Perhaps we have it all wrong. With widespread failure and dependency becoming a more broadly accepted view among experts maybe the answer is just to make stuff free?
Dozens of countries imitated Mexico’s example and their results inspired the founders of GiveDirectly, a handful of graduate students at Harvard and M.I.T., who were studying the economics of various developing countries. They chose to situate the charity in Kenya because it was a poor country with a well-developed system for sending money to anyone with a cheap cellphone. But they also planned to differentiate their charity; whereas most of the government programs give people money for as long as they qualify, GiveDirectly offers people a one-time grant, spread over the course of several months, and without any requirements.
Should we add another category William Easterly‘s framework for the types of development actors: Planners (top-down, big plans that are imposed by outside actors), Searchers (bottom-up, piecemeal solution-oriented) and now, a new one called Samaritans? Is free–a la gmail, Dropbox, and other tech solutions–the answer in development?
Hint: The Peabody-winning radio program This American Life explored this issue and found that it worked for some, not for others.