paternalism Archives


Bill Easterly’s latest piece in Foreign Policy argues that the Trump victory is essentially a defeat of technocrats who do not have, or cannot defend, fundamental social values. Made me ask whether we too have, over time, become value-neutral technocrats. I had written on values in telecom policy many years ago (Samarajiva & Shields, 1990). Evidence v values I’ve heard people describe us as great proponents of evidence-based policy. Easterly (2016) claims that technocrats who dominated both parties in the US had “approach[ed] every problem with a five-point plan designed to produce evidence-based deliverables — [and thereby] had left democracy vulnerable” to demagogues like Trump.
Two members of CPRsouth, Ibrahim Kholiul Rohman and Hasib Ahsan Nadeem, have collaborated on an evidence-based op-ed published in Indonesia’s leading English daily. I am very pleased about this. This kind of decentralized initiative is what we sought to foster through CPRsouth. But decentralized initiative also means that the policy recommendations may not be in line with what LIRNEasia would say, based on its research. Here is one such divergence.