I highlighted a lot of this. Balanced, presents opposing views and acknowledges where own argument is weak. Very readable, including gems like “In fact, it was not the first time in history that it was the first time in history.” Worth a read if you’re into development.

Basic idea: “The technocratic approach ignores what this book will establish as the real cause of poverty—the unchecked power of the state against poor people without rights.” “Morally neutral approaches to poverty do not exist. Any approach to development will either respect the rights of the poor or it will violate them. One cannot avoid this moral choice by appealing to “nonideological evidence-based policies” (a popular phrase in development today).” “King’s dream was that blacks would be able to say they were “free at last.” He did not first require an expert plan to make blacks “middle class at last.” “To a man in Uganda freedom just means “I do whatever I want with my cow.”

Entertaining jabs at technocrats: “The development audience gets excited about farmers in a remote but wired village finding out prices in real time for their crops. It fails to ask whether those farmers have motor vehicles to transport the crops to the market to get that price.” “They promised to end poverty with broadband and they gave us young men watching porn.”

Cover image for The tyranny of experts