Sunday, April 5, 2009

Micro-blog: The aid debate, with a new twist

One of the many topics I taught my graduate and senior undergraduate students this past academic year was the great "aid debate": is official development assistance (ODA), commonly known as "foreign aid", good or bad for the development process? The chief protagonist, pro, is Jeffrey Sachs, and, con, is William Easterly. Now there's a new player on the scene, echoing Easterly's message that aid does more harm than good and we should get rid of it. Here is a link to an interview:

So what's the difference? The new player on the scene is Dambisa Moyo. The name should give it away. For once, there's an important. provocative, and challenging new book an old subject, actually written by someone from the continent where debates about aid have been fiercest and where it is still most important, whether for good or ill. Zambian born and American and British educated (at Harvard and Oxford, no less), and a former member of the global macroeconomics research team at Goldman Sachs, Moyo is also easy on the eye and cuts a glamorous figure, if I can judge by her press photos. Not wanting to judge a book by its cover, so to speak, I've ordered it from Amazon, and will report back to you in this space after Ive had a chance to read and digest it. Stay tuned.

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