Chris Blattman, who teaches poli sci and econ at Yale, has a good post on his blog today. He quotes a writer from The Guardian saying that the development paradigm of the 20th century has run out of steam, then refutes him. It’s a good summary of the argument development optimists (mostly economists) make against development pessimists (mostly ecologists or humanitarians). What stands out in this argument, as usual, is that pessimists aren’t familiar with what’s happening from the point of view of macro-economics. The world economy is growing fast, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty. The percentage, if not the absolute number, of people who go poor and hungry is down. Of course, this could be the giddy feeling one has halfway down from a plunge off a cliff. Pessimists can argue that, especially with the specter of global warming haunting everything. But at least give the optimists their due: life has become better for a lot of people.
Optimists vs. Pessimists