Oyinbo Economists do not get it...

This article in WSJ caught my attention because the topic is close to my dissertation. Mr Wessel's ideas are cutting edge and definitely goes against the grain, he is essentially suggesting, though in a subtle way, that economists in developed countries do not get 'it'. Which from my experience is absolutely true. A high school student from any developing economy can pick holes in the theories put forward by most of the best papers in developmental economics.
We are forced to live through these, day in day out, due to the imbalance of power. The stronger dude is right even when he is glaringly wrong. Academics of African descent ought to forge together in order to bring forth a formidable voice. A voice worth reckoning with. This guys do not know half of the things they claim to know. Developmental economics is unique as it can not be put in any neo-, post-, pre- box. It's case dependent.
When next any of those Ivy league trained boys talk about the causes of under-development in Africa, please ask them my favorite question. Have you ever been to Africa? If they answer NO, please tell them to "hang it".
Why is that? Why aren't more poor countries catching up faster?
One view, articulated by Ms. Krueger, is that so-called Third World governments and their First World advisers applied sound economic principles incorrectly or without sufficient attention to the reality. Policies to encourage exports and shield embryonic industries from imports until they got rolling sounded good, for instance, but bred corruption, infantilized industries and created politically powerful vested interests that blocked needed change.
Another view is that poor countries got bad advice and paid the price, but that today's experts know much more than their predecessors. "We don't have recipes, or a checklist," Mr. Edwards says. But, he says, we do know the ingredients: educating workers, accumulating capital and investing it widely, improving productivity. Even he concedes economists are better at dissecting success stories -- China, for one -- and identifying particular reasons for each one's success than generalizing to advise struggling countries what steps to take to boost living standards for the masses.
A third view is that earlier economists focused on the wrong thing. Mr. Johnson, among others, argues that what really matters is having solid political, legal and economic institutions -- courts, central banks, honest bureaucrats, private-property rights -- that allow entrepreneurs to flourish. Imposing what seem to be sound economic policies on corrupt, incompetent or myopic governments is doomed. Building strong institutions is a necessary prerequisite. In this camp, there is a running side argument about which comes first: the institutions or the educated people who create them. Was the Constitution key to U.S. success, or was it Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton?
Technological advances and the spread of markets likely will boost the overall income of the world significantly over the next 25 to 50 years. "But," Mr. Johnson warns, "at least half the world's population will likely not participate fully" -- unless his crowd finds better ways to spread prosperity along with better health to poor countries.

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Entries by: Ragdolldudu and Omodudu. Entries About: Nigeria and other assorted randomness. Location: NY. Drop us a comment at [email protected]. Join the facebook group for Nigerian bloggers here. Life is all fun out here in Duduland where we attempt to make social commentary in a rather laid back manner. We are aware that you are entitled to our opinion, and our opinion you will get. This is our memo to the world. You can also see a straight faced version of me at Altnigeria. Remember to put God first and all other things shall be added unto you. Ciao.

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