Economists, Dictators, and the Rights of the Poor

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A woman walk in a dusty alley in the impoverished Diepsloot township outside Johannesburg on April 16, 2014. A woman walk in a dusty alley in the impoverished Diepsloot township outside Johannesburg on April 16, 2014. (MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images/Getty)

Economist William Easterly traces the history of the fight against global poverty, arguing that too often, experts recommend solutions that fix immediate problems without addressing the systemic political factors that created them in the first place. In The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, Easterly shows that these short-term solutions to eradicate poverty have trampled the individual freedom of the world’s poor and have suppressed a vital debate about an alternative approach to solving poverty: freedom.


William Easterly

Comments [7]

Ed from Larchmont

It seems that we aim at equality because we won't address the larger problems. What does the guest think of the demographic aging problem?

May. 27 2014 02:06 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Pope Francis reminds us that when we approach helping the poor, we must treat them as full persons, and so their first need is spiritual care.

May. 27 2014 01:54 PM
Amy from Manhattan

It doesn't even have to be a dictatorship. Did you hear today's story on NPR ( about the Washington, DC, housing project that was torn down w/the promise that better affordable housing would be built & the residents would be able to move back in? That was 6 years ago, & the location is now a parking lot.

May. 27 2014 01:51 PM
Pascale Vaillancourt from Atlanta

Democracy is becoming a big joke. Now it all comes to this: if you have money you get to set your own rules and laws (at the expenses of the poor), and if you don't have money you don't have a say on anything. Way to go!

May. 27 2014 01:44 PM
Jessie from Way Uptown

Of course there's also a long list of particular "problems"
- the root is believing our *concepts*... as nature doesn't work by concepts,
- but by complex energy using systems of roles and relationships...

- to the "technocrats" treat people as NUMBERS for their equations for isolated project goals

I spent the last year watching that at the UN, one of the ultimate SNAFU's

May. 27 2014 01:41 PM
Jessie from Way Uptown

Leonard, how countries become poor:
1) having a cultures that doesn't teach them how to grow
2) being in a world with other cultures taught to grow ever faster

You know... we *really* should really talk at some point.

May. 27 2014 01:32 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Currently some are trying to eliminate poverty by eliminating the poor ... not the way to go.

May. 27 2014 12:44 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.