Successful development can happen only if obstacles faced by free individuals in developing countries are slowly removed to allow these people to solve their own problems, Bill Easterly says in a talk with the John Templeton Foundation.
Easterly describes the current development architecture where foreign aid is channeled through what he calls the mainstream development establishment as autocratic and paternalistic. This assembly line of development coming from the top and trickling down to individual beneficiaries is at odds with how development happened in countries that are now developed, the New York University professor explains in a video posted in the “Aid Watch” blog.
Free individuals should be allowed to make their own choices and to solve their own problems using both foreign and local technology as well as the expertise both of insiders and outsiders, he says.
He gives as example local entrepreneurship in Africa where a lot of locals have engaged in microenterprises such as growing and selling pineapples and exporting cut flowers.
“It has to be free individuals making choices who are in charge of all of this,” Easterly says.
In the talk, Easterly also emphasizes the importance of independent aid critics and their role in challenging the mainstream development industry.