Monika Aring and Bobbin Teegarden argue that much of the foreign aid for economic and job growth in poor countries cannot work because the underlying assumption – that outside experts can fix the problem – is misguided. They suggest that aid could achieve far better results
if donors could distinguish between two opposite problem archetypes – technical and adaptive systems problems. Technical problems are problems for which societies have already developed solutions that work. Adaptive systems problems are new problems for which a society has not yet developed
a sustainable solution. They argue that the lack of jobs to sustain livelihoods is an adaptive systems problem that has to be solved by the system's stakeholders, supported by outside experts.