Over the last century, global poverty has largely been viewed as a technical problem that merely requires the right “expert” solutions. Yet all too often, experts recommend solutions that fix immediate problems without addressing the systemic political factors that created them in the first place. Further, they produce an accidental collusion with “benevolent autocrats,” leaving dictators with yet more power to violate the rights of the poor.

In The Tyranny of Experts, economist William Easterly, bestselling author of The White Man’s Burden, traces the history of the fight against global poverty, showing not only how these tactics have trampled the individual freedom of the world’s poor, but how in doing so have suppressed a vital debate about an alternative approach to solving poverty: freedom. Presenting a wealth of cutting-edge economic research, Easterly argues that only a new model of development—one predicated on respect for the individual rights of people in developing countries, that understands that unchecked state power is the problem and not the solution —will be capable of ending global poverty once and for all.

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See media from speaking engagements

Press + Reviews

Institute of Economics Affairs (UK), William Easterly’s ‘The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor,’ by Rob Gibson, December 2, 2015

Regulation – CATO, The Man of System’s Fatal Conceit, by Art Carden, Summer 2014

The Journal of Development Studies, by Jonathan Glennie, Vol. 51 (6), pp. 763-765, July 16, 2015

International Affairs – Chatham House, The Tyranny of Experts and the Denial of Inconvenient Truths, by Brian Levy, Vol. 91 (3), pp. 615-621, May 12, 2015 (free, unedited, blog version available here)

Governance, by Tony Barclay, Vol. 28(2), pp. 255-257, March 12, 2015

Journal of Economic Literature, by Carol Graham, Vol. 53(1), pp. 92-101, March 2015

America Magazine, Helping the Poor Prosper, by Chris Herlinger, March 16, 2015

Udvikling Magazine, Kritik af eksperttyranniet, March 2015 [Danish]

Philanthropy Magazine, Save the Pawns, by Tate Watkins, Winter 2015

ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics, January 2015

Faith and Economics, by Jared A. Pincin, Issue 64, pp. 82-87, Fall 2014

European Journal of Development Research, The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, by Karen Del Biondo, 27(1), 186-188, December 26, 2014

European Journal of Development Research, The Final Deathblow to Development Planning? A Comparative Book Review, by Dennis Essers and Bert Jacobs, 27(1), 188-193, December 26, 2014

PCN Post, El Antídoto a la Tiranía de los Expertos, by Samuel Azout, December 7, 2014 [Spanish]

The Springfield Centre, Development through the eyes of a tyrant, by Ben Taylor, October 2014

El Universo (Ecuador), La tiranía de los ingenieros sociales, by Gabriela Calderon, Sep 12, 2014 [Spanish]

Forbes, Is Big Philanthropy a Western ‘Tyranny of Experts’ – or Measure of Imperfect Democracy?, by Tom Watson, July 28, 2014

Cato Institute’s Regulation Magazine, The Man of System’s Fatal Conceit, by Art Carden, Summer 2014 Issue, p. 73

El Comercio (Peru), El Derecho Divino Es De Expertos Y Autócratas, by Martin Pallares, June 28, 2014 [Spanish]

The IMF’s Finance and Development Magazine, Development by Way of Rights, by Duncan Green, June 2014v (also on Oxfam’s From Poverty to Power)

The New York Review of Books, An American Passion for Tyrants, by David Rieff, June 19, 2014

Journal of Economic Geography, by Richard Peet, 2014

The Record Nepal, The trouble with development, by Dhiraj Sharma Nyaupane, June 4, 2014

Alliance Magazine, by Timothy Ogden, Volume 19 Number 2, June 2014

The Los Angeles Review of Books, International Development’s Appalling Human Rights Record, by Hugh Roberts, May 30, 2014

WirtschaftsWoche, Radikale Umkehr (Radical Reversal), by Angela Hennersdorf, May 26, 2014 [German]

El Comercio (Peru), La tiranía de los expertos, by Ian Vasquez, May 24, 2014 [Spanish]

Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Trouble with Top-Down, by Kevin Starr, Summer 2014

Les Échos, L’aide au développement, malade de la technocratie, by Julien Damon, May 17, 2014 [French]

Reuters BreakingViews, The tyranny of ideas, by Edward Hadas, May 9, 2014

The News International (Pakistan), The poor have rights too, by Jamil Nasir, May 8, 2014

The Guardian (UK), Taking on the development technocrats, by Ian Birrell, May 3, 2014

The Washington Post, by Marie Arana, May 2, 2014

Reason, Arrested Development, by Brian Doherty, April 28, 2014

The Economist, Poor and benighted, April 26, 2014

The Lancet, Are tyrants good for your health?, by Helen Epstein, April 26, 2014

LiveMint (India), by Prashanth Perumal, April 24, 2014

City AM, Why freedom – not foreign aid – is the only real route to development, by Graeme Leach, April 23, 2014

The New York Times, Spare the Advice, by Howard French, April 18, 2014 (also in New York Times Editors’ Choice)

Barron’s, Intentions aren’t enough, by Gene Epstein, April 5, 2014

Shelf Awareness, by Jeanette Zwart, April 4, 2014

Bloomberg View,  The World’s Poor Have Rights Too, by Clive Crook, March 26, 2014

The Guardian (UK), William Easterly: Divine right of kings is now development right of dictators, by Claire Provost, March 20, 2014

The Times (UK), by Matt Ridley, March 15, 2014 (non-paywalled on author’s blog)

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 15, 2014

Bistandsaktuelt, Krass bistandskritikk, svak utviklingsanalyse, March 14, 2014 [Norwegian]

Financial Times, by Andrew Jack, March 7, 2014

The Wall Street Journal, by Sarah Chayes, March 7, 2014

Fast Company, Why Bill Gates Can’t Solve Problems For The World’s Poor, by Oscar Abello, March 4, 2014

The Library Journal, by Caroline Geck, March 1, 2014

The  Ümlaut, Why Development Economics is Failing the Poor, by Dalibor Rohac, February 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews, January 9, 2014

Publishers Weekly, January 6, 2014


The Wall Street Journal, Singing About Fighting Poverty, Slightly Off-Key, by William Easterly, October 3, 2014

Slate, Celebrity Musicians Can’t Feed the World, by William Easterly, April 29, 2014

Prospect Magazine (UK), Dictator Worship, by William Easterly, March 27, 2014

Seattle Times, The flaw in Bill Gates’ approach to ending global poverty, by William Easterly, March 24, 2014

Time Magazine, Stop Sending Aid to Dictators, by William Easterly, March 13, 2014

The Wall Street Journal, How About Aiding Freedom Instead of Autocrats?, by William Easterly, March 10, 2014

Foreign Policy Magazine, The New Tyranny, by William Easterly, March 10, 2014


AllAfrica, Africa: Tyranny of Experts against Spontaneous Solutions, by Ndongo Samba Sylla, April 2, 2015

Sustainability and the Commons, Development Practice Should Learn from the Lessons of History, December 14, 2014

Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy Center for International Development, Panel Discussion on “The Tyranny of Experts,”October 27, 2014

Sweet Talk, Technically Correct, by Adam Blackstone, August 18, 2014

Tim Hoiland, August 18, 2014

Francis Fish, August 8, 2014

Huffington Post, Social Entrepreneurs Need to Think Beyond the Business, by Hila Mehr, August 4, 2014

The PJ Tatler, Thanks, Bill Gates: How to Keep Dictatorship Alive, Squelching Liberty on a Global Scale, by Scott Ott, July 21, 2014

Wall Street and K Street, Skip Piketty, Read Easterly, by Thomas Doerflinger, July 16, 2014

The Chronicle of Higher Education, Poverty Under the Microscope, by Beth McMurtrie, June 9, 2014

Dr. David Wheeler – President’s Blog, Cape Breton University (Canada), The Tyranny of Experts and the Not-So-Dismal Science, May 29, 2014

The World Bank Future Development Blog, The Tyranny of Aid Critics, by Shanta Devarajan, May 21, 2014

The New York Times, At the U.N., A Free-for-All on Setting Global Goals, by Eduardo Porter, May 6, 2014

UC Berkeley Master’s in Development Practice Program Blog, In My Expert Opinion: Easterly, Expertise, & Development Practice, by Christopher Stern

The Jamaica Observer, Bad economic advice causing our persistent poverty, April 24, 2014

The Independent (UK), Human rights need not come before development, by Marta Foresti, April 20, 2014

Humanosphere, The aid debate continues in the media and on blogs, by Tom Murphy, April 18, 2014

Harvard’s Building State Capability Blog, You cannot Juggle without the Struggle: How the USA historically avoided the “Tyranny of Experts,” by Lant Pritchett, April 4, 2014

The Guardian (UK), Rwanda: A puzzling tale of growth and political repression – get the data, by Claire Provost, April 3, 2014

Mal Warwick’s Blog on Books, A surprising analysis: why development happens (or doesn’t), April 3, 2014

Christianity Today, Poverty is a Moral Problem, by Kent Annan, April 2, 2014

The World Bank Development Impact Blog, The Tyranny of Anecdotes: Bill Easterly’s new book, by David McKenzie, March 27, 2014

Humanosphere, Bill Gates’ least favorite aid expert, Bill Easterly, to speak in Seattle, by Tom Paulson, March 19, 2014

David Roodman Blog, Of Technocrats and Autocrats, March 19, 2014

Eric Posner Blog, March 17, 2014

Council on Foreign Relations, Helping the Oppressed, not the Oppressors, by Isobel Coleman, March 14, 2014

Impatient Optimists Blog, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, by Geoff Lamb, March 11, 2014

New School Economics Review, William Easterly and ‘The Myths of Development,’ by Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven, March 6, 2014

The Politics of Poverty, Oxfam, The Tyranny of Experts and Other Development Myths, by Oscar Abello, March 6, 2014


C-SPAN Book TV Interview, September 22, 2014

C-SPAN Book TV Book Lecture, April 27, 2014

PBS The Tavis Smiley Show, April 25, 2014

CNN Fareed Zakaria GPS, April 16, 2014

Al Jazeera The Stream, March 19, 2014 (video)


The Manhattan Institute’s Podcast Series for 2015 Hayek Book Prize Nominees, February 24, 2015

WNYC The Leonard Lopate Show, May 27, 2014

EconTalk, May 19, 2014

BBC World Service Business Daily (UK), May 9, 2014 (6:35 to 12:45)

The New York Times Book Review Podcast, April 18, 2014 (starts at ’18:00 min remaining’)

NPR Seattle’s KUOW-FM, On Rethinking How We Give International Aid, April 18, 2014

NPR Tech Nation, April 8, 2014

KEXP-FM Seattle Mind Over Matters, March 29, 2014

National Review Online, March 4, 2014

PRI The Tavis Smiley Show, February 28, 2014

NPR The Takeaway, February 10, 2014