Public Choice

, Volume 119, Issue 3–4, pp 263–280 | Cite as

Nietzschean Development Failures

  • Arye L. Hillman


Government policies, and substantial external resources and technical assistanceprovided over the course of decades, have neither eliminated broad poverty nor resulted inequitable income distributions in the poorer countries of the world. This paper explains thedevelopment failures with reference to Nietzschean behavior where the strong act withoutethical restraint and the rule of law does not protect the weak. While Nietzschean behaviorviolates principles of social justice, there are also inefficiencies. The Nietzschean strong whorule have no incentive to adopt efficiency-enhancing policies. Efficiency in a Nietzscheansociety is also greater, the higher the leisure preference of the weak and the less the weakare capable of producing. Labor productivity is low because the weak do not consistentlywork. These are the outcomes when the strong behave as roving bandits. When the strongbehave as stationary bandits, efficiency is enhanced but income distribution can be expectedto remain unequal. The Nietzschean perspective on development failure is compared withalternative explanations for the sustained plight of the poor in poor countries and the unequaldistributions of income and wealth.


Public Finance Social Justice Government Policy Labor Productivity Income Distribution 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arye L. Hillman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

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