A conservative critique of the MDGs

In: Uncategorized

16 Dec 2007

William Easterly, perhaps the world’s best-known conservative development economist, has written a critique of the millennium development goals (MDGs) as they apply to Africa. In his view the goals are constructed in an arbitrary way which leads to an underestimation of Africa’s development progress. For example, the 1990s was a bad decade for Africa yet, although the MDGs were officially declared in 2000, the targets are backdated to 1990. Therefore Africa starts at a disadvantage as a result of an arbitrary statistical decision.

Easterly makes some useful points but it is a pity that most criticisms of the MDGs come from the right. The idea that the goals embody and reinforce a climate of low expectations in relation to development is rarely made outside of spiked or Worldwrite.