Dambisa Moyo, an African economist, has joined her voice to the other African economists [e.g. James Shikwati] calling for a full halt to Western aid. Her book is called Dead Aid and it asserts a direct cause-and-effect relationship between $1 trillion of aid and the rise in African poverty rates from 11% to 66%.
Though it's an easy enough signal to fake, I find it noteworthy that Moyo – in this interview at least – repeatedly pleads for some attention to "logic and evidence":
"I think the whole aid model is couched in pity. I don’t want to cast aspersions as to where that pity comes from. But I do think it’s based on pity because based on logic and evidence, it is very clear that aid does not work. And yet if you speak to some of the biggest supporters of aid, whether they are academics or policy makers or celebrities, their whole rationale for giving more aid to Africa is not couched in logic or evidence; it’s based largely on emotion and pity."
I was just trying to think of when was the last time I heard a Western politician – or even a mainstream Western economist in any public venue – draw an outright battle line between logic and pity. Oh, there are plenty of demagogues who claim the evidence is on their side, but they won't be so outright condemning of emotion – it's not a winning tactic. Even I avoid drawing a battle line so stark.
Moyo says she's gotten a better reception in Africa than in the West. Maybe you need to see your whole continent wrecked by emotion and pity before "logic and evidence" start to sound appealing.
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