In this reply to Ashraf et al.’s (2021) commentary, I defend my argument that the randomised control trial (RCT) conducted by Ashraf et al. has caused harm in Zambia. I engage with the central points made by Ashraf et al. (2021), but also discuss a broader issue that they chose not to address in their commentary: the politics and ethics of conducting RCTs in countries in the Global South and the political vision of economists who regard RCTs as a solution to poverty and global health problems.