A Charles Kenny Double Feature

28 May

These two articles/posts by development economist Charles Kenny are worth a look:

Two things are clear: first, the presumption should remain that people are smarter about what works for them than you are –at least until you can prove pretty convincingly otherwise. And second, just subsidizing stuff or giving it out for free because you think it must be good for people really doesn’t cut it any more.

That was from  “Why Don’t They Want What We Know They Need?” on the Center for Global Development Blog


And then there is this:

But that’s far from the whole story. Across much of the planet, the items the rich world takes for granted on supermarket and drugstore shelves have for decades only been available to a lucky few. Multinational firms bring in technologies and business practices that lower the costs of these items and extend their reach. Competition creates markets in ways foreign aid just can’t, turning goods like mobile phones and medicines that were previously luxury items for an urban elite into products used by rich and poor alike. When a simple bar of hand soap does so much to promote income growth, lower child mortality, and improve adult health, there’s no shame in working for the faceless corporation that sells and markets it. So, get that international MBA. Then you can really say: “I work in development.”

Not so much new material as a briefer on why Unilever and Pepsi, not OxFam and CARE are the places to work if you decide you want to save the world. Full article from Foreign Policy here.


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