Review of William Easterly’s “Tyranny of Experts”

Can a whole global development community be wrong? Can it be that it’s been wrong since the beginning? That the glittering palaces dedicated to fighting poverty — the World Bank, the United Nations, the Gates and Rockefeller foundations, not to mention the aid agencies, think tanks, and well-meaning initiatives by policy experts and Hollywood stars — are built on sand? Could it be that for 65 years they have operated on false premises and expended untold billions to prop up the very systems that undermine the poor?

William Easterly thinks so.

In his provocative “The Tyranny of Experts,” he lays out a passionate, if fitful, argument against the conventional approach to economic development. In the realm of benevolent intervention, the standing rule has always been that you can walk into a poor country and, with enough experts, supplies and bureaucratic correctives, make it rich and alleviate the woes of poverty. But according to Easterly, this is a fatuous idea that has sparked more havoc than good. Read more here.