Two of the highest-profile development economists Jeffrey Sachs and William Easterly continue on disagreeing on how to tackle best global poverty. It's going back for years and seems to continue in 2007. The story usually goes like this: "Planner" Sachs (with a more top down approach) proposes how development aid can work. "Searcher" Easterly (more grassroots approach) disagrees highlighting why aid hasn't worked in the past. Latest example is Easterly's "The White Man's Burden" article (Jan.'07) in response to Sachs ' "How Aid Can Work" (Dec.'06).
For sure it's an interesting discussion going on between the two and it might helpful for academics. But frankly I wonder if it wouldn't be more beneficial for the poor they try to help (and less confusing for non-experts) if they'd sit down over a beer and write down their common ground? Has anyone done a comparative analysis between the two?
So far I have no opinion who is right, although critizicing is easier than going ahead with action as Sachs has done with the UN Millennium Development Goals. My feeling is: Don't we need both, UN planned development cooperation as well as entrepreneurial development on the grassroots level? I believe we need more cooperation to really make "MakePovertyHistory".