The White Man's Burden

The White Man's Burden

Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good

Book - 2006
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From one of the world's best-known development economists--an excoriating attack on the tragic hubris of the West's efforts to improve the lot of the so-called developing world

In his previous book, The Elusive Quest for Growth , William Easterly criticized the utter ineffectiveness of Western organizations to mitigate global poverty, and he was promptly fired by his then-employer, the World Bank. The White Man's Burden is his widely anticipated counterpunch--a brilliant and blistering indictment of the West's economic policies for the world's poor. Sometimes angry, sometimes irreverent, but always clear-eyed and rigorous, Easterly argues that we in the West need to face our own history of ineptitude and draw the proper conclusions, especially at a time when the question of our ability to transplant Western institutions has become one of the most pressing issues we face.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2006.
ISBN: 9780143038825
Characteristics: 436 p. :,ill. ;,25 cm.


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Aug 20, 2011

I liked this book much better than the previous commentator but agree with that person that it has a lot in common with Dambisa Moyo's Dead Aid, and that Moyo wrote the better book.

Easterly writes as a former IMF insider about Western assistance programs and gives readable and highly useful summaries of his own and other people's research. There are mini-biographies scattered throughout the book on Third World people working to improve their own lives or those of their compatriots that are touching and truly inspiring.

Easterly is much less successful when he argues essentially that all Western political and military interventions abroad have been fruitless. He assumes a historian's mantle that doesn't properly fit him. For example, he writes as if in the Bosnian War in the 1990s, only the Serbs committed war crimes, never the Croats or the Muslims. (In fact, there are lots of passages that suggest his knowledge of history was garnered from reading the collected speeches of William Jefferson Clinton.) When he denounces the West defending South Korea against aggression in the Korean War, he goes beyond simple cluelessness, and seems slightly unhinged.

Mar 20, 2011

Lot of words that state the obvious, D. Moyo's Dead Aid is a better read on this issue of aid to Africa and the lack of results

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