It is easy to be swayed by seemingly logical arguments made by academicians when it comes to complex problems. The trouble is not in what is being presented; often conclusions are based on good reason, and backed by supporting evidence. The problem lies in a beginner’s inability to spot what is not mentioned at all. How do know that ALL the relevant evidence is presented?
Fortunately, that can happen when you can get a debate going between opposing factions that is not veiled by false decorum. It’s impossible to miss disagreement, even for a novice, when you call your opponent stupid, or bald. Perhaps bald is not called for, but still, what’s the harm in making the discussion a bit colorful. Surely a few hurt egos is a small cost to pay when it comes to thinking about global poverty and billions in aid.
If they can’t agree on anything else, Jeffrey Sachs and William Easterly would probably agree to that. So if you are at all interested in the cause of millions of poor I encourage you to read this exchange (http://www.nyu.edu/fas/institute/dri/Easterly/SachsDebates.htm). Sometimes it’s better not to just do something, but to step back and think.
The following books are excellent reads on the topic on of foreign aid and poverty erradication. Economists might work on some hard and depressing problems, but they do write very entertaining prose. Both these books are very readable.