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Fall 2009
ISSN 0890-913X
Volume 25, Number 1

Can the West Help the Rest? A Review Essay of Sachs’ The End of Poverty and Easterly’s The White Man’s Burden

Arielle John, George Mason University
Virgil Henry Storr, Mercatus Center, George Mason University
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/jpe/index.php?action=ajax&rs=GDMgetPage&rsargs[]=Fall2009 9.pdf&rsargs[]=0
TheJournalofPrivateEnterprise25(1),2009,125-140CantheWestHelptheRest?AReviewEssayofSachsTheEndofPovertyandEasterlysTheWhiteMansBurdenArielleJohnGeorgeMasonUniversityVirgilHenryStorrGeorgeMasonUniversityAbstractTherivalopinionsexpressedbyJeffreySachsinhisbookTheEndofPovertyandbyWilliamEasterlyinTheWhiteMansBurdenepitomizethedichotomyintheeconomicsliteratureregardingtheroleofforeignaidineliminatingextremepoverty.Ontheonehand,themajorityofgovernmentsseeaidasasolutiontoendingpovertyindevelopingcountries.Ontheotherhand,agrowingbodyofresearchrejectsthesimplenotionthataidleadstogrowth.ThispaperexploresbothSachsandEasterlysconclusionsasawayofframingthecontemporarydebateonforeignaidanditsroleinalleviatingpoverty.AlthoughTheEndofPovertyandTheWhiteMansBurdenraiseinterestingquestionsabouttheWestsobligationtotheRest,thereareproblemswithbothoftheiranalysesofpastaideffortsandwiththepolicyprescriptionsthattheyadvocate.Giventhefailureofdecadesofaidefforts,andrecentstudiesdemonstratingthatforeignaidcanactuallyretardeconomicgrowthinrecipientcountries,thereisreasontobeskepticalthatweintheWestcandomuchtohelpthoseintheRest..JELCodes:F350,I300,O190Keywords:Foreignaid;Poverty;Developingcountries;Sachs;EasterlyI.IntroductionMostoftheworldwaspoortwohundredandfiftyyearsago.Moreover,thedifferencebetweentherichestandthepoorestwasquitesmall.Sincethen,however,muchoftheworldhasclimbedoutofpovertybyembracingpropertyrightsandenforcingcontracts.Still,aboutonesixthoftheworldspopulationisunabletomeettheirbasicneeds.Canpeopleintherichestcountriesdoanythingtohelpthoseinthepoorestnations?125
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