Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Idealism Compared to the Control Group

I read Nina Munk's recent book The Idealist to possibly add it to my Development course syllabus. It's about Jeff Sachs (he of The End of Poverty fame) and his Millennium Villages Project. Basically, Sachs is an idealist, he insults you if you disagree with him, and his program doesn't work and isn't being rigorously evaluated since there was no control group. I usually want to cut Sachs some slack, maybe because I think I'm already too cynical so I shouldn't bother wasting energy criticizing his (naive) optimism, and I tend to agree with his statement that the amount of money we're talking about for his desired big push of foreign aid is pennies compared to our military spending. But the book really portrays him as a bully. (And also possibly a washed up bully since his fame seems to have waned of late.)

Anyway, I'm clearly not a fan of MVP. The book itself was alright, if not stunning: B, maybe a B-.

Listen to this:

No comments:

Post a Comment