|What development professionals say|
The Economist’s Tale by Peter Griffiths
"As a World Bank employee for 16 years I observed some of the same bureaucratic obtuseness you describe. But you describe it so precisely and with such careful analysis of the Sierra Leone situation, I am amazed. Congratulations on a great book."
This book is unique . . . a first-hand, grass-roots account of an experienced aid worker struggling to defend a developing country's people against the corruption of its leaders and the ideological ineptitude. . . . Insider details about life in Sierra Leone enrich the book and provide an immediacy and human quality rare in this literature. Mark Tauger, Professor of History West Virginia University
A vivid and courageously honest exposé of the real world of ... consultancy. A devastating critique …. Compulsive reading and a remarkable case study for students of development, business and social science CODEP
Those who have served in aid agencies in developing countries will be very familiar with Griffiths' account of the interaction with government officials and other aid workers, discussion within the expatriate community, and corruption in high places. They will have observed the power of the World Bank .D.J. Shaw, Development Policy Review, 2004, 22 (3): 343-355. (D.J. Shaw was formerly Economic Adviser and Chief, Policy Affairs Service, UN World Food Programme, and consultant to the Commonwealth Secretariat, FAO and the World Bank.)
“Are we brave enough to admit, as one international agricultural consultant did, that 'it is individuals who cause poverty, underdevelopment and famine, by their actions, by their failure to act, and by their failure to speak up (Griffiths).” Alejandro Bendaña Development 47, 22-26.
The foreign aid community plays the villain in this important book. Peter Griffiths tells an engrossing tale of his work as a consultant to the government . . . COUNTRYRISK.COM REVIEW
This is a light read, but a serious story entertainingly told. . . .This is a good book. . . . I will add it to the reading list of my Masters module on Development Policy Analysis, as a clear and readable case study of why economic policy so often fails to deliver. Oliver Morrissey, University of Nottingham in Journal of International Development
. . . insight to the interplay of politics, greed, and economics. This book can be appreciated on many levels: as a thrilling novel, as a courageous expose, and as a parable of our times. Lakeesha Ransom, University of Minnesota
“Go read it. Read it now. It is one of the most important posts you will ever read.
My father worked in aid and overseas for years - including for the FAO, who do indeed often act exactly as stupidly and self-interestedly as that article suggests. I spent a good chunk of my childhood in third world countries and I listened to aid workers throughout my childhood.
What is recounted is simply the way things work - except that he managed to pull it out. Most of the time, they don't pull it out. Most of the time you get canned for saying things you aren't supposed to say. Most of the time if you oppose the development shibboleth of the day - whether it's free markets, petroloans or dams - you're out.
And people will die.” Ian Welsh in Crooked Timber
“The book is a detailed case study of what Griffiths did when he was working for the government of Sierra Leone during a period when the World Bank suddenly got the free market religion. It’s a fantastic read.
So read it.” jamie kenny | Permalink
Changed my understanding of third world poverty,
“This is an absolutely riveting book. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in globalization, poverty, and the real world constraints that often prevent idealistic anti-poverty efforts from succeeding. I can't recommend it highly enough.” Amazon reviewer
Griffiths' book should be read. The Westerners are finally talking. We should listen, because this is one way of gaining the understanding that it is not ALL our fault. Rosemary Ekosso http://www.ekosso.com/2006/07/review_the_econ.htmla
It's an excellent book. . . Recommended to anyone who's interested in development economics, Africa, politics, food, globalization, the World Bank, racism, colonialism, and any of the other ways that people end up treating people the way they do. William Whyte (Somerville, MA)
“A vivid and courageously honest exposé of the real world of international aid and consultancy . . .A devastating critique . . . Compulsive reading and a remarkable case study . . .” Conflict, Development and Peace network
gripping on-the-ground accounts of the misadventures of foreigners in poor countries, like Peter Griffiths's story of Sierra Leone in The Economist's Tale (Zed Books). Francis Fukuyama
The Economist’s Tale – A Consultant encounters hunger and the World Bank (Zed Books London)
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"Something just like that happened to me on my last job" - comment by several anonymous aid workers