William Easterly’s Burden

William Easterly continues his great crusade against the development establishment. I like his pitch for spontaneous development, but I remain skeptical of his quick dismissal of the role of the state in African development for two reasons:

1. The rest of the world has a massive head start which means that if the African entrepreneur is to survive the state must be there to provide the relevant public goods and some minimal protection from foreigners.

2. Let us not forget that stable societies are those in which capital and politics have a symbiotic relationship. The realities of the political economy of development are such that the state – and current holders of political power – must be brought on board if real and lasting development is to be achieved.

Also, check out Blattman’s Blog.

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