Thilo Thielke in Der Spiegel yesterday:
Development aid is a planned economy, even if it doesn’t have a plan. The belief that food shortages can be overcome in a planned economy is one that has already proved disastrously wrong in the former Soviet Union, North Korea and Cuba. One has to feel sorry for the Africans for their continued role as human guinea pigs. …
A series of African intellectuals is currently calling on people to finally just let Africa be … Trade, they say, is a much better solution to the problem than aid is. They also say that property and land need to be privatized and that subsidizing dictators needs to come to an end. They see the cure in the opposite of development aid. It would be a very valuable effort.
I think this is grossly overstated. But there is something in the some of these thoughts:
- that development work is too often “a planned economy without a plan”;
- that aid dependence can be a problem, especially if the donors do not follow best practice; and
- that trade would be better than aid (but both is better still, in my view, if the aid is done right).