A World Bank economist’s insightful examination of the effectiveness of global development.
Making a case for international aid to continue flowing into the developing world proves to be a complicated pursuit. Foreign Policy contributing editor Kenny (Overselling the Web?: Development and the Internet, 2006) weaves his way through economic history, theory and reality as he dissects how development has made the world a better place. Kenny argues that GDP per capita is a poor measure for success as incomes continue to diverge and growth rates increasingly vary. He suggests that economists should begin to rely on indicators like health, education, politics and violence when arguing for or against aid; improved quality of life must be the new standard against which the effects of development dollars are calculated. The author cites the Green Revolution and the increased availability of and access to goods and services, whatever one's income, as examples of development done right. But Kenny warns that the successful application of aid may prove to be a quixotic undertaking when there seems to be no universally agreed-upon formula or approach. Readers shouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon, since each country is unique and no one key factor can function as a global salve. Relying on a relaxed approach flecked with sarcasm and wit, Kenny’s accessible and generally jargon-free prose easily guides readers through the contentious and political aspects of global development and the ideologies competing to control it.
A poignant and optimistic rebuttal to critics of global development.