Tyranny of Experts

Tyranny of Experts

Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor

Book - 2013
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Over the last century, global poverty has largely been viewed as a technical problem that merely requires the right "expert" solutions. Yet all too often, experts recommend solutions that fix immediate problems without addressing the systemic political factors that created them in the first place. Further, they produce an accidental collusion with "benevolent autocrats," leaving dictators with yet more power to violate the rights of the poor
Publisher: New York : Basic Books a member of the Perseus Book Group, [2013]
ISBN: 9780465031252
0465031250
Characteristics: viii, 394 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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dennismmiller
Sep 25, 2017

In The Tyranny of Experts, development expert William Easterly describes how development orthodoxy was born during the last stages of colonialism, then proceeded to pass unquestioned from justifying European imperialism to supporting the autocracy of indigenous strongmen. The result, he claims, is a system that supports the well-being of nations over the rights of individuals, and in the process fails both.

Easterly is handicapped by too narrow a view - he does not consider the extent to which bureaucratic management rules the West as well as the Rest. In part this results from his own foreshortened historical perspective - beginning with late nineteenth century colonialism rather than tracing the origins of the "benevolent autocrat" back to the "enlightened despot" of the Enlightenment - Louis XIV and Frederick the Great play no part in his historical analysis, which comically imagines Tudor England to be less absolutist than Hapsburg Spain. More seriously, Easterly's simplistic identification of collectivism and autocracy leads him to his own form of postmodern hubris. His analysis castigates as oppressive any group in which membership is not deliberately chosen - a category that includes nations, ethnicities, religions, and families. This ignores the extent to which the most meaningful relationships are given rather than chosen, and seems to favor the neo-colonial imposition of Western rootlessness on the poor of the world, all in the interest of liberating them from their communities.

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StarGladiator
Apr 05, 2014

Easterly is a skeptic of foreign aid, but in order to really be a skeptic, he must first understand it, but from his incoherent grasp of such matters, he demonstrates a belief in the Easter Egg, Santa Claus, and that US foreign aid is really about helping other countries, instead of helping out the American-based multinationals, extending corporate state control, aiding the empire, and on and on. Easterly would be well served in understanding how Nelson Rockefeller compromised the Ex-Im Bank, AID and other foreign aid programs during his appointments to the Eisenhower Administration, and that ONLY two presidents ever promised publicly in speeches that they would never again send in the military in support of the multinationals [FDR and John F. Kennedy].

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