Of all modern development theorists, he is the most influenced by Hayek. His *Elusive Quest for Growth* is one of the best and most accessible books on economic development.
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I agree with the arguments made here for 'searchers' and the potential problems arising from the 'planners' methods of aid, but I'm not at all convienced by the UNILEVER argument.
Clearly, UNILEVER's well researched marketing strategies helped their soap product to become widely used, and hence save lives. But in this case, the profitability of the product were well aligned with humanitarian benefits.
The obvious counter example would be Nestle and baby milk formula in Africa - they also took a 'searchers' style approach and hence made their product very profitable, but in this case the humanitarian effects seemed to have been hugely negative.
So I guess my question is do you think that a 'searchers' approach to aid is still appropriate via for-profit companies?
From public development cooperation practice I can tell you that Easterly´s findings about "searchers" and "planners" are exactly right. In almost any context you need a "searchers" approach which also favors knowledge transfer and is more likely to be sustainable.