Should the rich share with the poor?
The street leading to his white wooden house seems right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Sprinklers water the perfectly mowed lawn, kids play basketball in the driveway, while small squirrels stay just out of range of the thumping ball. If there’s still an American dream, it lives right here, in front of Deaton’s door. Through his living room window, you can hear the economist playing on his grand piano: it’s Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. But Deaton doesn’t take his affluent life for granted, because his own path has taught him how long the road to this pretty area of Princeton, New Jersey really is.
It’s very difficult to overcome the simplistic view that if you’re poor and I’m rich and I give you money, that’ll make you better off.
It’s an idea that many people might find surprising. But today the economist isn't going to talk about the average Joe. "It doesn’t work for nations,” he points out, in the middle of an intense conversation covering foreign aid, globalization and dictatorships. If USAID or the World Bank donates money to a foreign country that seemingly deserves help, they’re in Deaton’s analysis, pumping money into a broken system. In his opinion, this influx of foreign money shifts the governmental responsibility towards the donors instead of the country. As a result, changing how governments function "makes development impossible".