William Easterly is Professor of Economics at New York University, Co-Director of NYU’s Development Research Institute, and Co-Editor of the Journal of Development Economics. His latest book is The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good. (November 2010)

IN THE REVIEW

Foreign Aid for Scoundrels

Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, center, with his wife Chantal Biya at a Bastille Day parade on the Champs Elysées, Paris, July 14, 2010
The international aid system has a dirty secret. Despite much rhetoric to the contrary, the nations and organizations that donate and distribute aid do not care much about democracy and they still actively support dictators. The conventional narrative is that donors supported dictators only during the cold war and ever since have promoted democracy. This is wrong.

The Anarchy of Success

China's Bong Bongs

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

by Leonard Mlodinow


Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism

by Ha-Joon Chang

Among economists, the countries most famous for rapid economic growth are the East Asian “Gang of Four”: Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. Between 1960 and 2007, incomes in these countries grew on average by more than 5 percent each year. They have been joined recently by China, whose …

NYR DAILY

Why Are We Supporting Repression in Ethiopia?

Farmer Makaba Wasu planting a grain crop.  He lost part of his one hectare field due to river erosion.  Jaffa Village, Wolayita Zone, Ethiopia, August 19, 2008

Foreign aid observers have often worried that Western aid to Africa is propping up autocratic regimes. Yet seldom has such a direct link from aid to political repression been demonstrated as in “Development without Freedom,” an extensively documented new report on Ethiopia by Human Rights Watch. Based on interviews with 200 people in 53 villages and cities throughout the country, the report concludes that the Ethiopian government, headed by prime minister Meles Zenawi, uses aid as a political weapon to discriminate against non-party members and punish dissenters, sending the population the draconian message that “survival depends on political loyalty to the state and the ruling party.”