Recommendation: Dambisa Moyo on “Dead Aid” and corporate management

Whether or not you agree with Moyo’s ideas about “dead aid,” the first half of the interview raises lots of good questions about the incentives created by government-to-government foreign aid, and more generally about economic growth.

The second half, about corporate boards, is good too:

I confess that the title of my book, How Boards Work, is probably a misnomer. My first goal is to reassert the importance of corporations. Corporations’ revenues in the United States are 2/3 of U.S. GDP; they employ people; they are at the tip of the spear in terms of innovation; they have enormous tax base for government; they are involved in infrastructure build up; and they are becoming ever more important in terms of the environment, social and governance issues that affect communities around the world.

The second issue was really to give the reader an understanding of why and how the board works… I wanted people to understand what their mandate was, what their levers are to influence change, and most importantly… to give them a clear understanding of why it’s difficult to effect a lot of change, particularly in the areas that have traditionally been the purview of government. One of my favourite quotes is something President Obama said, which is that by the time something hit his desk, it meant it was extremely difficult. If it were easy, somebody else would solve it. And it’s the same thing with boards. We are faced with this issue of ESG [the Environmental, Social and Governance agenda] and stakeholder capitalism in the 21st century, and I really wanted to give the reader – especially people who are fervently anti-corporation – why it’s so difficult to effect a lot of the demands on the social agenda that they’re requiring.

Damisa Moyo on People I (Mostly) Admire, Ep30
https://freakonomics.com/podcast/pima-dambisa-moyo/

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