Friday, 3 December 1999

From "The White Man's Burden"

By William Easterly, p. 5.

Let's call the advocates of the traditional approach the Planners, while we call the agents for change in the alternative approach the Searchers. The short answer on why dying poor children don't get twelve-cent medicines, while healthy rich children do get Harry Potter, is that twelve-cent medicines are supplied by Planners while Harry Potter is supplied by Searchers [...]

[cosmetic caveats]

[...] A Planner thinks he already knows the answers; he thinks of poverty as a technical engineering problem that his answers will solve. A Searcher admits he doesn't know the answers in advance; he believes that poverty is a complicated tangle of political, social, historical, institutional, and technological factors. A Searcher hopes to find answers to individual problems only by trial and error experimentation. A Planner believes outsiders know enough to impose solutions. A Searcher believes only insiders have enough knowledge to find solutions, and that most solutions must be homegrown.

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