William Easterly is Professor of Economics at New York University, joint with Africa House, and Co-Director of the NYU Development Research Institute. He is also a non-resident Fellow of the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C. Easterly received his Ph.D. in Economics at MIT and spent sixteen years as a Research Economist at the World Bank. He is the author of The White Mans Burden: How the Wests Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (Penguin, 2006), The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics (MIT, 2001) and over 50 published articles. Easterly's areas of expertise include the determinants of long-run economic growth and the effectiveness of foreign aid. He has worked in most areas of the developing world, but most notably in Africa, Latin America, and Russia. Easterly is an associate editor of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Economic Growth, and of the Journal of Development Economics.
I would say my question is think about the way that success and escapes from poverty have actually happened. Have they happened more because of some kind of expert administrative task force plan, or have they happened through the efforts of autonomous, free individuals operating in a decentralized way to figure out and solve their own problems? I’d say think about that – about that big question about the way progress actually happens. And then think about whether you support more plans and more top down experts. Or do you support the efforts of bottom up individual ingenuity and creativity? Recorded On: 7/6/07