Sunday, January 03, 2010

Development: It's a lot funnier than you might think

1. How to write about Africa. Here's a quick sample:

In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates.

2. Why your aid project won't work. For example:

Rich countries should open their markets to exports from developing countries. Therefore your aid project won’t work.

Rich countries do things which are very bad for poor countries, like erecting trade barriers, buying oil and enforcing intellectual property rights. This is unassailable proof that aid does not work.

3. Why your aid project will too work. Here's a taste:

Thousands of children die of X every day, so my project will work.
You may think my project to prevent/enhance/promote/incentivise/develop/reduce/empower X won’t work, but don’t you know that 1,000 children die of X every second (it’s a well established fact that Dambisa Moyo is now personally responsible for the death of every African child). Because so many people will die every day without our help, my project will work.

1 comment:

The Dude said...

Forget just treating Africa like one country, Bill Easterly shows us how to treat the entire third world as one country (tongue-in-cheek of course).