Aid vs. development

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Guest blogging for Bill Easterly, Lant Pritchett warns against any simple enthusiasm that mainstreaming aid evaluation at USAID (or anywhere else, for that matter) will by itself help bring about development. Pritchett draws a distinction between aid purely as assistance and the much larger goal of development:

Development, for better or worse, has always been defined as a deliberate acceleration of modernization, conceived as a synchronized (if not simultaneous), complex, four-fold transition of economy, polity, administration, and society. Modernization is a one-word description of what the West accomplished from the nineteenth century onwards. Development, as accelerated modernization (which may or may not follow exactly the West’s historical trajectory or modalities), is what Japan accomplished following the Meiji Restoration, rising from an isolated backwater to global power; development is what Korea achieved from 1962 to today, rising from a poor, weak, powerless, post-conflict state to what it is today. The goals that are the aim of development—having a productive and prosperous economy, a polity guided by the wishes and in the interests of its citizens, a administratively capable state, a cohesive society—are desirable goals. Moreover, development is the only demonstrated and sustained way to achieve the objectives of increased well-being.


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

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