Wise Economy Manifesto 3.0: White (elite) saviors fail most of the time

cross posted from Wiseeconomy.com.

I am currently preparing a revision to my first book, The Local Economy Revolution: What’s Changed and How You Can Help.  I decided to update it to capture some of the things I’ve learned since it was first published in 2013.  Look for the new and improved version later this year.

The centerpiece of that book is a series of statements called The Wise Economy Manifesto, which I first published in 2011.  So I’d better start there.

Here is Statement #5 – click here to find the rest once they are all published.  And click here to get notified of new posts.


White (elite) saviors fail most of the time.  I use that phrase mostly for the historic reference.  You can replace “White” with “Elite,” because non-white elites often fall into the same trap.  

The White Savior trap is believing that because We have more education, experience,, money, connections, whatever, that We need to give or teach or instill or demonstrate something to Them – the people who don’t have it.  This way We believe may be well intended, but it is one of the core causes of the failures we have seen in attempts to improve standards of living, economic involvement, etc. all over the world.
5The truth is that We don’t really have anything that special.  At least not special enough to go all Lone Ranger and think we can shove ourselves into a different human ecosystem and not create at least as many new problems as we bring benefits.  They, it turns out, often know how to work in their local environment, whether a savannah village or a car-dominated suburb, in ways that outsiders don’t.  

Or won’t, which is another problem that We often bring into the situation when We believe we have all the correct answers.

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