A new lens on development is changing the world of international aid. The overdue recognition that development in all sectors is an inherently political process is driving aid providers to try to learn how to think and act politically. Major donors are pursuing explicitly political goals alongside their traditional socioeconomic aims and introducing more politically informed methods throughout their work. Yet these changes face an array of external and internal obstacles, from heightened sensitivity on the part of many aid-receiving governments about foreign political interventionism to inflexible aid delivery mechanisms and entrenched technocratic preferences within many aid organizations.

Drawing on his new book (co-authored with Diane de Gramont) Development Aid Confronts Politics: The Almost Revolution, Thomas Carothers assessed the progress and pitfalls of the attempted politics revolution in development aid and chart a constructive way forward. Francis Fukuyama and Larry Garber provided comments.