The "expert approved" top-down approach to economic development has made little lasting progress, but has proven a convenient rationale for decades of individual rights violations perpetrated by colonialists, post-colonial dictators, and US and UK foreign policymakers seeking autocratic allies. These traditional antipoverty tactics have both trampled the freedom of the world's poor and suppressed a vital debate about alternative approaches to solving poverty. The blighted record of authoritarian development reveals the fundamental errors inherent in our traditional approach. It is time for new principles for foreign aid agencies and developing countries alike: principles that, because they are predicated on respect for the rights of poor people, have the power to end global poverty once and for all.
About the speaker: William Easterly is a Professor of Economics at New York University and Co-director of the NYU Development Research Institute. Easterly is the author of three books: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor (March 2014), The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (2006), which won the FA Hayek Award from the Manhattan Institute, and The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics (2001).
He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed academic articles, and has written columns and reviews for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Review of Books, and Washington Post. Foreign Policy Magazine named him among the Top 100 Global Public Intellectuals in 2008 and 2009, and Thomson Reuters listed him as one of the Highly Cited Researchers of 2014.