projects.

  • A 2003 World Bank study finds that small/medium firms aid growth and poverty reduction.

  • A 2003 USAID report discusses agency performance and accountability.

Here are summaries of the sources provided:

  1. Anthony Downs, An Economic Theory of Democracy (1957): Proposed an economic model of rational, self-interested behavior to analyze political behavior and outcomes within a representative democracy. Argued voters and politicians act strategically to maximize their preferences.

  2. Dani Rodrik argued that institutions that facilitate voluntary exchange and enhance the quality of growth through innovation, competition, and private initiative are necessary for high-quality growth.

  3. Philippe Aghion et al. developed an endogenous model of how political institutions evolve over time in response to economic and social conditions.

  4. W. Easterly et al. examined the relationship between democracy, development, and mass killings, finding a link between democracy and less killings.

  5. Daron Acemoglu argued democracy leads to more inclusive economic institutions that encourage economic growth compared to oligarchic societies.

  6. Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson’s Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy traced how political and economic institutions evolved and their impact on economic growth.

  7. William Easterly examined the relationship between middle classes and economic development.

8-9. Studies finding a negative relationship between natural resource wealth and democracy.

10.Daniel Kaufmann et al. analyzed new governance indicators for 1996-2004 across countries.

  1. W. Easterly and R. Levine examined the impact of colonial settlements on inequality and development.

  2. Edward Glaeser analyzed the political economy of hatred and its consequences.

  3. Several studies found a link between ethnic divisions and lower quality public goods provision and economic growth.

  4. Acemoglu et al. and others argue institutions are fundamental causes of long-run growth differences across countries.

The sources then provide analyses and evidence related to institutions, governance, democracy, development and economic growth across various countries.

  • The World Bank initially saw AIDS as mainly an economic issue and tried to target “core transmitters” like prostitutes, but Helen Epstein argued it spread through general sexual networks.

  • By 2000, the Bank recognized AIDS as a development crisis and stepped up efforts, publishing guidance on mainstreaming AIDS responses.

  • Orphans and vulnerable children programs became important to address the social impacts of AIDS.

  • International funding for AIDS increased dramatically in the 2000s, led by the Global Fund and PEPFAR, enabling expansion of treatment access.

  • Other health interventions like insecticide-treated bed nets also saw notable successes in reducing diseases like malaria through expanded coverage.

  • While treatment scale-up made progress, current funding still falls short of needs to meet international HIV treatment and prevention targets. Sustainability of financing remains a challenge.

So in summary, the passage discusses the evolution of responses to HIV/AIDS and other diseases, key impacts like orphans, increased international funding, and successes but also ongoing gaps in addressing these health issues in developing countries.

Here are summaries of a few of the sources referenced in the passage:

  • Source 21 summarizes an article from The Lancet that estimated how many child deaths could be prevented that year based on certain interventions.

  • Source 22 summarizes a WHO/UNAIDS report on the methods used to estimate costs of reaching treatment targets for HIV/AIDS.

  • Source 26 summarizes a 2005 Human Rights Watch report that examined abstinence-only HIV/AIDS programs in Uganda and their limitations.

  • Source 28 references a statement on a website calling President Bush’s lack of leadership killing people with AIDS.

  • Source 29 summarizes parts of the 2002 World Health Report focusing on reducing health risks and promoting healthy lives.

  • Sources 30-34 discuss aspects of treating HIV/AIDS in Africa, including drug availability challenges and the need for more coordination between different actors.

  • Sources 35-41 provide historical context on colonialism in Africa and its lasting legacies, including discussing the Tanganyikan groundnut scheme failure.

  • Sources 42-57 discuss the history and challenges of the Democratic Republic of Congo, from its colonial past to the present conflict situation.

  • Sources 58-85 discuss the ongoing conflicts and humanitarian crises in Sudan/Darfur.

Here is a summary of the provided sources:

The article discusses homegrown development strategies in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and China. It notes that Japan implemented protectionist industrial policies in the late 19th century to nurture infant industries like textiles, steel and shipbuilding. Taiwan and South Korea also used active industrial policies like import subsidies and targeting investments to promote manufactures. Hong Kong grew based on entrepreneurial skills and access to China. China’s initial reforms began in the late 1970s, exposing peasants to market incentives. It has since grown rapidly using a gradual, experiment-based approach. The article argues that these East Asian models relied more on homegrown strategies than foreign aid or templates, with a strong role for state intervention to work with domestic entrepreneurs. This allowed for successful catch-up industrialization and development.

Here is a summary of the key points from the selected pages in the book From Independence to the Global Information Age:

  • Discusses the rise of information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as personal computers, mobile phones, and the Internet in developing countries since the 1990s. Notes that access to these technologies has expanded rapidly.

  • Mobile phones in particular have seen explosive growth, exceeding landline telephone coverage in many developing nations. Affordability and ubiquity of mobile networks have driven this growth.

  • ICTs are enabling new forms of economic activity and opportunities for entrepreneurship in developing countries. Examples include e-commerce sites, outsourcing/offshoring businesses, tech startups, and use of mobile phones for banking/payments.

  • Social impacts include improved access to information, increased connectivity, and new tools for collaboration/coordination. ICTs may help provide solutions to problems like government accountability and transparency.

  • However, there is still a large “digital divide” with access concentrated among wealthier socioeconomic groups. Infrastructure gaps also persist between rural and urban areas. Full realization of ICT potential will require addressing these barriers.

  • Overall the passage discusses how ICT adoption in developing nations has escalated in the past 20+ years and opened up new economic and social possibilities. But it notes ongoing challenges around unequal access that must still be overcome.

Here are summaries of the topics:

Communist revolution in: revolutions that took place in Communist countries.

economic growth in: discusses economic growth that occurred in specific countries like India, Hong Kong, East Asia.

formula for success of: references formulas or frameworks for economic success seen in countries like Hong Kong, India.

high-technology exports: discusses countries that had success with exports of high-tech goods.

markets in growth of: the role markets played in the economic growth of countries like India.

takeoff in: periods of rapid economic growth or “takeoff” that occurred in countries like Hong Kong.

ten best per capita growth rates: lists the top 10 countries that had the highest per capita economic growth rates.

tuberculosis project in: a tuberculosis treatment or prevention project that took place in a specific country.

Xiaogang: references the Xiaogang village in China, where agricultural reforms began in the late 1970s.

benefits of not being colonized: advantages certain countries experienced by avoiding colonial rule.

Communist revolution in: internal revolutions that overthrew existing governments and established Communist systems, as in China, Cuba, etc.

civilization, Europeans see themselves as bringing: the view among European colonizers that they were advancing civilization in colonized regions.

civil law: the legal system used in countries like France that is codified into a comprehensive body of law.

Here are summaries of the key terms:

  • “standby arrangements” - IMF loans provided to countries experiencing balance of payments problems to help stabilize their economies.

  • state collapse - Complete failure of central government institutions and loss of control over territory, as occurred in Somalia in the early 1990s.

  • “structural adjustment” programs - Policy packages promoted by the IMF and World Bank in the 1980s-90s to help debtor countries address balance of payments problems and restore economic growth. Typically involved fiscal austerity, trade liberalization and privatization.

  • successful programs of - Examples of development programs run by NGOs, governments or others that achieved positive results without large amounts of foreign aid.

  • success stories without aid from - Examples of countries that achieved significant economic growth and development with little or no foreign aid.

  • Sudan aid from - Foreign aid provided to Sudan, likely from Western countries or multilateral institutions like the IMF/World Bank.

  • in Western interventions in world poverty - The role and effects of Western powers intervening militarily or politically in developing countries, often ostensibly to address issues of poverty, but also for strategic political/economic interests.

  • World Economic Outlook - A publication of the IMF that presents analyses of global economic developments and prospects.

  • as world’s most powerful creditor - Reference to the dominant financial position of the IMF as a lender to many developing and middle-income countries experiencing economic difficulties.

This passage lists several key people, places and concepts related to international development discussed in Sachs’ book The End of Poverty. Some of the main topics covered include:

  • Important economists and scholars like Jeffrey Sachs, Raghuram Rajan, Martin Ravallion, Dani Rodrik.

  • Global institutions like the UN, World Bank, USAID and their approaches to development.

  • Countries that experienced colonial rule, conflict or challenges with governance, including Russia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zaire/DRC.

  • Economic growth strategies and outcomes for countries in Asia like South Korea, Singapore and Thailand that achieved rapid growth.

  • Development issues like roads, sanitation, health challenges like AIDS, river blindness and more.

  • Different theories, frameworks and initiatives discussed in the book like structural adjustment, searchers vs planners, poverty traps and doubling of aid.

So in summary, it lists and briefly describes many of the people, places, concepts and case studies that Sachs analyzes regarding international development challenges and potential solutions in his book.

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