#136 The Sachs-Easterly Debate
submitted by Matt G who tweets at @mgutten
Every great endeavor has its great rivalries. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. Wile E. Coyote vs. Road Runner. In the world of EAWs, though, we have the Great Debate of the New York Development Economists: Jeff Sachs vs. William Easterly.
Go to any EAW cocktail party and you can consider yourself lucky if you don’t end up hearing someone drone on about the chapter they just read from The White Man’s Burden while everyone around gives knowing nods. If you find yourself in this situation, be aware that you could get stuck in a back-and-forth game of aid worker intellectual one-upmanship. The best way to extricate yourself is to make a reference to how The Elusive Quest for Growth was really a better book, refer jokingly to Bono in Africa, and then back away slowly to get another drink.
If you aren’t familiar with the debate, you’re in luck, because you can just use the handy flow chart provided below to figure out which side you should be on.
Here are a few shortcuts to get you started: Do you consider U2 to be one of the top INGOs in the world? Try Sachs. Do you enjoy pointing out the lack of scientific rigor in some small overworked local program’s M&E plan? Might want to give Easterly a read. Do you hope to one day cavort around Africa with Angelina Jolie sprinkling anti-poverty dust on all the children? Sachs is your guy. Do you really, really like beards? It’s Easterly all day.