Week Seven // Post 6
Continuing the discussion regarding the book Poor Economics by Banerjee & Duflo we have been introduced to many aids and ways to end poverty. This week we are focused on two economists Jeffery Sachs and William Easterly who see two different sides on aid to Africa. I personally agree with William Easterly and his theories on ending poverty.
Both Sachs and Easterly prove to have an argument to each side. Jeffery Sachs believes that the way to end poverty is to bring aid to Africa that is monitored and given with the intent of a specific goal rather then just giving money and not know where it goes. Sachs believes that better the people and the wellbeing of life will make aid more successful in Africa. “ Raising living standards, Sachs argues, would empower civil society and governments to maintain the rule of law” (Banerjee & Duflo, 2011) Sachs believes in corruption of the country. That someone can come in a fix the problem of poverty. This brings in a problem of an outsider coming in and is most likely not as educated about the country, as someone would be if they were to have been born and raised there. He thinks that one if the many diseases of a poor country is the lack of institution. I agree with Sachs in the aspect of targeting a specific goal or issues and how the small gains can make a difference. Sachs gives an example of these specific issues to target in Poverty Education “ Money could be used to invest in basic infrastructure including paved roads, airports and seaports, electricity for rural homes, broadband cables to promote Internet access, and silos to store grains so that they can be sold gradually instead of all at once.” While I agree with this and can see how it would help the poor, I also think that if you are just giving these items to people who have lived in a poor country all of their life it is harder for them to adjust and pull themselves out of the poverty trap if they are not educated and have to policies.
William Easterly views of poverty are much different that Sachs. Easterly views are poverty is more of a step back and let’s see what they can do for themselves. He believes that if you let them sort out their own problems they will be more successful in the long run. I agree with this because if you are bringing someone in to do all of the work how are theses people going to learn if someone is doing the work for them? I can see how some would criticize him for his beliefs as he is not hands in helping the country, but I believe he is doing more work by letting the issues be resolved more internally. Easterly also mentions that policies play a big factor into aid, his starting point to helping aid begins with policies. “ If the policies are right, good policies will eventually emerge. And conversely, without good politics, it is impossible to design or implement good policies …” (Banerjee & Duflo, 2011) In order to fix the problem internally you have to start somewhere, there is no point to be sending money to Africa if the money isn’t going to make it there or be used wisely, therefore the need of good policies. Easterly brings this issue up in Poverty Education saying that there has been trillions of dollars send to counties in poverty and if just sending money was the solution than those countries would be flourishing and out of poverty and going back to his point of fixing policies.
Banerjee and Duflo have address many topics to end poverty in the book Poor Economics, they have talked about goals like ending poverty in all forms everywhere (Goal #1) and end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture (Goal #2). I believe that they have helped these two goals immensely, especially brining awareness to the topics, which I believe is the most important. They have suggested way to end goals 1 & 2 however have not wiped them out completely. In order to end hunger and poverty all together it is going to take lots of time and people involved, its not going to happen overnight. These authors believe that redefining the way we think about poverty can change the way we address poverty, which has had a positive impact on poverty.
“The Foreign Aid Debate.” PovertyEducation.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2017
Banerjee, A. & Duflo, E. (2011). Poor Economics.