Ernesto Sirolli

In Ernesto Sirolli’s TED speech, he describes his approach to international development. In his talk he described his view on development in poor areas “shut up and listen.” By this, he meant that experts from wealthy countries should go to the poor countries and help entrepreneurs in those countries fulfill their dreams. He proposed that going out, listening, and befriending these people was the only effective way to help develop poor areas, since the entrepreneurs will continue to be there long after the aid workers have left.

               Mr. Sirolli’s ideas may be the best, but they require experts investing huge amounts of time to go to individual entrepreneurs and assist them with setting up their business, and with setting up contacts for them. This program seems overly difficult to implement in many cases. The amount of work that would have to be done to help one entrepreneur would be large, and considering how many areas need so much help, the amount of assistance provided to develop the economy of only a few neighborhoods would be enormous. This does not seem practical if the goal is to help many people. While the long-term gains for an individual helped will be high, the gains to society will often not be as large as if the time and money was spent on something with very high returns, like bug nets for the prevention of mosquito bites causing malaria.

               The truth of the matter is that, while Mr. Sirolli’s ideas if they could be implemented would probably be very beneficial to society, it is impossible to implement them on a large enough scale to be effective. You would need several hundred thousand experts on business traveling to poor areas and dedicating their lives to assisting people with starting businesses. This seems impossible to me. The likelihood of the developed counties being able to afford to train hundreds of thousands of people up to a M.B.A. level and then to send them to poor areas for many years without noticeably damaging the economies of the developed countries seems really difficult. The only way I can see this happening is if multiple billionaires come together to fund such a program, and even then, it would be really hard to find enough people who are willing and qualified to venture out to help the aspiring entrepreneurs

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