All aid proposals since the 60s follow the same script:
(1) announce an ambitious goal (‘halving poverty’)
(2) invoke Marshall Plan as a very promising precedent
(3) say you will double foreign aid (its always exactly double)
(4) ignore the historical record on previous aid programs that also did (1) through (3)
I was disappointed that Obama’s advisors didn’t come up with something a tad more fresh and different. Since the press mostly ignored Obama’s aid proposals, I guess the political incentive to do something more than the same old pro forma proposal is not very strong.
Short and sweet.Well, maybe not sweet…
Incidentally, if you’re interested in development policy and have not read Bill’s most recent book, do so. He’s one of the most influential public intellectuals in the development policy world, and is required reading.
It’s worth noting that we await a real statement of aid policy from the Obama camp, and I am hopeful for something more nuanced. At least behind the scenes. Susan Rice is an Africa scholar, a senior adviser to Obama, and a possible pick for the head of NSA. And Barack obviously has his family ties to the continent. I think we can expect a powerful and intelligent development focus with him sitting in the Oval Office. But so far we haven’t heard it, let alone seen it.
For updates on how global development fares in the campaign, watch this site.