Saturday, November 06, 2004

Good old Jeffrey Sachs

A New York Times Magazine profile shows him in all his fiery glory, traipsing across the globe to drum up support for massive expenditures on development; the promise of alleviating poverty easily so long as we all...just did one thing or another. He succumbs so easily to the panacea trap of development.

That evangelical fervor gets you places I guess -- I sure wish I could have his career -- but it does not make for good policy. I agree that more energy and money should be spent on development, it is one of the great moral imperatives of our time, but to promise that it can all be made right so quickly is foolish. Hubris might make you a good showman, but it will not make good policy. The Rodrik quote is really good:
I would criticize his lack of humility,'' Rodrik says. ''Whatever he's focused on, he has this evangelical attitude that it's obviously the right thing to do, that people who disagree either have an ax to grind or are simply not thinking straight.
Exactly, hopefully his efforts will succeed in bringing more resources to bear, but not in engendering faith that all world problems can be solved so easily.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sachs, it seems to me, is in line for a Noble Peace Prize. His work, no matter how fruitful the immediate results, brings multi-nation attention to the need to remedy world poverty. In addition to needs for food production, an obvious first item, one must start to pick away at the educational starved. Education, in the long, long run, is a prime answer. It is the only way to break into the molds of religion and tradition which hold cultures in primitive states. I wonder how many Sachs types are out there...

12:42 PM  

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