William Easterly has a post today on Aidwatch entitled “How to respond to a bad government in someone else’s country?” He was criticized for being critical of Ethiopia’s government, and offers up as his defense the distinction between talk and action. He even drew a nice little chart for us!
This chart is unbelievable useless, except for teaching about how incredibly narrow-minded the economics profession has truly become. The chart merely assumes that criticism of tyranny can only possibly come from a libertarian, free-market perspective.
Moreover, Easterly says that he does not want to “socially re-engineer someone else’s society based on those values,” but in my understanding of his arguments, that is in fact exactly what a libertarian perspective hopes to do. Re-engineer society with free markets, even if that means supplanting traditional institutions (such as extended family, religious, clan, etc.) which could in fact be some of the most useful vehicles for economic development in these countries.