By failing to live up to their obligations, developed countries are 'doing harm'

By Richard Jones 20 July 2015

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist. Photo by: Stephen Jaffe / International Monetary Fund / CC BY-NC-ND

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz had hoped to spur conversations — and action — around three things while in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during last week’s third International Conference on Financing for Development.

The first was for all development stakeholders to have a “big change” in mindset. While development finance has evolved into more than official development assistance alone, he said, a broader perspective is still needed to find ways to unlock various sources of funding.

The second was for developed countries to realize they have a “responsibility” that goes beyond delivering aid; they have to “do no harm.” Unfortunately, Stiglitz believes they are failing at that responsibility.

“It’s not just that they’ve failed to live up to their moral obligation, their social obligations, their own commitments,” Stiglitz told Devex on the sidelines of a debate on international tax reform hosted by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the International Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation. “They’re actually doing harm.”

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About the author

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Richard Jones@richard_devex

Richard oversees editorial content for campaigns and media partnerships at Devex. Previously an associate editor, he covered the full spectrum of development aid in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, supervising a team of correspondents and writers, penning articles and conducting high-level video interviews at events across the EMEA region. Currently based in Barcelona, Richard brings to bear 12 years of experience as an editor in institutional communications, public affairs and international development. His development experience includes stints in the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Ecuador.


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