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Category Archives: Language

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, Human rights | Tagged , , | 12 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, Human rights | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Miracles of spontaneous order: where to get a cab around NYU

The New York Times has this wonderful interactive feature today, where you can see where most cab pickups and dropoffs happen at any time of day on any day. It confirms a puzzling feature that I had already observed: getting a cab is hopeless at one corner, but if you move just one block over you[…..]

Also posted in In the news, Maps | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Lincoln’s Birthday Valentine’s Day Declaration: I ♥ Democracy

Democracy doesn’t attract as much love as it deserves in aid and development circles. Many wonder if benevolent autocrats might be better for development than messy elections, even though there is no evidence to support benevolent autocracy. There is a strong positive association between democracy and LEVEL of per capita income, which at least some[…..]

Also posted in Democracy and freedom, History | Tagged , | 17 Comments

What we talk about when we talk about aid: A plea for accuracy

The following post is by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk. One thing that seems to get lost in debates over aid is the idea that “aid” is not a monolith. People talking about aid may mean church-to-church shipments of used clothes, World Bank[…..]

Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Levi’s sees the light on human rights for Native Americans

A previous post suggested that American liberty was still a work in progress. One illustration was a Levi’s ad that celebrates the seizing of Native American land for ourselves. To Levi’s credit, they responded to an email invitation to respond to our blog. Now that we have pointed out that the language in their ad[…..]

Also posted in History | Tagged | 1 Comment

Previous post criticized Malthusian economics, but reading comprehension also may be a problem…

After our guest blogger and DRI post-doctoral fellow Adam Martin spoke out today against Malthusian population scares that lack economic credibility, he got the following invitation (abbreviated version): Dear Adam I am contacting you today to request your participation in the Population Institute’s Global Population Speak Out, February 2010. I read your very thoughtful blog[…..]

Also posted in Meta, Satire and parodies | 9 Comments

We want your feedback, as long as you speak English

Community groups in Yemen wrote to the local World Bank office asking if they could get an Arabic translation of the conditions the World Bank imposed on the Yemeni government for a $51 million loan. Sorry, the Bank rep told them, English is “the official language to be used in all the transactions and contracts[…..]

Also posted in Organizational behavior | 18 Comments

The vortex of vacuousness

A tragic law of global poverty is that the efforts of many well-meaning and accomplished people somehow get sucked down into meaningless activities and empty rhetoric. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal carried an oped by uber-heavyweights Madeline Albright and Colin Powell about how we should not forget about the world’s poor during the crisis. Their solution[…..]

Also posted in Grand plans and aid targets, In the news | 6 Comments

The G-20 this weekend: A model international summit

The FT gave this straight-faced summary of the G-20 Meeting: “Although the meeting ended without specific new commitments and no country or central bank would be forced to change any existing policy in light of the communiqué, the participants …said they were pleased by the spirit of cooperation among the Group of 20 leading and[…..]

Also posted in In the news | 5 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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