Russ Roberts realizes he didn’t make the cut for “Team Development”

I found this exchange between Lant Pritchett and Russ Roberts priceless.  I was on a long run, and nearly keeled over laughing.  I checked my jersey, to see what my number was on Team Development.  Yup, 4657.  But then I realized, maybe for Pritchett I am on the opposing side?  Yikes!  I love the transcriber’s note, too.   And that Pritchett managed to use the words enormously, absolutely, and massively in 30 seconds of conversation.  Awesomely!  And two ands in one sentence, extra points for me.

Lant Pritchett: Education has gone from 2 years on average in developing countries to 7 years on average in developing countries. Infant mortality has plummeted in nearly every country in the world. Economic growth has chugged along at 2%–so people worry it hasn’t been a converging rate of growth–chugged along on average in the world at 2%. Which means the world is enormously richer than it was 60 years ago. Many countries, in various ways, have not just had average growth of 2% but have managed long, sustained episodes. Absolute poverty has absolutely plummeted during this period. Everyone–team development [?] won. Team[? teen?] development is the most successful team in improving human wellbeing in the history of many by a factor multiple.

Russ Roberts: What is?

Lant Pritchett: Team development. Think of team development.

Russ Roberts: What is that? What do you mean by that?

Lant Pritchett: Team development is we have this group of–we have a mentality that we are going to self-consciously promote development and that’s going to involve some development organization; it’s going to involve some research into development economics; it’s going to involve some research into things; it’s going to involve a global order that’s open to trade; it’s going to involve a whole bunch of things. Right? But the point is: The world is massively more on every single conceivable measure of human wellbeing, night and day better off than it was before people self-consciously said, ‘Let’s promote development.’

BTW “a factor multiple” seems to be a Pritchett neologism.  A Google search suggests nobody else has really used it this way.  The native English speaker in me doesn’t like it, even though I get it.  And I really do have to take issue with his contention.  Seems to me that “Team Civil Engineer,” “Team Public Health,” and “Team Public Education” have been more successful.  Heck, in the United States, “Team Public Library” was pretty darn massively successful, too.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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