Monday, March 13, 2006

The trap of international aid

'"Be thine own palace," wrote John Donne, "or the world's thy jail." William Easterly does not invoke this particular metaphor in The White Man's Burden, but this exciting -- and excited -- book is about the imprisonment of the world's poor in the trap of international aid, where "planners" have incarcerated the wretched of the earth. The poor may not have a "palace" to fall back on, battered as they are by grinding privation, massive illiteracy, and the scourge of epidemics. But Easterly -- a former World Bank economist who now teaches at New York University -- nevertheless argues that in the fight against global poverty, "the right plan is to have no plan..."' More


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