Plans for Irish Economic Recovery: U2 Edition

William Easterly reports on a plan to help a small but symbolically important part of the Irish economy. I particularly liked the fourth suggestion.

10 replies on “Plans for Irish Economic Recovery: U2 Edition”

Easterly has been doing a good job of getting people off pedestals and making them accountable. The problem with parodies like this though is that it gives lazy people an easy way of making their mind up about complex issues. In terms of point 4, the use of randomisation and subjective measures is now for better or worse the cutting edge of economics. See Angus Deaton’s thoughtful but forceful critique from earlier in the year. Guido Imbens reply to this is below that. People should start reading some of this debate before coming to a conclusion about how to evaluate development programmes. Indeed, this is a debate how economics and econometric testing should inform policy in general. We had lectures here this year by people like Heckman, Angrist and others who are leading thinkers in this debate. The issues are not simple. I will post at another stage about well-being measures. If you are reading this and still at the “oh happiness stuff is hippy nonsense” then you are missing an enormous amount of what’s happening in modern economics.

i don’t think Easterly does this type of stuff to make people laugh to be honest Kevin. The message underlying his jabs are usually quite important if you think about them. in this case, he is making a number of statements about how aid programmes are designed and evaluated that are worth thinking about in the context of the wider debates. its actually more interesting as an intro to this debate than it is funny as a joke.

Easterly has articulated his substantive views many times in his blog and in places like journals (remember them?). In this case, he is not making a statement about aid programs or anything else. It is just a whimsical piece, no more, no less. Of course there is an edge to it (no pun intended) as there is to a lot of humour.

What is interesting is the Chinese presence in Africa. This has shaken up US ideas about the place. Keeping it poor means that extracting minerals is cheaper. A few guns make all the difference, especially if only one tribe is armed. Division is the way to exploit people and Africa.

The Han do not see it that way. They take a longer term view. Competition for resources can enrich those who control them.

What sometimes startles people is that Americans of African descent play such a poor role, except for presidential hopeful, Oprah ……..

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