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Sachs attack! Help!

Jeff Sachs uncorks a personal attack on me, grossly distorts my position to make me look bad, and he definitely knows this from POSITIVE aid statements of mine that he has quoted in the past, wow this gets more fun every year!

Anybody have any inside contacts at Huffington Post to give me a chance to defend my lame self?

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  1. Tom Davies wrote:

    You can leave a comment directly on Sachs’s post.

    There are only a few so far, and, interestingly, none support Sachs.

    Posted May 24, 2009 at 6:03 pm | Permalink
  2. NY wrote:

    yes. i think thats the best way to do it.

    either that or to write a blog post here in response.

    Posted May 24, 2009 at 8:19 pm | Permalink
  3. Jeff Barnes wrote:


    You and Moyo must be gaining traction. If Sachs is resorting to his too common ad hominen attacks instead of responding to your arguments, he must be feeling desperate.

    Posted May 24, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Permalink
  4. Alanna wrote:

    You’re Bill Easterly! I am pretty sure you can just email HuffPo and tell them you want to post in response.

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 12:09 am | Permalink
  5. happyjuggler0 wrote:

    Professor Easterly,

    By all means, email the HP and demand a chance to respond. Also you might want to ask them why you weren’t given a chance to respond in advance of publication. It is what honest newspapers actually do as a matter of course.

    I put my two cents in there, respectfully so, albeit obviously ticked off. I’m curious to see if my polite but angry response makes it past moderation, or if instead they are more interested in ideology instead of honesty.

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 1:58 am | Permalink
  6. Pierre-Louis wrote:

    His point about the financial aid you and Moyo got is kinda valid…However, after that he blasts you guys and the rest by saying that you don’t care about development and poor people and that opponents of aid do not wnat to see Africa grow…He is mistaken on this…those who follow you and want the aid model to change radically are those who care the most about development, including myself, I think!

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 3:46 am | Permalink
  7. anonymous wrote:

    try emailing HP’s senior news editor katharine dot zaleski at gmail dot com

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 5:08 am | Permalink
  8. Adam Foya wrote:

    Sachs response to President Kagame is an insult. Just because Rwanda receive half of budget revenue,then its President should not opt for Dambisa and criticise the aid problems?

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 5:29 am | Permalink
  9. andrew lewis wrote:

    Dr. Easterly,

    I am weary of the Easterly/Sachs donnybrook. I think you two have way more to offer your readers who are working with local change agents to improve lives. I read your blog for ideas and arguments to help me do a better job. I learn a lot from both sides of the argument, but the tone of your discussion with Dr. Sachs takes away from the substance.

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 7:47 am | Permalink
  10. Adam Jackson wrote:

    I agree with Andrew Lewis.

    In this case, unusually, I also find myself siding more with Jeffrey Sachs. Aid has a lot wrong with it, but throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not the solution.

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink
  11. Florian wrote:

    @Adam Jackson

    This is exactly what Bill was referring to when he said that Jeff Sachs was distorting his position.

    If you read Bill’s books and papers carfully, it should be clear that he is NOT calling for ending aid. He is calling for ending aid where it is ineffective or harmful.

    From a merely logical point of view it is impossible to agree with Jeff Sachs’ article because he employs statements that are simply wrong.

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink
  12. Adam Jackson wrote:

    I was actually commenting more on Moyo there. I’m aware Bill’s position is more subtle.

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Permalink
  13. Unknown wrote:

    It is awful the level of discussion in a so important debate. So many personal attacks remind me some discussions in sport T.V. shows.

    As a western Europe country’s people use to say: the virtue is in the middle. Why these two great and brilliant minds (Bill and Jeff) just join together to produce great ideas? I know that some discussion is needed to bring up the best ideas, but do not exagerate so much.

    I have personally worked (and I still work) in a NGO and I always bear in mind that the most important thing is to ask ourselves how much social return each euro/dollar invested in our project has. Therefore, I think that Easterly makes a good point when referring to the lack of accountability and supervision (at least, social and political) over the actions of the NGO’s. People just assume they are good and that is everything.

    In addition, I worked in one “so called” great example of good governance in Africa: Maputo, MOZAMBIQUE (the land of the great president Chissano). I swear I do not understand why the IMF, the World Bank and the UNDP have three different buidings, different vehicles and so on. That is surely a waste of resources.

    Finally, I do not know it is possible to call Mozambique a good example of governance when me and my colleagues were approached all the time by poorly-paid policemen, trying to get a bribe. Once, because of my ID was “irregular”, they literally stole me 15 euros (in local currency). And, given the testimonies of other black and indian mozambicans, europeans working there and south africans (both black and white), everyone suffers from that problem. And I did not visited the rural areas…

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Permalink
  14. David Grundy wrote:

    I wrote this on Huff about Sachs. His charges against Moyo and Easterly are both irrelevant and hyppocritical:

    His ad-hom attacks about Moyo’s scholarship and Easterly’s funding would be laughable if it weren’t so hyppocritical. Sachs took it upon himself to grace the Communist world with “shock therapy” in the 90’s. Based on his logic, unless he had fully funded his own private education, healthcare and every other public service then he would be in no position to liberalize Communism. After all, wasn’t the Communist experiment a noble cause with the aim of helping the proletariat? Perhaps Communism simply didn’t work because they needed more aid and the West was too selfish to share their ideals?

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Permalink
  15. Gabriel Labbate wrote:

    Yet, Sachs has some very good points that you fail to address properly. Few believe that this is becoming “more fun” every year. And what is worse, your style is doing harm to the cause of increasing efficiency in aid.

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink
  16. M wrote:

    Dr Easterly:

    It’s funny that you and Dr Sachs have decided to post these articles in the HP now, as I’m currently re-reading The White Man’s Burden. While I sympathize with some of your ideas and also very much appreciate the good work you have done on the blog, I think Dr Sachs makes a good point in his post: sometimes the Searchers aren’t going to get to the destitute quick enough, which results in people dying in the short term. So, however inefficient and negatively correlated Planner-generated aid is with growth, the Planners have a role to play — perhaps unless foreign aid is reinvented in the way in which you desire.

    Echoing the readers above, I ask that you please continue to educate us, instead of wasting your time going after Dr Sachs. Frankly, in my view, neither you nor Dr Sachs have been particularly fair or accurate when portraying each other’s positions. I could provide plenty of examples, but let’s let bygones be bygones and move on.

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 11:35 pm | Permalink
  17. Simon Johnson wrote:

    If I were you I wouldn’t grace his article with a response.

    Dambisa Moyo replied at the Huffington Post.

    Posted May 26, 2009 at 11:35 pm | Permalink
  • 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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