Getting Better

Why Global Development Is Succeeding — And How We Can Improve the World Even More

book | March 01, 2011

    Charles Kenny

book cover

As the income gap between developed and developing nations grows, so grows the cacophony of voices claiming that the quest to find a simple recipe for economic growth has failed. Getting Better, in sharp contrast, reports the good news about global progress. Economist Charles Kenny argues against development naysayers by pointing to the evidence of widespread improvements in health, education, peace, liberty--and even happiness.

Kenny shows how the spread of cheap technologies, such as vaccines and bed nets, and ideas, such as political rights, has transformed the world. He also shows that by understanding this transformation, we can make the world an even better place to live.

That's not to say that life is grand for everyone, or that we don't have a long way to go. But improvements have spread far, and, according to Kenny, they can spread even further.

This book is an important and welcome counterweight to much of the doom and gloom that pervades popular and policy discussions about Africa.

BY: William Easterly, Professor of Economics at New York University and author of The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good and The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics

It would take a clear-eyed and courageous researcher to show that the orthodox viewpoint is wrong. Such a researcher has finally appeared in Charles Kenny, who shows convincingly that most trends in human well-being worldwide, and region by region, are happily, dramatically positive.

BY: Jeni Klugman, Director and Lead Author, Human Development Report, United Nations Development Programme

Charles Kenny is one of the best and deepest writers on economic growth and its relationship to quality of life in the modern world. This book represents the pinnacle of his thought.

BY: Tyler Cowen, Holbert C. Harris Professor of Economics, George Mason University

This nuanced and brilliant book is a must-read for anybody who wants to understand the complexity of development. Kenny doesn't traffic in trite or facile diagnoses or solutions; instead, he compellingly lays out both the obstacles to success and the good reasons to be hopeful.

BY: Felix Salmon, finance blogger for Reuters

Here is a thoughtful and sweeping take on what we don't know about why countries grow and what we do know about how ideas and technology and yes aid are improving lives everywhere.

BY: Nancy Birdsall, President of the Center for Global Development

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    Charles Kenny