Think, Read, and Write: Jeffrey Sachs on the Millennium Villages Project
By Amy Willis
Hello! I’m Amy Willis, and I’m a Fellow at Liberty Fund, the host of the Library of Economics and Liberty, and I work with Russ and the other fine folks at Econlib.
As Russ mentioned, we want to provide more opportunities for you to engage with our content, each other, us, and people we’ve yet to know. To that end, here are some questions for your consideration based on this week’s episode with Jeffrey Sachs. We’d love it if you posted your responses in the comments, shared them on social media, used them in your classroom, used them to spark a conversation at the dinner table…well, you get the idea.
1. What are the goals the MVP project aspires to, and what does Sachs believe makes them different from other programs aimed at alleviating poverty?To what extent does Sachs convince you that this strategy will be more effective than its predecessors?
2. Roberts cites a Lancet article that raised questions about the effectiveness of the MVP programs. What was the basis of the criticism, and how does Sachs counter?
3. Roberts questions whether smaller, more narrowly targeted programs might be more effective for given problems (such as malaria) than Sachs’ approach. Why does Roberts suggest such efforts might be more successful, and to what extent do you agree?
4. Throughout, Roberts argues that top-down approaches to aid are less desirable. Yet he and Sachs seem to disagree regarding what exactly constitutes a top-down approach, and whether the MVP initiatives would qualify as such. In particular, Russ challenges Sachs on the initiative which introduced maize (also discussed in the Nina Munk episode). Sachs replies that, “You could have said the same thing…about malaria nets.” What does he mean by this, and to what extent do you agree with Sachs?