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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

“Who Put Us in Charge?” Quote of the Day from New Nobel Winner

Angus Deaton on aid and western hubris

“The aid endeavor is inspired by the question of what we should do, or by its imperative version that we must do something. Yet this may be precisely the wrong question, and asking it may be part of the problem, not the beginnings of a solution.
Why is it we who must do something? Who put us in charge? We often have such a poor understanding of what they need or want, or of how their societies work, that our clumsy attempts to help on our terms do more harm than good.
What surely ought to happen is what happened in the now-rich world, where countries developed in their own way, in their own time, under their own political and economic structures.
No one gave them aid or tried to bribe them to adopt policies for their own good. What we need to do now is to make sure that we are not standing in the way of the now-poor countries doing what we have already done.”
– Angus Deaton, The Great Escape, 2015 Nobel Laureate in Economics 

Bonus Nobel Prize roundup:

Alex Tabarrok on the importance of Deaton’s work.

Ian Vasquez on Deaton’s take on human progress, poverty, and foreign aid.

Marian Tupy on the recent discovery that, for the first time ever, less than 10% of the world lives in extreme poverty (a result found using Deaton’s work).

Caleb Brown interviewed Deaton for Cato’s podcast back in 2013:

Russ Roberts interviewed Deaton for Econtalk.

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