Tuesday, December 18, 2018
The technocratic illusion...................
Morally neutral approaches to poverty do not exist. Any approach to development will either respect the rights of the poor or it will violate them. One cannot avoid this moral choice by appealing to "nonideological evidence-based policies" (a popular phrase in development today).
Authoritarian development is also a pragmatic tragedy. History and modern experience suggest that free individuals with political and economic rights -- call it free development -- make up a remarkably successful problem-solving system. Free development gives us the right to choose amongst a myriad of spontaneous problem-solvers, rewarding those that solve our problems. These public and private problem-solvers accomplish far more than dictators who implement solutions provided by experts. We will see how free development allows the squeaky wheel to get the grease, while authoritarian development silences the squeaky wheel -- perhaps with a police raid and a prison term.
The technocratic illusion is that poverty results from a shortage of expertise, whereas poverty is really about a shortage of rights.
-William Easterly, as excerpted from the introduction to The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, And The Forgotten Rights Of The Poor