Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Man Without a Plan

    Easterly is well aware of the efficiency of market delivery when commodities are bought in a market and backed by suitable purchasing power, and he contrasts that with the usual infelicities and inefficiencies in getting aid to those who need it most. But the distinction between the two scenarios lies not only in the different ways of meeting the respective problems, but also in the nature of the problems themselves. There is something deeply misleading in the contrast he draws between them, which seems to have motivated his entire project: "There was no Marshall Plan for Harry Potter, no International financing Facility for books about underage wizards. It is heartbreaking that global society has evolved a highly efficient way to get entertainment to rich adults and children, while it can't get twelve-cent medicine to dying poor children." The disparity in the results is indeed heartbreaking. But jumping from there to arguing that the solution to the latter problem is along the same lines as the solution to the former reflects a misunderstanding of what makes the latter so much more difficult. (That major issue is clearly more important than the minor point that J. K. Rowling was on welfare support and received a grant from the Scottish Arts Council when writing the first Harry Potter novel.)
Amartya Sen reviews William Easterly's The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good. [Link via Pradeep.]

5 Comments:

At 6:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When is Amartya Sen going to come up with something of relevance? How long will he keep taking potshots at minor articles while living off his past reputation?

 
At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

International aid without any effective means to prevent siphoning off into Swiss bank accounts is money down the drain. The 600 lb gorilla in the discussion is corruption in the third-world delivery mechanism, which undercuts aid.

The aid donors need to come up with strong measures to prosecute elites who missappropriate development funds. Just as we have internation tribunals for war criminals, those with secret foreign accounts need to be prosecuted and prosecuted severely. But such intervention would be used by third-world politicians to demogogue.

 
At 7:37 AM, Blogger James Fletcher Baxter said...

Consider:
The missing element in every human 'solution' is
an accurate definition of the creature.

Each individual human being possesses a unique, highly
developed, and sensitive perception of diversity. Thus
aware, man is endowed with a natural capability for enact-
ing internal mental and external physical selectivity.
Quantitative and qualitative choice-making thus lends
itself as the superior basis of an active intelligence.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. His title describes
his definitive and typifying characteristic. Recall
that his other features are but vehicles of experi-
ence intent on the development of perceptive
awareness and the following acts of decision and
choice. Note that the products of man cannot define
him for they are the fruit of the discerning choice-
making process and include the cognition of self,
the utility of experience, the development of value-
measuring systems and language, and the accultur-
ation of civilization.

The arts and the sciences of man, as with his habits,
customs, and traditions, are the creative harvest of
his perceptive and selective powers. Creativity, the
creative process, is a choice-making process. His
articles, constructs, and commodities, however
marvelous to behold, deserve neither awe nor idol-
atry, for man, not his contrivance, is earth's own
highest expression of the creative process.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. The sublime and
significant act of choosing is, itself, the Archimedean
fulcrum upon which man levers and redirects the
forces of cause and effect to an elected level of qual-
ity and diversity. Further, it orients him toward a
natural environmental opportunity, freedom, and
bestows earth's title, The Choicemaker, on his
singular and plural brow.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of
Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the
universe.

Let us proclaim it. Behold!
The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Joel 3:14 KJV

- from The HUMAN PARADIGM

 
At 2:40 PM, Blogger tigerjim14 said...

This is a great post here...I could not agree more! Dedicated to inform the public on relative issues. Keep up the great work!

 
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