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The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poorby William Easterly
Synopses & Reviews
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 more power to violate the rights of the poor.
In The Tyranny of Experts, economist William Easterly, bestselling author of The White Mans Burden, traces the history of the fight against global poverty, showing not only how these tactics have trampled the individual freedom of the worlds 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.
"A well-known skeptic of foreign aid, NYU economist Easterly (The White Man's Burden) examines efforts to produce and sustain growth in developing nations. Easterly deplores 'authoritarian development' that fails to respect local knowledge and individual rights, and here assesses 'benevolent autocrats' as well as 'experts who aspire to technocratic power.' Using historical and contemporary examples, Easterly calls for the expanded rights of the global poor and a 'time at last for all men and women to be equally free.' To illustrate the advantages of organic change and individual rights, Easterly analyzes gentrification of New York City's SoHo district since the 1930s. What this case study has to do with Uganda, Ethiopia, or anywhere beyond Manhattan is unclear. Mechanistic top-down international planning has many critics, but Easterly's alternatives are removed from reality. His line of thought seems to ignore the many legal, economic, geographic, and cultural forces that impede global development. This loose, sometimes incoherent collection of high-minded notes does not add up to a convincing thesis or argument. Easterly tries to craft global solutions, but fails to come up with practical proposals that will work in the messy world beyond his neighborhood. Charts, graphs, and photos." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
William Easterly is a professor of economics at New York University and a director of NYUs award-winning Development Research Institute. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
PART ONE: The Debate That Never Happened
2. Two Nobel Laureates and the Debate They Never Had
PART TWO: Why the Debate Never Happaned—the Real History of the Development Idea
3. Once Upon a Time in China
4. Race, War, and the Fate of Africa
5. One Day in Bogota
PART THREE: The Blank Slate Versus Learning from History
6. Values: The Long Struggle for Individual Rights
7. Institutions: We Oppress Them If We Can
8. The Majority Dream
PART FOUR: Nations Versus Individuals
9. Homes or Prisons: Nations and Migrations
10. How Much Do Nations Matter?
11. Markets: The Association of Problem-Solvers
12. Technology: How to Succeed Without Knowing How
13. Leaders: How We Are Seduced By Benevolent Autocrats
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