[Marxism] An American Passion for Tyrants by David Rieff | The New York Review of Books

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jun 12 06:23:42 MDT 2014

It is one of the great merits of Easterly’s book that he documents in 
great and convincing detail the tyrannical and repressive record not 
just of Ethiopia but of other regimes that have long been and remain the 
darlings of the development world. In doing so, he uncovers some 
extraordinary facts, such as that the World Bank is, by its own account, 
not legally allowed by its charter to use the word “democracy.” That the 
bank is committed to carrying out its slogan, “Working for a world free 
of poverty,” is not in doubt.

But, Easterly charges, it has been blindly trying to do so without 
thinking through the relation of successful and sustainable development, 
not just to what it calls “implementing the strengthened approach to 
governance,” but to the relation between development and democracy, and 
development and individual rights. As he notes acidly, “the following 
concepts play little or no role in the ‘strengthened approach to 
governance’: liberty, freedom, equality, rights, or democracy.” And the 
same can be said about the Gates Foundation and many of the other 
powerful institutions, whether international, national, or 
philanthropic, that currently set the global development agenda.


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