Jeffrey Sachs: The RSM of African Interventionism

Back in the winter,i just a few weeks after Russ Roberts interviewed Nina Munk on EconTalk, my book club read Ms. Munk’s “The Idealist,” a reflection on the work of Jeffrey Sachsii and his Millennium Villages Project. The MVP was “a $120 million demonstration project intended to show the world that it’s possible to lift African villages out of poverty through a massive infusion of targeted assistance.”iii Munk thoroughly trounced Sachs. And rightly so. Dude needs his head checked. Over the usual bottles of wine, our little club of doctors, engineers, teachers… and I discussed the many shortcomings of interventionism and progressivism. It was a lovely evening, as they so regularly are.

And given that Bitcoin is the world-eater, and that it’s nowhere more at home than IRC, it should come as no surprise that Sachs’ notoriety eventually leaked its way into this little corner of the world; the never-ending book club that is #bitcoin-assets:

decimation: “Of these speakers, Jeffrey Sachs, leading international economic adviser and director of the Earth Institute, is the most articulate in his explicit admission that we must follow the ideology of diversity regardless of what the scientific evidence says.”
decimation: mircea, in many US states it is illeagal to record conversations without both party’s explict permission
asciilifeform: (the cpp version thereof)
mircea_popescu: decimation well yes.
decimation: the primary purpose of such laws is to protect corrupt politicians from being exposed, of course
mircea_popescu: in those same other states it’s illegal to present yourself as a “leading international adviser” while you’re a sort of rsm.iv 

decimation: rsm ? 
mircea_popescu: !sv from:rsm
assbot: 5 results for ‘from:rsm’ :
decimation: are you proposing that Professor Sachs belongs in the same category as bitcoin scammers?vi
mircea_popescu: i do, yes. what’s he done ? i mean other than running the markov chainvii apparatus of opinion.
decimation: actually I think that’s kind of an insult to the scammers. at least they ran some risk, he just collects his tenure pay
mircea_popescu: notrly. they don’t run any risk if they can help it. and besides, he was young once, he ran the risk of no tenure. a very bad risk, from what i hear.

decimation: true. getting tenure in the us university is a nightmare, from what I’ve heard. In fact his entire behavior seems perfectly consistant with your quote from ascii’s link
mircea_popescu: actually, i will readily PROVE to you he’s exactly in the same category.
mircea_popescu: know what this is ?
decimation: interestingly it pops up in a link on the last pscyhiactrist’s blog
mircea_popescu: interestingly, it’s his donation address. with 6 bitcents in it. tlp makes less than trilema. that’s my proof sachs = rsm. acceptable ?

RagnarDanneskjol: Sachs is the Bono of economics – LOL

decimation: so to be clear, you are pointing out that someone who actually has original thoughts has a few bitcents, while sachs is raking in the speaking fees?
mircea_popescu: no. i am pointing out that someone whose brain works quite well but who wastes his time THERE rather than hire makes piddly squat. and the THERE is the there of sachs.
mircea_popescu: s/hire/here, apparently dyslexia is contagious
mircea_popescu: so, the argument goes, invest your btc with rsm, 4% left in three years. or invest your intelligence with the bezzle, 4% left in thirty years ? in the end, the fuck’s the difference.


mircea_popescu:So what went wrong? For one thing, the villages that Sachs picked experienced all kinds of problems ? from drought to political unrest. For another, the MVP took an idealistic ?Field of Dreams? approach. MVP leaders encouraged farmers to switch to a series of new crops that were in demand in richer countries, and experts on the ground did a good job of helping farmers to produce good crop yields by using fertiliser, irrigation, and better seeds. But the MVP didn?t simultaneously invest in developing markets for these crops. According to Munk, Pineapple couldn’t be exported after all, because the cost of transport was far too high. There was no market for ginger, apparently. And, despite some early interest from buyers in Japan, no one wanted banana flour? The farmers grew the crops, but the buyers didn’t come.”viii
mircea_popescu: ahjahahaha o god.
mircea_popescu: i wonder how long until these schmucks can earnestly admit “we like going to poor villages in africa because it is enjoyable to peruse in detail the troglodytism of lesser people.” all this disavowing pretense of “helping them” and “world better place” bs.
asciilifeform: incidentally, this is the only kind of ‘charity’ that exists in u.s. – and that their ‘export product’ is similar, should surprise no one.ix

mircea_popescu:Of course, Sachs knows that it’s critical to understand market dynamics; he?s one of the world?s smartest economists. But in the villages Munk profiled, Sachs seems to be wearing blinders. Warren Buffett likes to say, “The rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” Through that rearview mirror, we can see that the project never had an economic model that could sustain successes once the MVP dollars ran out. All of the interventions involved ? health, agriculture, infrastructure, education, and business seed money ? make sense if carried out carefully, over time. But I am surprised by how little Sachs dug into country budgets, and that he didn’t work to convince governments to commit to additional taxation.”
mircea_popescu: dude wants more taxes.x that’s the way! and nobody could have predicted that nobody wants crap in the middle of nowhere. this sort of prose should be a penal offense.

decimation: “Another reason Sachs offers for the benefits of diversity is the rather common one that the more contact we have with other ethnic groups, the more we develop trust, forgetting his own previous observation that trust declines in diverse societies, but calling attention instead to some research about the amicable ways in which individuals from different ethnic groups, jet set businessmen and academics, interact with different ethnic individuals inside hotels, restaurants, and conferences. ”
mircea_popescu: heh
mircea_popescu: yeah dude, some guy in a five star hotel is so very likely to butcher some other guy in a five star hotel. they have all these points of conflict all over the environment, such as who fucked the blonde escort last. and left the flap up
decimation: right but they can sit and chat amicably for a few hours. so therefore, open the third world’s floodgates

mircea_popescu: the benefit of diversity is quite plainly that anything that can be butchered should be butchered.
mircea_popescu: “But that’s not his style. He rolls up his sleeves. He puts his theories into action. He drives himself as hard as anyone I know.” gates now a “hard work” apologist ?
mircea_popescu: “dude failed but that’s ok, he worked hard”. wtf just how rotten is that mental space.xi
decimation: there’s no other conclusion than: white people in the west “want” to be invaded, crushed, and forgotten. in the same way that ascii’s hunter finds that the deer walk up to him and lay down

In essence, Jeffrey Sachs is hurting poor people by trying to help them.

Maybe we should send him some cheap scotch and slow Internet for Christmas?

___ ___ ___

  1. It’s only now, in late June, turning to summer in this northern outpost of occupied territory. Hard to call it “civilization,” really, when it’s this cold so much of the time. Incidentally, this is precisely why people here just work, work, and work some more. It’s an industrious culture, even a moderately creative one, just not very worldly. The mental virginity of the pioneers here mean that it could be no other way. Fun fact: Edmonton created something like a third of the new jobs in Canada in 2013. And given the jobs reports from our southern neighbours, likely created a third of the new jobs on the continent. This, in a city that has an annual temperature range that spans no less than 75˚C. And you wonder why the Mediterranean peoples need EU bail-outs?
  2. Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals, having held the same position under former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He is Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He is co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and is director of the Millennium Villages Project. Sachs is also one of the Secretary-General’s MDG Advocates, and a Commissioner of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Development. He has authored three New York Times bestsellers in the past seven years: The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011). His most recent book is To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace (2013).”
  3. This, from Mr. Bill Gates, possibly the king of naïve (malicious?) interventionism and US “philanthropy.” Most of the following quotes are also from Gates’ review of “The Idealist.”
  4. RSM was a lulzy visitor to #b-a in his own right. His best line was definitely “our main plan is to hopefully at least ROI on the 19GH/s) of scrypt and the current 5(TH/s). that’s give us at least 150BTC then wait for then next bubble. We have dividends already covered for at least the next twelbve months. sorry 1(GH/s) of scrypt” << The dividends are covered!
  5. Dat #bitcoin-assets log search function!
  6. The list of Bitcoin scammers is, of course, very, very long. MaidSafe, Usagi, BitAngels, Dogecoin, Litecoin… the list goes on. In fact, it’s so unbearably long that it’s nigh on impossible to comprehensively account. The list of non-scams is much easier to formulate: they’re either on MPEx on otherwise in the WoT. That’s it, that’s all.
  7. Markov chain: “a usually discrete stochastic process (as a random walk) in which the probabilities of occurrence of various future states depend only on the present state of the system or on the immediately preceding state and not on the path by which the present state was achieved.” via Merriam-Webster
  8. Quote via Gates
  9. How many things seem so obvious to us that would shock, nay, utterly destroy the worldview of… most people?
  10. Speaking of taxes… To death with them!
  11. This is the culture of “niceness” and “A for effort.”

7 thoughts on “Jeffrey Sachs: The RSM of African Interventionism

  1. […] many episodes worth more than one listen. You’ll also recall that EconTalk recently featured Jeffrey Sachs and his naive interventionism. […]

  2. […] few hundred generations. Not that they’ve been helped much by interventionist derps like Jeffrey Sachs. […]

  3. […] time either. For earlier examples, see Y Combinator: The American Idol of Venture Capital and Jeffrey Sachs: The RSM of African Interventionism. […]

  4. […] states with “good intentions.” Equally obvious should be the predictable result of such interventionism, as it’s readily observable in our own economies. In precisely the same way that nation […]

  5. […] libertards have all the fun on that despotic and despondent continent you always see on TV commercials when we can import some of that sweet, sweet lethargy and petty thievery to the Americas so that it […]

  6. […] person at all times ? Can you please donate some of your time, money, and emotional energy to help starving children in Africa ? Can you please take out a 30-year mortgage on an asset guaranteed to last no longer ? Can you […]

  7. […] anything economic is a grotesque and infantilised notion of metastatic scammers like Jeffrey Sachs et al. It’s not that shortcuts don’t exist, they do, and they’re in fact […]

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