So what works? Easterly's argument is that if it's imposed from the outside, almost nothing works -- in either the economic or political sphere. It's no accident, he argues, that the great East Asian economic success stories of recent decades -- Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand -- all took place in countries that were never successfully colonized by the West. These nations evolved their own cultures, rules and disciplines and built an indigenous foundation for rapid economic growth. The region's laggard is the one nation that was colonized: the Philippines.
The approach favored by Easterly is to examine each culture individually and offer aid specific to local conditions. Sounds good. He offers many case studies that are very compelling, yet it is difficult to draw many conclusions because they are specific to each situation. Many of his case studies showed that aid administered actually helped rather than hindered development. One of the conclusions drawn, however, is that healthcare and primary education are two areas where aid has been successful.
Planners have good intentions but don't motivate anyone to carry out their plan or hold anyone responsible for getting results. Searchers, on the other hand, find out first what the poor need then try to meet the demand
"The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good"
by William Easterly