The greater point is that not all products and services are the same, and in some cases creating sustainable markets may be all but impossible. Though it is certainly not “ideologically attractive,” I strongly believe Kremer and Miguel are correct in reminding us that for at last some essential public goods and services “There may simply be no alternative to ongoing subsidies financed by tax revenue raised either from local or national governments, or international donors.”
This is the penultimate paragraph of a great post by Dan Kopf on the India Development Blog. It recognizes an unfortunate yet necessary limitation to the quest for finding sustainable solutions for some problems. Sometimes, you cannot do it. But the most poignant comment of this post is the recognition that accepting that such goods exist will be very unpopular in today’s development community.
The paper that Knopf referrs to, titled the “Illusion of Sustainability”, can be found here.