The Tyranny of Experts – William Easterly (2014)

The Tyranny of Experts – William Easterly (2014)

This book wants to provoke, to stir debate and eventually change our thinking on how to help the poor. Its great subtitle, Economist, Dictators and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, is just the start. Easterly main message is that the real cause of poverty is the unchecked power of the state against poor people without rights. He doesn’t see a battle between free market and state intervention, but one between authoritarianism and free development.

His basic conclusion is that we may never compromise on equality of rights. It comes before anything else; including poverty reduction programs, propagated by the World Bank and the likes of Gates and Blair. It is at those institutions and wealthy individuals that Easterly (himself a former World Bank economist) addresses his critique. Continue reading “The Tyranny of Experts – William Easterly (2014)”

Dit kan niet waar zijn – Joris Luyendijk (2015)

Dit kan niet waar zijn – Joris Luyendijk (2015)

Set up as an anthropological study, Luyendijk spent  a year and a half in the London City interviewing around 200 bankers, so-called quants, recruiters and everyone willing to participate in his experiment -published as a blog on The Guardian website. His mission was to get answers to questions as ‘What Happened?’ and ‘Have adequate measures been put in place to avoid another crisis?’. The answer to the first question is; difficult to say, but one thing is certain: a fatal combination of too much risk taking, spurred by the wrong incentives was at the core of the melt down. Answering the second one is easier: no. And there’s much to be scared about. Continue reading “Dit kan niet waar zijn – Joris Luyendijk (2015)”

De Prijs van een Slecht Geweten – Arend Jan Boekestijn (2010)

De Prijs van een Slecht Geweten – Arend Jan Boekestijn (2010)

Boekestijn, a historian and former liberal MP, is on a mission. He is specifically interested in the (potential) damage aid does to poor countries and he formulates a detailed list of policy recommendation, making this book a great attempt to really influence the debate and policy on a practical level. Which to a certain extent it probably did, since the thinking on of aid and development has over the last years significantly evolved towards a more rational approach.
Continue reading “De Prijs van een Slecht Geweten – Arend Jan Boekestijn (2010)”