Wired | Tired | Expired

I’ve been gratified by the number of people who have contacted me (by email, twitter and on facebook) to say how much they liked one of the slides in my recent presentation on aid effectiveness.

The slide borrows a format from Wired Magazine – it shows what I think is expired, tired and wired in foreign aid.

Expired Wired Tired in Aid Effectiveness

Of course, some of this is a bit exaggerated but I think it makes the point.   As I argue in the presentation (you can click it then jump forward to slide 20), the items in the Wired column aim to put  power in the hands of citizens in developing countries, and to enable them to put pressure to improve the services they get and the way that the aid system works.

Further suggestions please in the comments below, preferably in the Wired | Tired | Expired format.

7 comments on “Wired | Tired | Expired”

  1. There seems to be a pattern to almost all of them:

    expired: old school left-wing dirigisme
    tired: enlightened third-way liberalism
    wired: libertarian welfarism.

  2. Expired: rigid evolutionary unidirectional progessive thinking aid models (eg expired-tired-wired) and solutions
    Tired: chaotic atomistic and autistic overlap and replication of interventions
    Wired: flexible recognition of pre-eminence of contex and avoidance of search for silver bullets

  3. Glad you did a repeat of the slide… I just wish some of the expired concepts (project aid, money to NGO’s, imported food aid, etc.) were truly expired as practices.

  4. Wanted to add, I just watched the slides and really appreciated them… My issue was with the idea that cash transfers are always an improvement on locally sourced food, which is not the case when transfers are not price-indexed over time and/or local markets are unviable.

  5. This is a really interesting presentation. One of my PhD students is looking at elite attitudes to pro-poor policy in Malawi and she found that cash transfer programmes are very popular with donors but very unpopular with elites (including NGOs). What it seemed to come down to was concern that cash transfers discourage the Malawian tradition of pride in work, and do not differentiate between the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor (although few respondents would categorise along those lines). Unless there is broad-based support for cash transfer programmes, then they are unlikely to survive, certainly politically speaking, beyond donor funding. If you’re interested, I can put you in touch with her. She presented some findings at WIDER last year.

  6. I suspect that the interest shown in the slide reflects the wish of aid practitioners to be up to date with latest aid fashions. Which is, when you think about it, rather depressing. There are things which worked then, work now and will work in the future. Not all is fashion, I hope.

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Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and