Steven Radelet (Western Samoa 1981-83) holds the Donald F. McHenry Chair in Global Human Development at Georgetown University, is an economic adviser to the president of Liberia, and the author of Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries Are Leading the Way.
He has just written a new book, The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World, published last month, that takes the position that “never before have so many people in so many developing countries made this much progress.” His book states that since the end of the Cold War, the development of new technologies, globalization, courageous local leadership, and, in some cases, good fortune have combined to dramatically improve the fate of hundred of millions of people in poor countries around the world.
Early in his book, Radelet quotes another famous Peace Corps writer, Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65), who declared in 2013 in a piece for Barron’s that “I can testify that Africa is much worse off than when I first went there fifty years ago to teach English: poorer, sicker, less educated, and more badly governed.” Steve, who has spent thirty years working in developing countries around the world, writes back: “The easily obtainable evidence shows the opposite: Africa today, on the whole, is less poor, less sick, better educated, and better governed.”
Read The Great Surge and see who is right.
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