Win $20,000 to be part of the problem?

In order to help bring attention to the need for scholarship and fresh ideas in this area, and to encourage broad participation, the Global Development Network (GDN) in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announces an international essay contest. The contest invites essays on the future of development assistance. The primary objective of the contest is to invite fresh thinking related to the future of aid that can inform the ongoing discourse on development assistance and to make this thinking available to policymakers and key stakeholders.
Up to 20 winning entries will be chosen, and receive $20,000 each.

I think a good answer would start with thinking why this is probably the kind of question and mindset that leads foreign aid not to be a disaster in the first place.

First, most policies and institutions cannot be reinvented, they must be either hijacked and changed on the margin (unless you can drown them in a bathtub).

Second, grand schemes have a bad track record. Cue Hayek, Popper, Scott, and Easterly, albeit using them to be constructive (which they are not–that’s the hard part).

There is a good essay to be written here, possibly from the perspective of the piecemeal social engineer who recognizes it is generally very hard to social engineer, and that most of the time you don’t have the right to do so.

That is as close as I will get to writing 5000 words on this I am afraid.

25 thoughts on “Win $20,000 to be part of the problem?

  1. Worthwhile initiative reflecting need to stop and think before moving on further. MDG at an end requires look back and focus on the best way forward.
    Is Aid exhausted or just still running fast spending without achieving. Some bright minds may come up with something.
    My own view is that aid fails due to thinking everybody is the same. Community based projects which will only work for some in the community or some communities rather than other communities. Push this on up to some countries against others. This leaves you with anthropology and insufficient of it results in the struggles of development and aid. Aid has to toughen up.