The right to be mobile
The right to be mobile
Around the world, the absence of political and economic rights for the poor majority is one of the biggest barriers to their upward mobility. In the absence of such rights, the political elite and the economic elite merge into a combined elite that preserves their grip on their highly unequal incomes indefinitely. Modern foreign aid programs can unintentionally make this problem worse by supporting such elites in poor countries. The presentation will illustrate these points with examples from Ethiopia, Uganda, and Colombia, as well as historical examples from New York City and Italy, and will also discuss the application to the U.S. and Europe today.
boom hominid jaw a tutti cutscene good afternoon ladies and gentlemen welcome for coming thank you for coming thank you for being here in this hole and the other three holes I understand the three the holes have been set up for this meeting so there's a large audience many people are coming to hear professor estelí did they indeed we have with us one of the top economists on development worldwide professor William easterly he has a chair at the New York's in University he has had a long experience as development economist at the World Bank today is here with us to present us book that has been published in Italy as well by the DeRosa felt title of his book being the tyranny of experts or communist dictators and denied rights of the pause at some point perhaps at the end of the book it's a process that he says if you're reading this book it means that the problem of development and emergence from poverty is something that is close to your heart and it is reassuring do you see that in this city one of the richest wealthiest in Italy there's such a big interest so you were not here to listen to me so I'm going to make a long story short and I'd like just to pinpoint one of the subject which is most interesting I think in his book precicely probably is going to do it on that actually as a matter of fact I'd like to refer to two things the technocratic approach in on the policy for emergence of poverty is the direct consequence of colonialism and indeed in his book there's a red thread pointing to the connections between the what happened in the 1800 1900 and from the colonialism to technocratic approach and not considering the rights of the individuals in the country where apparently development is advocated and a merely technocratic approach clearly does not work the approach trying to tackle individual issues connect to development and not considering the matter as a whole are doomed to fail because the rights of population individuals are actually to be taken into greatest can attention professor easily obviously is going to present us with his point of view as in this book but let me just take advantage of this opportunity for putting a question to him if I may over the last few years the cut metal it's always given to the economists at the top or the brightest economies over the last for 40 years Roland fryer duflot a couple of years ago were granted this metal and these economists up studying different samples or population in different areas took a completely different perspective feasibly the one that he you advocated so their perspective is that development should be aimed at whatever works practically speaking so for example Esther Duflo analyzed we through randomized that's carried out on the local population whether certain types of prevention against malaria turn out to be successful not role and fire on the other hand I tried and understand of what works in the education system what kind of incentive a monetary incentive can be given to students or teachers to make them more high achievers venya you refer to the why nations fail and Robinson and his car and the his co-workers lay emphasis on the institutional aspects Fukuyama lay emphasis on institutional aspects as well as other economies to do that when we or the other deal with the development you lay emphasis on the rights on the rights of individuals so my question again if I may ask you is why is your approach different from that of these young economies that have been awarded important acknowledgement or with their tests carried out on the local populations why do you talk less about the importance of institutions why don't you think that the raucous inefficient bureaucracy uncorrupted bureaucracy is not as important as that the other young economies to say for one thing I'm not a young economist I really respect the work of Esther Duflo and Roland fryer the theme that we're really going to talk about today that they are not able to address and their methodology is that the roots of poverty are political they're the roots of poverty lie in the denial of political rights to the poor what this talk is going to call the right to be mobile the right to be upwardly mobile to ascend upward out of poverty so that is the basic disagreement that everything comes out of rights out of the rights of the poor out of that comes good institutions out of that comes the things that work so let me start a way right away into the talk I hope I answered that question thank you now before I actually begin the main body of the talk I have to do one brief commercial announcement I have a very kind publisher here in Italy and he insisted that I put up this slide I apologize for the self-promotion he gave me no choice whatsoever he insisted so please buy this book in Italian even if you don't speak Italian so let me let me begin with a story that I think will illustrate the roots of poverty in the denial of the right to be mobile so what I'm going to talk about in this talk I'm going to focus on Africa as an example of a whole continent that has been trapped at the bottom of the world income distribution the whole continent has been denied after a very long history in which the West plays a very guilty part Africa has been denied the right to be mobile the right to be upwardly mobile in the world income distribution let me start with one very simple precise story on the morning of Sunday February 28th 2010 in a place called Moo bend a district Uganda some farmers and their families were in church when they heard the sound of gunfire coming from outside the church and they came outside and they saw some men with guns burning down their homes torching their crops shooting their livestock and keeping them at gunpoint from rescuing their homes there was an eight-year-old child who died in the fire this I think captures the essence of the denial of the right to be mobile how can you be mobile when your land is taken away at gunpoint your crops are destroyed your homes are burnt down what's surprising about this story is that this was a project that was backed by the leading Western financed Western run development agency my former employer the World Bank it was part of a forestry project in which the land was going to be sold to a British company called the New Forest Company and the sale was going to enrich the Ugandan government which was run by a dictator who's been in power for 29 years named you arey Museveni and so the the pattern here is a local oppressor with Western backing his denying rights to the poor very basic elementary rights the rights to your own home the rights to your land the farmers were marched away at gunpoint and told this land is no longer yours and it's now more than five years since this happened the day after this story was actually reported in the New York Times the World Bank promised they would do an investigation that investigation has never happened the sad truth about this story is that nobody cared nobody cared what happened these farmers so what we're going to see here is the recurrence of a common pattern through a very long long history that there is some Western support for a local oppressive power that violates the rights of the poor and because of the violation of the rights of the poor of the poor in Africa state poor Africa as a whole stays poor so I think it's fairly obvious why not being able to have your own land in your own house and your own crops denies you the right to be mobile but also the absence of political rights denies these farmers the rights to be mobile they did not have the political right to protest who 7-a as I said has been in power for 29 years he's securely in power in part in part because he is an ally of the United States and the United Kingdom and the war on terror the u.s. gives him lots of military aid lots of economic aid to help keep him in power and so the alliant the unintentional alliance of the u.s. foreign policy the World Bank and a local oppressor lead to the denial of the right to be mobile to the majority of Africans now this this tendency has a very very long history so I'm now going to move to give you some of the historical roots of this pattern of western-backed oppression in Africa and I'm actually going to start a lot earlier than you might expect I'm gonna start in the year fourteen eighty three so I have to ask you to be patient this talk is going to last a little bit longer than some of the other talks in this conference it's going to last 532 years so please get comfortable I hope you have some water please relax so here is here's a picture of what happened in Mubin de Uganda after after the devastation of the farmers that burned down move in de Uganda what happened in 1483 was there was a Portuguese ship captain named Diego cow he was sailing off Central Africa and he came upon a river the locals told him the name of the river was what he called in Portuguese Zaire that name was later going to be attached to that country it's a year it's today called the Democratic Republic of the Congo and what happened in 1483 was the birth of the slave trade so the history of the roots of of western-backed oppression and africa go back to 1483 even before Columbus in the discovery of America so the Portuguese immediately started trading slaves from the Congo region and the Congo kingdom in turn raided with the Portuguese traded guns in exchange for slaves to the chief of the Congo Kingdom and the Congo Kingdom in term raided other kingdoms around them to capture slaves to sell to the Portuguese so here we have the pattern once again of western-backed oppression leading to the denial of in the most horrific way possible of the right to be mobile the creation of the African slave trade the traps millions and millions of African slaves for centuries at the bottom of the world income distribution so I have here a little graphic here's going to be the first phase in our history I'm gonna give you as several phases in history here's the first phase the slave trade which lasted all the way from 1483 to the 1800s so the pattern here is Western slave traders from Portugal from the United Kingdom from the Netherlands were oppressing locals by capturing them as slaves but they also did have the help of local oppressors they had the help of slave raiding kingdoms who help them capture slaves to sell into slavery in the Americas and in Europe I'm listing here four countries that I'm going to follow through quickly in the next over the next five hundred years of history I'm going to follow these countries through very quickly in their history so the countries are Congo Ethiopia Ghana and Uganda Congo I've already mentioned was a victim of the slave trade Ghana was a victim of the slave trade the local slave raiding kingdom was the Ashanti kingdom in the interior of Ghana who sold slaves to the British to finance it was actually a lot of slaves from Ghana that wound up in the Americas that wound up in my country in the southern United States Ethiopia is a much less known victim of the slave trade in this case it was a victim of the Arab slave trade where the Arabs captured slaves and sold them across the Red Sea and across the Sahara and then Uganda I'm including because it was it actually was affected a little bit by the slave trades so there is even a slave trade route in Uganda now one unusual thing that economists have been doing in recent times by the way I went to do a sound check I should have done at the beginning can all of you in the back hear me please in the back raise your hands if you can hear me okay yes that's great so one unusual thing that economists have been doing in recent times is tracing how much the the modern roots of development today go back to these historical factors like the slave trade is another Harvard historian named Nathan ton economic historian a great economic researcher who did a paper showing that the more intensely one region of Africa was a victim of the slave trade from the 1400s through the 1800s the more poor they are today and so Congo is one of the poorest countries in all of Africa and that's a kind of the supreme example of a country that still today is suffering from being a victim a very large-scale victim of the slave trade and that pattern has been established statistically throughout Africa by Nathan none the more country was a victim of the slave trade the more poor they are today so a counterexample is Botswana which was in in the interior of Africa and safe from the slave traders and Botswana is one of the most prosperous Kingdom countries in Africa today and has had one of the fastest growth rates over the past 50 years so the pattern is simple that the there is a local oppressor but the main cause of the local oppression is the Western Western powers intervening in Africa so now let's go to the next phase of of Africa's history which is you know eventually people persuaded European powers to end the slave trade and in that of course played a very important part the resistance of the slaves themselves in ending the slave trade and so he moved into only a slightly more benevolent phase called colonialism which lasted from the 1800's to nine around 1960 when most African states became independent now again a pattern of colonialism that is not that well known is that once again the colonialists financed and put in power a group of local oppressors through a system called indirect and direct rule so for example in in Ghana one of the countries I'm listing here the Ashanti Kingdom the Ashanti Chiefs were put in power by the British during the colony of Ghana when I was called the Gold Coast but they were given even more power than they had had under before the British had arrived they were even more powerful with even fewer checks and balances on the Ashanti Chiefs what they could do as oppressors to the local people and that pattern is repeated in every one of the countries again that I've listed here Congo Ethiopia Ghana Uganda each one of them during the period of colonial rule had Chiefs sometimes the Chiefs were even invented by the the British colonialists in Uganda there were Chiefs that were just invented by the British colonialists and given absolute power they were given the power to coerce forced labor from the local some of which they did on behalf of the British but some of which they kept for themselves they were given the power to collect taxes which they paid turned over to the British but a lot they kept for themselves so once again we see the power of the combination of Western powers who are in this case where colonialists and local oppressors created by the British and by the other colonizers I was going to mention the Italian attempt to colonize Ethiopia but I'm going to skip over that for lack of time I hope you appreciate that in the Belgian Congo that was of course an even more brutal case of colonialism in which King Leopold created many atrocities in the course of colonialism but again using local oppressors as intermediaries now colonizers one of the predictions of the absence of political rights is not only that the colonizers and the local allies can do whatever they want to the local indigenous people but also that they have no incentive to do anything good for the local indigenous people so for example in the Belgian Congo at Independence there was only one to two percent of Africans in secondary school at independence in 1960 and that independence in 1960 in the Belgian Congo on June 30th 1960 there was a grand total of 17 Congolese university graduates only 17 Congolese in 1960 had a university education that's how little the colonizers had done for education during colonial rule and that's true in each one of these examples that I am giving you Congo Ethiopia Ghana Uganda again all of them denied the majority of the population the right to be mobile then our next phase of history is after the end of colonialism during the Cold War and in a more mild form we still have the pattern of a an alliance of Western powers with local oppressors so now it's the u.s. during the Cold War is supporting dictators who are allies of the u.s. against the Soviets in the war on terror so in the Congo for example the CIA was involved in a plot to assassinate the independence hero Patrice Lumumba at Independence and turned power over to a dictator that you will have heard of named oh boo to a dictator that was going to stay in power for thirty years during which his only accomplishment was to change the name of the Congo back to that old names a year I hope the Congolese appreciated that because that was his only accomplishment during his time in power while the US was supporting him as a valuable ally in the war on terror a similar story and the other examples I've given here in Ethiopia the the brutal autocrat Haile Selassie was supported by the US during the cold war Uganda was supported during the cold war in Ghana the CIA was involved in another plot to assassinate another not assassinate but overthrow in a military coup another independence hero Kwame Nkrumah and which gave who gave way to a back a long series of military dictators backed by the US during the Cold War as allies against the Soviets though it's the same pattern of Western oppression backing local oppressors and one of the examples of the denial of the right to beaumont be mobile in in ghana was the military dictators in ghana denied those who are growing cocoa which was when at one of the main avenues of upward mobility in ghana was to grow cocoa for exports and sell it on the world market ghana was the world's leading producer of cocoa but this had actually started during the british colonial times the british colonizers had insisted that the cocoa farmers sell not to the world market but to them to the british colonizers at a very low price and then the british sold it to cocoa at a much higher price to the world market and kept the profits the same pattern occurred once again under the military dictators backed by us the US during the cold war those dictators again kept in power the cocoa marketing board that had been put in place by the british and forced the cocoa farmers to sell to them at a very low price and then they were able to sell a very high-priced US enriching the government and power in their cronies and so in another very common pattern they are creating a political and economic elite äúi a local oppressor backed by the US is creating a is obviously a political elite because they are in power they also creating an economic elite by denying the majority of the population the right to make their own living taxing cocoa extremely heavily and keeping their proceeds keeping an evening economic elite and political elite alive in power at the top denying the majority the population at the bottom the right to be mobile so now finally oh and sorry the last thing I have to mention about the colonial period is about the Cold War period is Ethiopia of course was an ally in the US war on in the cold war against the Soviets and then at a certain point Haile Selassie fell from power and the Soviets and the u.s. switched places the Soviets started backing the marxist ruler who overthrew Haile Selassie and the u.s. started backing Somalia yet another example of how arbitrary was the Cold War alliances during the Cold War now we finally are going to get to the modern period I'm glad we've been able to get through five hundred years pretty quickly the modern period is the war on terror which actually started it before 9/11 it started in 1990s and here now the dictators are still receiving us the the American and the British backing but now it's no longer because of the Cold War it's because of the war on terror so Ethiopia the current regime of the dictate their dictator Melissa now II who was in power from 1991 until his death from natural causes in 2012 he received US backing in the war on terror because he was like the only Christian ruler they could find in a region surrounded by Islamic countries that the u.s. was blaming for perpetrating the war on terror even though Melissa na Wei was another brutal dictator than I'm going to describe a little bit more in a minute in Uganda I've already mentioned that Museveni was a major ally in the war on terror so we connect the threads once again from going back to the slave trade up to the present uganda mu-7 a is today in power partly because he's such a valuable US ally in the war on terror Ugandan troops for example are involved in Somalia in fighting the what the u.s. views as terrorist forces in Somalia and so that's an excuse to overlook those abuses that I mentioned at the beginning that even if you take farmers land and crops at gunpoint the US will not care because the Ugandan dictator is available valuable ally and a war on terror so that ends the history lesson and now we're going to start talking about today and yet even today we'll have a little bit of a history lesson what's up the other thing that's unusual about this history is that even though I've described a sort of five five centuries of Western oppression at many points along the way there were also Western humanitarians who justified what was happening in the name of humanitarian economic development so we've seen that pattern already and I mentioned at the beginning that the World Bank that the world's leading humanitarian development agency was involved in a project that led to that forced dispossession of Ugandan farmers that I mentioned at the beginning but now I'm going to give you a a slight historical example that this pattern actually did start during colonialism there is a british colonial official named lord haley who is a genius at justifying colonial rule as not actually about oppression and exploitation and british power and acting in the interests of the british but he would tried to convince the world somewhat successfully that the british empire was a force for good for humanitarian good for doing good things to end the material poverty of africans where the british empire was operating this official Lord Halley he justified colonial rule as necessary to achieve the end of poverty and he said that had to happen first before the end of colonialism he said quote political liberties are meaningless unless they can be built up on a better foundation of social and economic progress now decoded that means please forget your rights to be independent of British colonial rule until colonial rule is finished with you lifting you out of poverty and his justification for colonial rule was that the British were part of what he called a movement this is a quote a movement for the betterment of the backward peoples of the world that litter that language sounds very condescending and racist and it was today we would say movement for the development of the underdeveloped countries this is how Lord Halley justified colonialism and we see some of these themes recurring again today today there are many humanitarian justifications for supporting dictators because it is believed that dictators may be the best the best route to implement quickly technical solutions to poverty to lift Africans out of poverty let me give you a kind of comparison so there was a report that after that Lord Halley the British colonial official that I mentioned was the head of in 1938 it was called the African survey a very kind of neutral neutral name for this this attempt to solve African poverty and here on the on the left hand on the columns over here on the left are the different problems that the British colonial rule was trying to solve and they suggested these specific technical solutions so for example from malaria there's a chemical called pyrethrum that you can spray on the indoors of on the walls of people's houses to kill the mosquitoes and prevent malaria now what's interesting about this is these recommendations match up exactly with the United Nations report that was done 70 years later in 2005 which once again about malaria mentioned the spraying of pyrethroids the same chemical on the indoor walls of houses to kill the mosquitoes to prevent malaria the United Nations report I've said the African survey was done by Lord Halley the United Nations report was done by someone who may have heard heard of named Jeffrey Sachs anybody here heard of Jeffrey Sachs yes he was working with some other well-known development economist named Bono and an even more famous development economist that I admire named Angelina Jolie so they together collaborated and found the same technical solutions that the British had found 70 years ago so this is the essence of what mr. Fubini thank you very much for the kind introduction and the exposition that you gave of the books point this is the essence of what we could call this technocratic approach that pretends that poverty is about technical solutions and that ignores the political roots of poverty that I've described you today it ignores them how well does that approach work well it didn't work during colonial times it isn't working today as you can see from the fact that the problems have remained unchanged over 70 years the problems are the same the technical solutions are the same so apparently look very little progress has been made during the technocratic regime of attempting technical solutions without addressing the political roots the denial of the right to be mobile during 70 years and so here we see that the technocratic approach is not the most promising that we really cannot be silent about the political roots of poverty now another another humanitarian unexpected at humanitarian who gave justification today for sort of technocratic approaches that endorsed autocrats endorsed local oppressors and overlooked the political roots of poverty as another man you may have heard of named Bill Gates Bill Gates praised the Ethiopian government who said he praised MELAS and aoi the Ethiopian dictator for setting clear goals this is a quote from gates setting quote clear goals measuring results and then using those measurements to continually refine our approach the approach is completely technical and completely ignores the political roots of poverty Gates said that this quote helps us to deliver tools and services to everybody who will benefits Gates's foundation has spent 265 million dollars in Ethiopia and during that whole time he said that he had quote a great working relationship with with Meles Zenawi he said medicine now ease policies have made real progress in helping the people of Ethiopia and even after MELAS died and that from natural causes in 2012 I confess I was really sad when MELAS died because he was my favorite example of a technocratic dictator that was loved by the West's I was very sorrowful that he died I sent flowers to his funeral but gates gave even stronger praise to MELAS after he died saying that his thoughtfulness and knowledge had transformed Ethiopia and he praised his equally dictatorial successor named Haile Mariam for his commitment to continuing the same policies at Meles Zenawi now how how benevolent how successful really was melis and owie well I have to give you a whole nother story of denying farmers the right to their own land which happened in Ethiopia so we have one story that began this talk in Uganda we have another story that it happened on normal is an owwie in Ethiopia a very courageous farmer who because of his fear of being tortured by the Ethiopian government it would only go under the name mr. Oh mr. Sood the British government because the British government had given aid to the Ethiopian government for a project known as village ization the British aid agency and the US aid agency and the World Bank had all supported a village ization in the southern region of gam Bela in Ethiopia under Melissa now II which again took land away at gunpoint from farmers and resettled them against their will in government villages that lacked basic services so the same pattern keeps recurring across the centuries of western-backed local oppressors denying rights to Africans denying Africans the right to be mobile and of course another another symptom of this denial of the right to be mobile is that African migrants are fleeing the lands where they're oppressed and cut trying to come to Europe to lands that I have less oppressive rulers to try to find freedom in Europe now this has been an unhappy story so far I'm sorry about that it's been sad it's been unhappy I've criticized a lot of people I want to review some of the people I've criticized here here is a picture of Lord Haley the man who gave a humanitarian justification for British colonialism here is Bill Gates and then here are some of the prominent development economists that I've criticized I really admire them a lot more than I admire Bill Gates but the good news there's there's better news on the horizon all of these guys were unintentional allies of the status quo of western-backed oppression in Africa the better news is that Africans themselves are rebelling against this oppression there's a new book called Africa uprising I want to also give advertisements to other books besides my own book is a great book called Africa uprising which has documented in more than 90 political protests in 40 African countries in the past decade most in the past six years their main aim is simply to overthrow their corrupt dictatorial their corrupt dictators that are oppressing them so for example in Congo there was a major demonstration just recently in which people took to the streets of Kinshasa to try to get out of power the ruler that isn't still in power distill the dictator in Congo in the one country you may have noticed that during the final stage of the war on terror there is one country that was left out Ghana that had this unhappy history under the slave trade it had an unhappy history under colonialism at an unhappy history during the cold war but since then it's had a much happier history the the farmers of Ghana eventually resisted having their cocoa profits taxed away they were finally won back for themselves the right to be mobile and political resistors democracy activists and in Ghana they won the right to have a democracy Ghana had its first competitive fair election in the year 2000 since then it has had four free and fair competitive elections in Ghana and Ghana I'm happy to say is growing very fast out of poverty partly as a result of the upsurge of economic and political freedom that has come to Ghana this is a pattern that goes on throughout the continent if you look at the picture in 1988 and compare it to the picture in 2012 in 1988 there had only been two African countries that were classified as politically free by the advocacy organization Freedom House that I'm calling here the red bar Democrats in 1988 there were 31 African dictators that we had that received the worst possible rating from Freedom House in 2012 the most recent data I had when I wrote this the number of dictators had been reduced from 31 to 11 the worst kind of dictators with the worst possible rating and today the number of Democrats has increased from 2 to 11 so there is progress throughout Africa and as I just told you there's continuing protests seeking for more progress so the conclusion to this talk is very simple what kind of human eteri n people in the West who care about Africans being denied the right to be mobile the right to get out of poverty the right to get out of the bottom of the world income distribution what can we do we can protest against our own governments who are supporting local dictators for political reasons for the political reasons than the US and the UK of the war on terror for other foreign policy reasons we can protest our own eight agencies when they themselves directly violate the rights of poor people as they did in the stories I told you in Uganda in Ethiopia and we can be on the side of the people of Africa who are companding for their own right to be mobile the right to be free the right to be free at last free at last free at last thank you very much professor instantly gratzel a dip thank you very much professor easterly thank you for your great presentation I think we have some 15-20 minutes for our Q&A session now I think I have a great privilege I have my other mic myself so I'd like to ask a question myself if I may at some point in your book you say you're against what you refer to as the divorce between development economy and economy . you think that the laws of development economy should be the same laws governing economic growth in any other country industrialized countries included based on that my question is the following you've worked at length on the technocratic approach so I'd like to ask you whether you think that the difficulties of Greece this present point in time are somehow due to the fact that the approach to the Greek issues have been based on technocracy more than anything not considering the Preferences of Greek citizens I'm asking you this question because the Greeks just took their vote and the Parliament the Parliament of other European countries that provided funding degrees cast their votes as well to grant Greece some aid on certain conditions so this is my question what do you think about that so Greece is a good example of technocrats the how do we define technocrats what do we what would be the difference between an expert who is tyrannical part of the tyranny of experts and someone who could be a good expert who could be useful I think the difference is that the the technocrats the tyrannical experts have no accountability to the people whose advice there are giving to effect who's the people who they are affecting with their expert advice so that's the example of a tyranny of experts that are not accountable to the people they are affecting and that has been the historical pattern that I showed you during colonial rule during the rule of the modern era when the US for political reasons was backing dictators in Ethiopia and Uganda so in a more mild form you could say the same problem exists in Greece that there are external technocrats who are imposing by coercion on Greece advice whose consequences the technocratic experts don't have to bear the technocrats have they they bear no responsibility if they give the wrong advice that's the this this number the the problem at the heart of technocracy is the technocrats they don't suffer any negative consequences if they give bad advice that has disastrous consequences for the people they're affecting and so that you could argue is indeed the situation in Greece and so we do indeed have a situation of a sort of tyranny of experts una dama and aqua in Apprendi hey things I think we can take a couple of questions all together I have two questions you say that there are exogenous political reasons which cause under development and likeness of social mobile mobility I would like to ask you whether there are also endogenous cultural reasons another question I would you are speaking about European colonization I would like to ask you it Greece is in this situation is Ottoman imperialism and colonization accountable because you are speaking only about European colonization or if Sicily is in this situation is it because of Arab colonization thank you okay these are two very capably no no I can they invite you to make questions rather than to make comments oh thank you very much for question anyway but please ask questions or not do not make comments perfectly easterly you quoted two episodes of these possessions do you think that an important right is that of a private ownership the ownership of land in the countries you refer to do you think that that is important right and then do you think that the put the programs on the way are potentially dangerous demanded yet have a Domino's data we've got time for one last question can you please stand up otherwise we won't see you thank you I have a question you probably asked quite often but still what do you think are the main consequences of rising presence of China in Africa where if you can elaborate on that a little bit thank you very much okay thank you thank you for these very interesting questions so at the beginning the two very interesting questions about first about culture so cold I definitely believe culture is a factor in economic development part of the culture that recognizes the individuals ability to be - not to conform to the majority to protest what the majority is doing to be there to be a dissident to be often an innovator and inventor that's a very important value for creating innovation and for adapting foreign technology to be have a culture of individualism and dissent that allows for individual creativity I believe that's a very important root of development but I believe culture actually interacts very much with a history of autocratic oppression with a history of oppression so the way they interact is that and this actually is another thing that has been a great advance in economics is the whole the whole advance in the economics of culture so my colleague at NYU Alberto be seen a great Italian economist has done some some great work on this and points out that the kind of value cultural values that parents teach to their children is affected by the environment in which they find themselves so if they are in an oppressive environment with a dictator supported by foreign powers where they know that any dissent will be punished with a jail term they will not teach their kids the values of individualism because they don't want their kids to rebelled against the local of power the local autocrats of local dictator because rebellion non-conformism individualism means a life of misery in jail and exile and all those bad things so the environment the autocratic environment is itself one of the causes of culture de-emphasizing suppressing individualism and stressing obedience to Authority instead of individualism so in that way culture and a history of oppression they interact and feed on each other in a vicious circle of oppression and obedience to Authority on one hand or on the other hand you can have a virtuous circle of freedom and creativity the culture of creativity then on your second question so I'm glad you gave me an opportunity to correct the perception that I'm just talking about the Europeans as always being the bad guys the reality is it's not any one people that is disposed to be the bad guys oppression is a crime of opportunity it was simply because the Europeans had more powerful military technology than did Africans that they had the opportunity to perpetrate the slave trade they had the opportunity to perpetrate colonialism because they had more powerful military technology it was that structural opportunity that led to its the slave trade in colonialism and but the Europeans were not the only ones that had that structural advantage I mentioned that there was also an Arab slave trade the Ottoman Empire was involved and some of the oppression of slaves from Ethiopia and so you know it's it's not like Europeans are the unique bad guys in the world today there are many bad guys but I the theory of economists is that oppressors are those who have the opportunity to oppress which oppression pays off with very large profits so what we need to do is change that environment take away the profit opportunities for oppression take away two political rewards for oppression that's why it's so important that all of us who live in Western government Western countries who see our own government supporting with foreign aid and military aid local oppressors that we protest against our own governments and we change their political incentives of our own leaders so that they will lose the next election if they perpetrate oppression of other people the question about dispossession private private property rights yes I believe that is a very important right that it's part of the whole structure of Rights I think rights need to be understood as a kind of unified package I think what happens sometimes is that because of political debates between right and left the left wants to emphasize some rights more than others the right wants to emphasize other rights more than others that there's some selectivity and in whose what are your favorite rights and what are your less favorite rights I want to kind of do away with any favoritism towards rights and give just as much prominence to political rights the rights to protest the rights to demand justice for the poor as to economic rights like property rights and property rights should not be seen I think they are seen incorrectly as something that I wanted for the rich the rich can usually assure their own property rights because they have bought off the police in the military to protect their own property rights like I said there's this entrenched political and economic elite that protects itself at the top the people who really need the constitutional legal protection of property rights are the poor that the government and the elite will not be allowed to take away their lands because the land is one of their vehicles of upward mobility to be able to accumulate your own land to buy more land to build a better house to invest more in the soil fertility of your own of your own agricultural plots these are vehicles for upward mobility for the poor and they are denied when the poor denied their own they're on property rights and then lastly China and Africa I actually play a little game that after every talk I write I write a little note to my say self saying one of the questions will be about China and the prediction has always confirmed so thank you for thank you for confirming that so China we could talk about it also you might sometimes people raise it as what they think is an example of an authoritarian power that achieved developments through autocrat very very dictatorial means I'm willing to try to debate you on that that question if you have that question that's a separate question I think what you were asking about is China intervening in Africa which China is also again there is nothing unique about Europeans and being the bad guys your China is also backing local oppressors in Africa for its own selfish reasons to get awards for Chinese companies in Chinese Chinese often Chinese state-owned companies to get large awards for construction projects that are sponsored by the local oppressors and so the Chinese are also complicit in the oppression of Africans and so we have sort of a worldwide theme that all of us anywhere in the world Asia Europe Africa North and South America the unified theme is if we all care about the majority of Africans we should all have opposed our own rulers from being complicit in the oppression of Africans from denying them the right to be mobile you had say say little man this one is shipping at the tray maybe we can take three more questions if you raise short question one in the front one in the back please scientist I would like also to say the quality of democracy is very important and one has to push for more of that because local elites can also subvert democracy but also outside forces can subvert democracy and trade agreements by the European Union with Africa is doing like that in Ghana for example it's very difficult to have tomato processing they are swarmed by tomato canned tomatoes from Italy basically and it is because of these trade agreements hard it possible for them now to start their own processing industry okay okay go but thank you thank you very much for your passion contribution and your plea for democracy my question is you know what comes first development or democracy there are there economists divided into two you know positions some of them think that you need first development to then get to a democratic political situation and in another part of the economies like assumable for instance things the contrary seems to me that you are standing more with the the second the second group of economists second question is independent what happens and how much we protest against our governments there will be a lot of development assistance money given to developing countries so what do we do with this morning I mean it seems to me that those young economists that mr. fabrini was mentioning in the beginning are trying to say let's you know use it in an efficient way so would you be in favor of pulling out all this money from developing countries or you know would you draw the part of the those that say let's use them efficiently even though that's a technocratic approach a queen pronoun Philomena you you didn't give a judgment in general on the effectiveness of of development official assistance and I wonder whether you see any reliability in suggestions such as cash on delivery that is subjecting official aid to concrete measurement of outcomes like vaccination enrollment of people in the grammar school etc because this is so to speak the the good side of attempts of the Western world to do something to against the against poverty these are in this world thank thank you for these great questions so on the first question on the quality of democracy so one thing I want to make clear at the beginning is I'm not I'm not suggesting democracy as some instant utopia that solves all the problems immediately it's a very long process to get from dictatorship to democracy and none of us can afford to be self-righteous and say our society is already there it's obviously none of our societies are already at full democracy at full vision of Rights for the poor it's a very long gradual process you mentioned one of the problems is with the idea that outside forces back local oppressors is that outside forces could also subvert democracy that is more likely to happen in a more imperfect democracy in which there is some corruption in which outside outside powers like the US could use you know US dollars to sort of bribe local officials to support US interests that's another pattern that sort of goes back to the Cold War actually there's one one aspect of the CIA interventions that I did not mention I actually was involved in a paper with someone again with Nathan none is a great empirical development researcher and Schanker South unit at NYU that found that CIA regime changed not only not only served u.s. foreign policy it also had a positive effect on the sales of US companies we found in our paper this sounds like a conspiracy theory in the u.s. I'm almost embarrassed to be telling you that I have a paper published in the American Economic Review supporting this view that Lenin was right about imperialism imperialism does sometimes service the interests of Western capital in this case it did not in a much more modest way than London headed in mind that that Western intervention regime change has the effect of increasing US exports to the new regime that comes into power afterwards so that's a pattern that is much more severe under autocracy than it is under democracy and if it does happen on our democracy it's some problem of local corruption that is going to be cleaned away eventually in the process of of transition to being a complete full democracy then the question what comes first development or democracy that's been the the the big the big question for develop in development for a long time and so I'm going to start off saying something kind of insulting and unfair the the inventor of the idea that development comes first before democracy was actually the guy I've already told you about Lord Haley under British colonialism this was an argument that was extremely popular in colonial times that please let us the british colonial empire develop you first and then later we might think about giving you independence it the british at that time during lord Haley's time in office actually thought it was their Empire was going to go on for centuries they didn't know that the Africans were going to resist so much and and achieve their own independence so of course the reason that's unfair is just just because the colonizers embraced that idea does not automatically say that idea is wrong it could be a good idea that it just happened to be held by the wrong people so the true state of affairs I think on this is that we really don't know what comes first development or democracy but let me tell you a couple of things that suggest that we should be more open to democracy first of all remember what happened in our own our own history of those of you in the audience from Italy those of you from the United States from the United Kingdom all of us were roughly at to take my country the US for example the u.s. and 1776 when Thomas Jefferson was writing all men are created equal and have the right to choose life liberty and the pursuit of happiness at that time Americans were at the same level or a lower level than Africa today and yet democracy did come first in the u.s. so don't forget that example when you're thinking about which comes first and the and other similar European examples in which really democracy came first before development and then the other thing that I would ask you to remember is who should this is really an argument between two sides in which there is no let me admit there is no airtight evidentiary case for either side about which comes first development of democracy but which side should bear the burden of proof we think of freedom our right not to be jailed our right not to have our land taken away at gunpoint we think of those freedoms those rights as a good thing in and of themselves and it so you know we whereas nobody talks about dictators about autocracy is a good thing in and of itself they only justify it as something that is a means to an end may be a means to develop many means to poverty alleviation so the what follows from that is the dictator should bear the burden of proof they should be they should bear the burden of proof of proving that they will be able to deliver our material gains that that will compensate you for the denial that they are making to you of your political liberties of your rights and my reading of the evidence is they do not meet that burden of proof in fact there's much more evidence against them than there is for them I think another symptom of this is that again taking my own country there are lots of American development experts who talk about maybe maybe you know dictatorship is better for achieving material gains in other countries but there are no American experience experts that I know about that say dictatorship would be better for achieving gains for American citizens at home why do we have a double standard that we want dictators for other countries but not for our own country I think it's again I think there's some hypocrisy in these arguments that we experts are recommending dictators for other countries but not for ourselves then the the last question that's another kind of game that I play with myself on giving giving talks is that I I know that the discussion at the end will come to the question and what do we do about eight so I actually did prepare a slide for you what do we do about AIDS here's my five-point plan for reforming aid and correcting every single problem in foreign aid here's this slide this is the slide that I I this is really the slide this it's not a joke this is my plan you don't like my plan it's just why it you don't like it what's wrong I think I will talk a little bit in a moment about little things we can do about aids that might make things better but frankly the reason this question comes up most of the time and development is that people in the aid business are so desperate to change the subjects I want to talk about democracy and rights of the poor and they don't and they want to change the subject and ask me instead or ask any of us who talk about democracy and rights they want to change the subject to what should we do about aids how should we redraw the organization charter the World Bank should the World Bank make a conditional on democracy I don't think so I think that's would backfire should the u.s. invade other countries to impose democracy no I don't think so I think that backfires I think it's kind of ridiculous to say we're going to coerce other people to have the right to be uncoerced so we have to keep the subject where it is that we you have to allow some of us to talk about democracy and not about eight eight is a very small player in the big if we distinguish between aid and development development as the transformation of whole societies out of poverty into prosperity aid are some of the little good things that you can do for specific groups of poor people and I'm totally in favor of those I'm in favor of all the humanitarian relief projects that do that treat people with malaria that cure diseases that that that give clean water or that make medicines available those things are good but they are not development development is not caused by by foreign aid it's caused by the homegrown efforts of poor people themselves asserting their own political and economic rights and responding to their rights to invest in their own futures we need to have a less condescending Britain more respectful vision of the dignity of poor people that they themselves are the agents of change in their own futures determining their own destiny once we recognize and once we insist that our own government stop backing their own local oppressors and we all recognize worldwide the right of Africans everywhere to be free their right to be mobile thank you very much