William Easterly touts the power of poor people, not experts, to address poverty

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News William Easterly believes that poor people are the key to ending poverty. He doesn’t have to look far to find a prime example in his father, Nathan William  Easterly, retired Bowling Green State University professor of biology. His father, Easterly said, came from southern West Virginia. He was 3 years old when his father died. It was the middle of the Great Depression. “It was really a heroic effort by him, his mother and his family for him to be able to climb out of that and become a professor at BGSU,” Easterly said “It was much easier for me as a professor’s kid to become a professor. That was the easy part. The hardest part was done by my father. And I’m enormously grateful to BGSU for making that possible for my father.” Easterly followed his father’s academic path, though, in economics, not biology. He chose the field because it brought together his passion for mathematics and social justice. “He got a PhD; I got a PhD,” the younger Easterly said. “He became a professor; I became a professor. He’s my role model. I really admire enormously what my father accomplished in his career. He had much further to go then I did.” His father was present Sunday, when BGSU bestowed an honorary doctorate on his son in recognition of accomplishments as one of the world’s most read, most cited and most recognized economists. Part of him still remains in Bowling Green. He stayed in town as long as he could until opportunities elsewhere forced him to leave. That included doctoral studies at…

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