If the United States and a united Europe will honour their long-standing – and long-neglected – pledge of 0.7% of GNP, then Africans and other impoverished people on the planet will roll up their sleeves and get to work saving themselves and their families, and ultimately helping to save all of the rest of us as well.
You will get no stick from me on the need to do economically rational things, like putting in place markets and improving the institutional structure necessary for them to operate. Nor will you get any stick from me on the view that these are as, important as giving more aid, and in some cases more so. But I don’t understand Tim’s near pathological desire to suggest that the need to do these things is any reason not give more aid as well. Furthermore, that doesn’t seem to be what Jeff Sachs is saying either. I suspect my difference with Tim is emphasis. I think that we (ie the rich countries) should focus mainly on the things that are our responsibility and which we can fix, such as liberalising the trade rules, stopping being corrupt, selling fewer arms, being more consistent in our willingness to step in to conflicts and humanitarian disasters like Rwanda and Darfur, contributing less to global warming and desertification, having more rational migration policies, and giving more and better aid; and – at least until we have done what we ought – we should spend rather less time lecturing others on what we think they should do.