The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been a sort of North Star for the development universe since 2000. Governments, Donors and aid wonks all talk about advances in terms of how close it brings a nation closer to achieving a given goal. The goals expire in 2015 and discussions are already underway for what should come next.
One question seems to have been forgotten: did the MDGs actually work?
Charles Kenny and Andy Sumner dug in a bit in a working paper for the Center for Global Development back in 2011. The MDGs did a good job in increasing aid spending and led to improved development policies. However whether or not the goals helped to speed up progress in target areas is hard to determine.
Dr. Jim Kim
President Barack Obama’s nomination of renowned physician activist Dr. Jim Kim to become head of the World Bank is controversial – apparently because he’s both a physician and an outspoken advocate for a particular approach to fighting poverty.
This has led all sorts of development experts — most of them economists — to give at best faint praise to Kim as a “good person” but then go on to damn him for not having the right kind of knowledge and/or expertise to run this institution devoted to promoting overseas development.
Many of my favorite development (economics) experts like Bill Easterly and Chris Blattman point to a book co-authored by Kim called Dying for Growth, in which he and his colleagues “present evidence that the quest for growth in GDP and corporate profits has in fact worsened the lives of millions of women and men.”
Blattman cites another opponent of Kim’s nomination, Lant Pritchett, who says:
Kim’s views against economic growth and private investment (detailed in his book, Dying for Growth) are already raising eyebrows in the press and causing concern among world leaders.
Oh dear me! The proposed head of the World Bank is “against growth!” Really? Continue reading