"Dead Aid"  Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson disagrees with the negative take on foreign assistance offered by Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo in her recent book Dead Aid.   Gerson's take:  "If Moyo's point is that some aid can be bad, then it is noncontroversial. If her point is that all aid is bad, then it is absurd."   Secretary of State Clinton recently referred to the ineffective aid efforts in Afghanistan as "heartbreaking."    But Zambia's experience is perhaps, even sadder.  A recent assignment in my AREC 365 class brought to my attention the fact that overseas development assistance to Zambia amounts to over 10% of its GDP. But economic growth stagnates.    Here is Easterly's slide from "Myths of Aid" regarding ineffectiveness of aid to Zambia:

A C-SPAN interview with Dambisa Moyo can be viewed here.    Jeffrey Sachs critiques Moyo's views here.

posted April 3, 2009 7:10 a.m. 

updated June 2, 2009 at 10:55 a.m.

Sustainable Population and Necessary Technology.  Nina Fedoroff, science and technology advisor to the US State Department, recently gave an interview to the BBC in which she discussed the future of the world's population.   "There are probably already too many people on the planet.  We're going to need a lot of inventiveness about how we use water and grow crops."  Regarding genetically modified crops,  Fedoroff (author of  Mendel in the Kitchen) says, "We accept exactly the same technology (as GM food) in medicine, and yet in producing food we want to go back to the 19th Century.  We wouldn't think of going to our doctor and saying 'Treat me the way doctors treated people in the 19th Century', and yet that's what we're demanding in food production."

posted April 3, 2009 7 a.m.