Historically, poverty has never been ended by central planners. It is only ended by searchers, both economic and political, who explore solutions by trial and error… A Planner thinks he already knows the answers: he thinks of poverty as a technical engineering problem that his answers will solve. A Searcher admits he doesn’t know the answers in advance: he believes that poverty is a complicated tangle of political, social, historical, institutional and technological factors.
—William Easterly, quoted in Niranjan Rajadhyaksha’s column in Mint today, “Antidotes to Poverty.”
Also worth reading: Nitin Pai’s “The Great Leap Backward.”