Meet Geoffrey Ferster, Ph.D.

The Sincere Veneer: What Drives the Development Industry off the Rails and How to get it Back on Track


Are you interested in a central development question: Why after $4.5 Trillion spent by Official Development Aid (not incl. Humanitarian Assistance) over 56 years (1960 – 2016) do 3.5 Billion people (half the world’s population) live on $3.80 OR Less per day (2015 prices)?  After spending four decades as an applied economist working in the Development Industry, I explain why the vast resources devoted to developmental issues in recent decades have borne so little fruit commensurate with its goals. Armed with the best of intentions (sometimes) and the generous donations of taxpayers, huge foundations and NGOs, a grown cadre of “experts” has, over time, brought into being that self-perpetuating behemoth we call the Development Industry. But all is not lost in my view. The talent and resources are in place: what’s needed to get the “industry” back on track with concomitant poverty alleviation and significantly improve living standard measurements à is a reorganization of the intellectual infrastructure with a new ‘Operating System’ that guides the systems.

As the book is part memoire: Chapter 3: My Own Story (66 pages) gives examples from five countries (Tanzania, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi and Ghana) from the field perspective (incl. finance, agriculture and health). I also provide a refresher course in the history of the development industry, describes how it works now, and offers a clear and compelling blueprint with five interoperable recommendations for change. This treatise is in the book.

I discovered preparing and participating in three Northwood Art and Book Festivals the book’s key concepts, tenants, framework, analysis, thesis and examples help people interested in poverty alleviation, economic development and international affairs see through the mists and self-serving sensationalism that so often engulf the reporting of current events. Discover the tools to focus on core issues of current international affairs and investigate them productively.

At each Festival I have several examples of current affairs à and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting people interested in discussing various aspects of poverty alleviation and economic development. Many people are taking actions in various ways to make a meaningful impact! I think the book can be classed as Non-Fiction Mystery and Current Events. I eagerly look forward to meeting you August 11th! 

 (286 pages, see  and )