The White Man’s Burden Discussion Questions

White Man's Burden

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Here are the questions so far. Respond and add your own questions by leaving a comment below.

1. What is your biggest takeaway from The White Man’s Burden that will help you in your global development career?

2. Despite the evidence that aid does not raise growth, many organizations protest when domestic governments cut foreign aid (Oxfam comes to mind). Why is this?

3. There is a strong emphasis in this book on the scientific method. How can we make sure the results we rely on for policy and development programs are correct?

4. Among other things, Sachs and Easterly differ on their approach to giving social services. The End of Poverty suggests using money from donors to cover costs, while Easterly argues that charging for services makes development programs more efficient. What have you found works in your own experience and research?

5. Easterly suggests using a market approach to give beneficiaries of services a way to hold service providers accountable. If they don’t like the service, they can speak up or stop using it to send a message to the provider. Is there a way to give beneficiaries of aid a way to hold donors and NGO’s accountable?

6. From Fi at Women in Aid: Is it just a MAN’s burden? Are things different for women working in this sector?

7. Rate this book from 1 (how did this get published?) to 5 (highly recommend).

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3 thoughts on “The White Man’s Burden Discussion Questions

  1. A bit of a jump-off from Fi’s question: Is it only a WHITE man’s burden? The title of the book clearly states “White Man,” but the subtitle elaborates and says “the West.” Since we all know that the West isn’t solely comprised of white men, what does the confusing or contradictory title reflect about the state of aid in the West and those who run the show? The language we use is very powerful—it is an important reflection of society. Therefore, does the title inadvertently negate the contributions of minorities and women to global development? How do these groups navigate the waters of society and development if there is a white man monopoly on “saviorism”? Or is there one? As Shakespeare wrote all those centuries ago: What’s in a name?

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