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*Read Epub ⛄ The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor Û Over the last century, global poverty has largely been viewed as a technical problem that merely requires the right expert solutions Yet all too often, experts recommend solutions that fix immediate problems without addressing the systemic political factors that created them in the first place Further, they produce an accidental collusion with benevolent autocrats, leaving dictators with yet power to violate the rights of the poorIn The Tyranny of Experts, economist William Easterly, bestselling author of The White Man s Burden, traces the history of the fight against global poverty, showing not only how these tactics have trampled the individual freedom of the world s poor, but how in doing so have suppressed a vital debate about an alternative approach to solving poverty freedom Presenting a wealth of cutting edge economic research, Easterly argues that only a new model of development one predicated on respect for the individual rights of people in developing countries, that understands that unchecked state power is the problem and not the solution will be capable of ending global poverty once and for all Classic Easterly, although not as robust as some of his previous work Well thought, well argued case for the need for the international development community to respect the rights of the poor Raises a MUCH needed discussion about disparities between the international community s respect of rights for denizens of the West and those of the Rest.Heavily based on liberal ideology of how individual political rights and free markets are primary Glosses over how free markets and free trade can also Classic Easterly, although not as robust as some of his previous work Well thought, well argued case for the need for the international development community to respect the rights of the poor Raises a MUCH needed discussion about disparities between the international community s respect of rights for denizens of the West and those of the Rest.Heavily based on liberal ideology of how individual political rights and free markets are primary Glosses over how free markets and free trade can also further exacerbate poverty and provides few insights on how to move forward I m not without bias, but I d like to think I came at this book with an open mind I have a deep respect for hard won expertise But, like most academics, I also have a deep respect for modesty and the careful application of knowledge This book doesn t argue against that kind of expertise, it argues against the use of technocracy to overlook issues of rights and politics in development And in this respect, the book is actually a little late to the party, since these issues have been discussed I m not without bias, but I d like to think I came at this book with an open mind I have a deep respect for hard won expertise But, like most academics, I also have a deep respect for modesty and the careful application of knowledge This book doesn t argue against that kind of expertise, it argues against the use of technocracy to overlook issues of rights and politics in development And in this respect, the book is actually a little late to the party, since these issues have been discussed and examined forthan two decades outside of the economics discipline in the field of human geography, sociology, andparticularly the subfield of political ecology You can also read a fantastic book in the area of humanitarian assistance called Condemned to Repeat by Fiona Terry Largely, Easterly makes a great argument for rights based development and bottom up forms of development based on the economic theory of Friedrich Hayek Some reviewers have argued against the structure of the book But I actually found its approach refreshing I found the early use of the debate that never happened to be excellent I like when authors interrogate the historical genesis of ideas It highlights that ideas are never innocent they are always for something and usually for someone As for the case study and long history approach fantastic Even though it summarizes the scholarship of mostly other authors It s bizarre that in a book about the tyranny of experts there would be little mention of James Ferguson s The Anti Politics Machine or Arturo Escobar s Encountering Development Michel Foucault s concept of power knowledge would have also been a helpful addition though it would have turned off some potential mainstream readers Ferguson gets one paragraph Escobar is nowhere to be found The book is well written, largely divorced from partisan ideology, and well researched It is grounded in the academic ethos of the honest search for truth One of my concerns is the way this book might be used Just as the book demonstrates how the knowledge products of experts are utilized for very narrow political interests, I have a feeling this book will and probably already has been utilized for various political interests it was never intended to serve I could, for example, see the author s ideas being used to argue for drastically cutting development aid I haven t looked into this, but such is the problem with mainstream economists Additional Notes Page 96 has the best quote of the book The findings on autocracy having a lasting effect suggest one simple lesson get out of the vicious circle of autocracy and bad values as soon as you can The sooner you begin the virtuous circle of democracy and good values, and the sooner you get through the rocky transition, the better.Mirroring an idea from Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Easterly writes that technocratic actors are worse than market or government actors because unlike these two actors, they aren t held responsible for their actions by either market or the democratic public In other words, no skin in the game An idea I found useful the new growth model the number of new ideas increases with the number of people on earth as well as the number of existing inventions plus the proliferation of rights Thus innovations can be seen as the simple formula population rights already existing innovation new innovation This then explains the extraordinary factor growth in innovation This was an idea that was new to me Thank you very much, Mr Easterly, for a fantastic read A disappointing book Easterly s previous work The White Man s Burden was not my favourite book either, but it at least had enough thought provoking arguments and material This time around his arguments are facile and repetitive So yes we get that freedom is good and autocracy is bad I m not sure anyone really argues otherwise He doesn t really investigate why Western governments, aid agencies and NGOs have been willing to overlook poor governance and human rights abuses to deliver aid Seco A disappointing book Easterly s previous work The White Man s Burden was not my favourite book either, but it at least had enough thought provoking arguments and material This time around his arguments are facile and repetitive So yes we get that freedom is good and autocracy is bad I m not sure anyone really argues otherwise He doesn t really investigate why Western governments, aid agencies and NGOs have been willing to overlook poor governance and human rights abuses to deliver aid Secondly, he doesn t investigate how many NGOs and other international development actors have been promoting democracy, human rights and small scale development as a means of overcoming the diversion of aid money to dictatorships Instead we get a lot of vague and contradictory evidence about how the West and certain Asian tigers developed since the 1500s In addition, many of the examples are contradictory For example, the rise of Hyundai Here Easterly forgets that South Korea until the late 1970s was not a particularly free country Similarly Singapore, Taiwan and the others were not either Now he tells us that these cases of authoritarian development may well be exceptions to the rule, but he never tells us why or what factors led them to spectacular economic growth even with authoritarian governments Finally, he seems to suggest that European and North American economic growth was based only on the promotion of freedom and democracy when quite clearly there were whole rafts of people who were unfree when those economies took off He points to examples from the developing world where peoples were divested of their land and property and has the gaul to say that it would not happen here Is he simply forgetting that aboriginal peoples have and continue to be divested of their land and property in the name of development Does he not see that the same is happening in communities beset by fracking companies Overall, the book is a horrible wasted opportunity and could have been written at best as a lengthy journal article Unfortunately 300 pages later I found myself skipping huge swaths of text either because it had nothing to say or I had read the same argument, phrased the same way for the upteenth time I m generally sympathetic to Easterly s ideas about development, but I found this book uneven, even unfocused, and had trouble getting through it The main message is that the Development Industry embodied by the World Bank, consultants, and big donors is flawed even guaranteed ineffective by design Certain characteristics have been embedded in development since its beginnings and Easterly has some things to say about when development began mainly, 1920s China, rather than thep I m generally sympathetic to Easterly s ideas about development, but I found this book uneven, even unfocused, and had trouble getting through it The main message is that the Development Industry embodied by the World Bank, consultants, and big donors is flawed even guaranteed ineffective by design Certain characteristics have been embedded in development since its beginnings and Easterly has some things to say about when development began mainly, 1920s China, rather than thepopular birthday of 1945 These characteristics are, broadly, a willful ignorance towards the political institutional aspect of development and a naive reliance on technocratic solutions, when technocrats have neither the political nor economic incentives to get it right Put bluntly, no one elects World Bank economists, and the World Bank doesn t have to worry about being financially sustainable so, basically, nothing changes for the Bank even if the Bank seriously screws up And Easterly cites some pretty damning examples of epic Bank fails, full of perpetuating repression and authoritarian violence Damn Easterly s solution is to readjust the focus of development onto increasing the rights for the poor this means everything from promoting democracy to loosening migration restrictions to laying off all that technocratic paternalism stuff and just letting people do what they do And, obviously, not indirectly funding dictators or white washing repressive regimes.That s all fine and well, and I m down with that I think thewe critically examine the structural incentives of development, both on the part of the helpers World Bank, etc and the helpees developing country governments , and thewe think critically even cynically about the inevitable politicization of development and aid, the better off we ll all be However I often felt that this book s better points had already been made and withskill in Acemoglu and Robinson s Why Nations Fail, a book Easterly cites often Similarly, the works cited made me hungry to readfrom the excellent CGD people Nancy Birdsall, Michael Clemens, Lant Pritchett These researchers offer great bird s eye view perspectives on development.Also, Easterly started to lose me with the increasingly long and increasingly tangential digressions his explanation of basic economic principles, like the market s invisible hand or comparative advantage, felt too long and sorry for this having some seriously diminishing marginal returns Similarly, his use of the Greene Street block example to chart the history of America s development since 1830 was, sure, a pretty neat research project in and of itself, but often felt very beside the point Especially when we get down into the weeds about that one 19th century family with the many kids and the many buildings, and did you know that So and so, son of So and so, actually died in a carriage accident Yeah, he was the nephew of This and that And that sort of child mortality is something you don t see nowadays except in poor countries in Africa Also Friedrich Hayek gets a bad rap See what I mean The Greene Street example s only small redemption was its nice payoff for this reader at least via its vindication of Jane Jacobs YEAH Of course Jane Jacobs is wonderful and knows a thing or two about the Dangers of Planning Anyhoo tl dr Easterly is great, this book isn t his best It does have some likable crankiness some LOLs were had , and the ultimate message is, I think, very important and true And, okay, it did get me thinking BIG THINGS about development and arguing back at the book always a good sign But would I recommend it to others For dev professionals, yes For interested general readers who are not actively in the biz, I d point you to The White Man s Burden or The Elusive Quest for Growth.Aaaand I d recommend watching his debate with the Center for Global Development s Owen Barder from earlier this year