In his review of Paul Collier's The Bottom Billion (today's Econ 202 reading), Niall Ferguson alludes to the broader debate over the effectiveness of aid to low-income countries. The most visible academic protagonists are Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia, who believes that more aid could considerably boost living standards, and William Easterly of NYU, who is a critic of aid.
Here are opinion pieces (pdf) from the LA Times by Easterly, "The Handouts That Feed Poverty," and Sachs, "Foreign Aid Skeptics Thrive on Pessimism." For a less polemical consideration of the issue, see "Aid: Can It Work?" by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Review of Books.
Easterly titled his latest book "The White Man's Burden" after a poem by Rudyard Kipling, implying a parallel between modern aid efforts and 19th century colonialism (not very nice!).