Talking Bilge About Global Poverty

Our skeptical doctor takes issue with the questionable claim by the World Food Programme’s director of the imminent death from starvation of 42 million people, as his organization eyes Elon Musk’s offer of billions of dollars to charity.

There is obviously a kind of person who believes that when you pull an economic lever from on high, the result is precisely what you expect and want. Such people must live in a world without unintended consequences, in which human beings are vectors of forces whose trajectories can be calculated in advance and then shifted in precisely the direction desired. Such people suffer from what might be called the technocratic delusion.

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