BookTalkUNA presents

Why Global Development is Succeeding and
How We Can Improve the World Even More

Please join us for a book discussion with
senior economist and author CHARLES KENNY

is held in conjunction with
the Institute of International Education

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
6 p.m. — Reception
6:30 p.m. — Presentation
7:15 p.m. — Book Signing

Institute of International Education
809 United Nations Plaza, Kaufman Center
New York, NY



UNA Members: FREE
UNA Student Members: FREE
Guests and Non-Members: $15

In his compelling and illuminating book, Getting Better, senior economist Charles Kenny reports the good news about global progress, arguing against development naysayers by pointing to the evidence of widespread improvements in health, education, peace, liberty — and even happiness.

Mr. Kenny shows how the spread of cheap technologies, such as vaccines and bed nets, and ideas, such as political rights, has transformed the world. He also shows that by understanding this transformation, we can make the world an even better place to live. That's not to say that life is grand for everyone, or that we don't have a long way to go. But improvements have spread far and, according to Kenny, they can spread even further.

Throughout this meaningful work, his basic message of realistic optimism should inform all those interested in development assistance and ways to sustain progress in the future.

Charles Kenny is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. His current work covers topics including the demand side of development, the role of technology in quality of life improvements, and governance and anticorruption in aid.

He has published articles, chapters and books on issues including progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, what we know about the causes of economic growth, the link between economic growth and broader development, the causes of improvements in global health, the link between economic growth and happiness, the end of the Malthusian trap, the role of communications technologies in development, the "digital divide," and corruption.

Mr. Kenny is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine and a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation. He was previously at the World Bank, where his assignments included working with the VP for the Middle East and North Africa Region, coordinating work on governance and anticorruption in infrastructure and natural resources, and managing a number of investment and technical assistance projects covering telecommunications and the Internet.

Visit Charles Kenny's blog

From the reviews

"After plenty of aid pessimism, here is a relentlessly cheerful polemic, Getting Better, which is delighting development experts in the US and the UK. Charles Kenny's book celebrates an era of unprecedented human development. . . [and] has a very serious and really important point to make." The Guardian

"Elegant and deeply researched... The case made by Mr. Kenny in Getting Better is a powerful antidote to overly gloomy assessments of development aid. . . After years of doom and gloom on the subject of foreign aid, it is refreshing to find so thoughtful and contrarian an approach to the topic. Charles Kenny shines a light on the real successes of aid, and he shows us the benefits that additional smart investment can bring." Bill Gates, Wall Street Journal

"This book is an important and welcome counterweight to much of the doom and gloom that pervades popular and policy discussions about Africa. It makes important contributions in documenting the major advances in aspects of human development that have intrinsic value — health, knowledge and empowerment — that have been experienced by people in the poorest parts of the world, drawing attention to the role of ideas and innovation." Jeni Klugman, United Nations Development Programme

"Gloom and doom have long been the default view of global poverty. It would take a clear-eyed and courageous researcher to show that the orthodox viewpoint is wrong. Such a researcher has finally appeared in Charles Kenny, who shows convincingly that most trends in human well-being worldwide, and region by region, are happily, dramatically positive. Read this delightful book and you will never look at global economic development the same way again." William Easterly, Professor of Economics, New York University

"Kenny is one of the best and deepest writers on economic growth and its relationship to quality of life in the modern world. This book represents the pinnacle of his thought." Tyler Cowen, Holbert C. Harris Professor of Economics, George Mason University

"A World Bank economist's insightful examination of the effectiveness of global development. . . Relying on a relaxed approach flecked with sarcasm and wit, Kenny's accessible and generally jargon-free prose easily guides readers through the contentious and political aspects of global development and the ideologies competing to control it. A poignant and optimistic rebuttal to critics of global development." Kirkus Reviews

"Getting Better seems likely to become a canonical addition to the development literature. It sets out a manageable thesis, argues it vigorously and with optimism, realism and humility — a refreshing combination in any field, and particularly one like international development, too often marked by hubristic confidence or histrionic despair." Financial Times

Bill Gates on Kenny's Powerful Antidote

New York Times: A Hopeful Message

Foreign Policy Book Club


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