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Category Archives: Human rights

Attention Chinese government, be sure to censor this

Great article in NYT Book Review by Emily Parker on the Chinese government successfully inhibiting academic freedom and freedom of speech in the West. The Chinese-Canadian writer Denise Chong’s …  {2009} book, “Egg on Mao,” … tells the true story of Lu Decheng, who threw paint-filled eggs at Mao’s portrait in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 protests.  … A[…..]

Also posted in Democracy and freedom, Political economy | 5 Comments

Wax and Gold: Meles Zenawi’s Double Dealings with Aid Donors

Helen Epstein, author of The Invisible Cure: Why We Are Losing The Fight Against AIDS in Africa, has a stunning piece on aid to Ethiopia published in this month’s New York Review of Books. Epstein argues that the main cause of fertile southern Ethiopia’s chronic food shortages—the so-called “green famine” —is Ethiopia’s toxic and repressive[…..]

Also posted in Aid policies and approaches, Democracy and freedom, Language | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Video of talks by Chris Blattman, others, and yours truly

Videos from Yale Law School Bernstein Symposium on Human Rights a couple weeks ago: Chris Blattman, Gregg Gonsalves (big attack on W. Easterly), Michael Kleinman Keynote talk (something about  double standards on human rights) by another somebody calling themself  William Easterly.

Also posted in Meta | Tagged | 6 Comments

Abe on double standards

Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” Soon it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to[…..]


Oh, NOW I understand why we don’t want to talk about global human rights…

Noor Muhammed was arrested in March 2002 in Pakistan. He’s been charged with helping to train Al Qaeda militants at a training camp in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2000. The only act he’s charged with that occurred after September 11, 2001 is allegedly trying to evade local authorities by escaping from a safehouse in Pakistan[…..]

Tagged | 7 Comments

Why are we not allowed to talk about individual rights in development?

Individual rights for rich countries Individual rights in development discourse
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” “Implementing the strengthened approach to governance … will require …
…careful development of a … detailed results framework, consideration of budget and staffing implications … and further consultations with stakeholders…The specific initiatives needed to fully operationalize this strategy will be outlined in an Implementation Plan…”
Also posted in Democracy and freedom, Language | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Seeing the Light on a Rights-Based Approach to Development

Today’s guest blogger, Tim Ogden, is the editor-in-chief of Philanthropy Action. Bill Easterly has been a frequent critic of the rights-based approach to development, most recently in his article in the FT focusing on the “right to health.” For as long as I’ve known about the rights-based approach I’ve agreed with him. Recently, though, I’ve[…..]

Tagged , | 33 Comments

Guest Post by April Harding on Health as a Human Right

Maybe it is not necessary that approaching health policy and health development assistance from a human rights framework undermine effective use of resources – but it often does. Bill has given the example of the misallocation of AIDS program funds (excess spending on treatment relative to prevention). I’d add excess spending on AIDS relative to[…..]

Also posted in Global health | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Debating Health as a Human Right

Yesterday’s FT op-ed on the right to health generated a lot of heat in this blog’s comments section. Several commenters disputed an absolute distinction between the “moral approach”—declaring health to be a human right, and the “pragmatic approach”—directing finite public resources to where they can benefit the most people at a given cost. Justin Krauss[…..]

Also posted in Global health | 18 Comments

Human rights are the wrong basis for healthcare

Column published today in the Financial Times. The agonising US healthcare debate has taken on a new moral tone. President Barack Obama recently held a conference call with religious leaders in which he called healthcare “a core ethical and moral obligation”. Even Sarah Palin felt obliged to concede: “Each of us knows that we have[…..]

Also posted in In the news | Tagged , , | 3 Comments
  • About Aid Watch

    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

    "Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking." - H.L. Mencken

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