Here’s your (bumper edition of) Saturday morning reading…
1) Why foreign aid fails by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
Ignore the politically convenient (for The Spectator) headline. The article admits that aid can do a lot of good, but suggests that changing extractive institutions takes more than aid, suggesting a great role for diplomacy. One for campaigners to consider?
“Promoting [David Cameron’s] golden thread means using not just aid but diplomatic relations to encourage reform in the many parts of the world that remain in the grip of extractive institutions. It means using financial and diplomatic clout (and Britain has plenty of both) to help create room for inclusive institutions to grow.”
2) A collection on inequality:
d) A review of “one of the watershed books in economic thinking” in the New York Times that argues that “capitalism’s inherent dynamic propels powerful forces that threaten democratic societies.”
3) Agenda 2063: an e-mail from the future
An imaginary email from African Union chair, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to a friend, dated 2063, in which she speaks of the Confederation of African States, high-speed rail links, agrarian revolution and even an African space centre. Visionary?
4) Towards political intelligence in aid by Dave Algoso
On the need to go beyond political economy analysis to systematically figuring out the individuals and coalitions that make aid work.
“Far from wondering whether aid is political, we’re left wondering, how could it not be?”
5) DFID discovers economic development by Lee Crawfurd
A suggestion that DFID is moving in the right direction despite restating things DFID already do, being over-ambitious on building institutions, colonial language and too many metaphors!