What would it take, practically, to achieve the future that Radelet discusses in our first reading for today? What would governments, NGOs , and populations need to prioritize, and what resources would they need? Is the future Radelet discusses actually in reach?
Imagine for a moment that, unlike what actually happened, Jeff Sachs had emailed Ester Duflo back, and asked her to help re-design the MVP to produce better data. Could the “randomistas” have fixed the MVPs alleged failures? How? Or is it unlikely that even with the kind of data Duflo prizes, thing could have really gone better in Dertu?
So, as we discover in the first half of The Idealist, there are significant challenges in implementing Jeff Sachs’s development model in the practice of far-flung, exceedingly poor Millennium Development Villages. And arguably, no village is a harder test case than the ethnic Somali Kenyan community of Dertu. Put simply, what are the biggest roadblocks to implementing Sachs’s ideal development programming in Dertu? And what changes to the theory do these challenges suggest?
For at least the last 30 years, most development practitioners and policymakers have at least acknowledged (if not thoroughly embraced) the notion that aid-funded projects and programs must reflect the preferences, beliefs, values, and needs of the communities they intend to serve. Using all three readings assigned for Tuesday, please explain why aid projects that do not reflect local priorities often fail to meet their objectives.
So, imagine that you’re a young, up-and-coming development specialist, and you’re considering recommendations for a country in the Global South with respect to their use of foreign aid. Based on your readings for today and your general knowledge, what sort of aid is likely going to be available? Who will generally provide it, and why? Finally, what sort of aid do your recommend they accept, and why?
To what extent does corruption and the closed, authoritarian nature of the contemporary Chinese state seem to be holding back “development” (as you understand it) in Osnos’s Age of Ambition? Please provide specific examples from the text.
The various characters described in Evan Osnos’s Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Fame in the New China represent the legacy of a massive social transformation and development begun in the late 1970s under the post-Mao leadership of Deng Xiaoping. Based on your reading here, what arguments, explanations, and theories from this course best account for what these people are experiencing in navigating China’s new economy?
In East Asia generally, state-led development seems to have worked much better than in the countries of Latin America and Africa. What factors contributed to the success of state-led development in East Asia, and why were these countries seemingly able to overcome many of the drawbacks of state-led development discussed in earlier readings and class meetings?
In our readings for Thursday by Peter Griffiths and Yang Jisheng, we explore the causes of mass famines in the 20th century. One important argument emerging from famine research–voiced directly by Alex de Waal on Tuesday and experientially by Yang–is that famines are best understood not as food supply problems, but as political ones.
What does it mean to say that famines are political? And what do our readings suggest might be the best approach to eliminating famines around the world?
In Peter Griffiths’ mostly true memoir of his time as an economist in Sierra Leone, one of the biggest difficulties he faces is in getting both the Sierra Leonean government and the international financial institutions to actually recognize that there’s a problem. For your exercise, please describe and analyze the political, economic, and practical barriers faced by Griffiths in getting the government of Sierra Leone to abandon the World Bank’s plan to end the government’s role in rice importing.