The lonely international aid critic

Written by on October 22, 2009 in Blog, Helping Without Hurting, Stories and Notes with 2 Comments

William Easterley reflects on why critics of AIDS vaccine research are applauded for discovering a fraud, but critics of international aid are like unwelcome guests at a party. Easterley argues that those who say we can end poverty through “simple panaceas” unsupported by the facts are not unlike the researchers who faked their vaccine research.

So why does medicine welcome critics and aid hates them? Perhaps us aid critics are just not as good as the medical critics. Or perhaps it is because we care so much more whether medicine really works than whether aid or military intervention really works?

Drug companies sell cures. What is international aid selling, and to who?

About the Author

About the Author: Andy Gray lives in Cambodia where he works as a writer and communicator for Alongsiders International, an organization raising up mentors to walk with vulnerable children and orphans in their own communities. I also host -- a website raising awareness about best practices for the care of orphaned and vulnerable children. .


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed
  • Michael Duenes

    Great thought. I would like to read some Easterly once I can get time to do some free reading, which likely will be during the summer. I agree with him, often the “good intentions” crowd doesn’t worry about whether what they’re doing has the intended effect, and usually there’s money, fame, and political power involved, which is why it is hard to uproot.

  • Andy

    Yes, you would like Easterly. He’s a person who believes in doing what’s right for the poor, and he believes that generally means working to increase their freedom. He has many sobering thoughts for people who want grand solutions, yet he must have a deep streak of compassion himself.