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Author Archives: Adam Martin

An Ignorant Perspective on Libya

Tax time prompts many of us to ponder what our tax dollars pay for. This year I thought, just a bit, about the most recent significant (if still relatively small) addition to the U.S. budget. I came to the conclusion that–for various reasons–I know next to nothing about what is happening or is likely to happen. Men and women in power know much more about the situation than I do, and have…

Posted in In the news, Military aid | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Planners vs. Searchers in 1958

At the 9th meeting of Hayek’s Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) in 1958, members discussed two papers by P.T. Bauer on economic development and foreign aid. Over at the Foundation for Economic Education’s excellent From the Archives blog, Nicholas Snow recently posted the account of that discussion from the first issue of the Mont Pelerin Quarterly. The entire issue is available for download (NB: as a 20 MB PDF) here.

Bauer’s

Posted in History | 6 Comments

Be careful what you export

Our distant ancestors had a biological constitution awfully similar to our own, and, like us, only 24 hours in a day. Arguably the main reason we have so much better lives than them is that we have better ways of doing things (broadly conceived). So it makes a great deal of sense that much of the work in development planning and foreign aid consists in exporting ways of doing things. Technology and scientific know-how are…

Posted in Big ideas, Grand plans and aid targets, Trade | 13 Comments

We now return to our regularly scheduled Hayek

Universidad Francisco Marroquin recently made available both the video and transcripts of a series of interviews with F.A. Hayek from the mid-1970′s. Not only do they furnish an in depth look into the ideas of one of the past century’s most influential thinkers, and pair him with some of the other great economists of the past half-century, they do so with a level of style that only the 1970′s could…

Posted in Cognitive biases, Human rights | 10 Comments

Constructivist cartography

The development blogosphere recently lit up with news of South Sudan’s plan to rebuild some of its urban centers in the shape of various animals.

The plan elicited no shortage of guffaws, as is appropriate. But in the interest of maintaining AidWatch’s contrarian reputation, this post argues that we should be careful about focusing our ridicule on the Sudanese. Criticism should to be leveled at the appropriate target: cartography!

Posted in Grand plans and aid targets, In the news, Maps | Tagged | 7 Comments