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The Convergence: America’s Long Arc of Development

April 8, 2014
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The Convergence: America’s Long Arc of Development

The following is a four-part post about the phases of the economic development of nations – pre-industrial, industrial, post-industrial – and a discussion of the current state of affairs in the United States and the world. Part I: How Countries Develop For all of their differences, countries, and even civilizations, follow a similar path in their development. The timeline and specifics vary from nation to nation, but the general formula remains constant. On a high level, poor countries become rich through industrialization. The Renaissance in Europe, the Industrial Revolution in the United States, and the era of outsourcing – services in India, manufactured goods in China, and raw materials in Brazil – are all examples of the broad arc of economic development in once-poor nations. Mechanization produces efficiencies that make a country’s exports more competitive. When the value of exports exceed that of imports, it creates a trade surplus, also called a “favorable balance of trade”, as it brings more foreign currency into the country and generally makes the country richer. As countries become richer and more industrialized, the economy shifts toward producing value-added goods. The wealth increase strengthens the currency of the country, and skilled – and unskilled...

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The Ethical Obligations of Writing About Poverty and Conflict

December 1, 2013
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The Ethical Obligations of Writing About Poverty and Conflict

I. A Long Way Gone The other day I finished reading “A Long Way Gone”, the autobiography of Ishmael Beah, a child soldier during the country’s civil in the 1990′s. After his village was attacked by the rebel army known as the RUF (Revolutionary United Front), Beah remained in...

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Do For-Profit Schools Give Low-Income Children A Real Choice?

November 19, 2013
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Do For-Profit Schools Give Low-Income Children A Real Choice?

Before reading this, please take a minute to donate to the Ravindra Ramrattan Memorial Fund.  Ravi was killed in the terrorist attack at Westgate Mall in Nairobi on September 21st.  You can read about his story on this blog.   Bridge International Academies, a chain of low-cost private primary schools...

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The Sad Aftermath of the Nairobi Attack

October 27, 2013
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The Sad Aftermath of the Nairobi Attack

Last month, terrorists from the group al Shabaab attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, killing 67 people. In the wake of the devastating event, Kenyans rallied together in a showing of national unity often missing in this deeply divided country. Outside Kenya, the world expressed its sympathy and offered...

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A Tribute to My Friend, Ravi Ramrattan

September 23, 2013
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A Tribute to My Friend, Ravi Ramrattan

This weekend has been difficult. I found out yesterday that a friend was killed in the senseless, horrible attack in Nairobi. He was a great person and meant a lot to many people. He had a profound impact on so many people’s lives that I would not even begin...

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Thoughts on the Nairobi Terrorist Attack, Pt. 2

September 22, 2013
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Thoughts on the Nairobi Terrorist Attack, Pt. 2

In the last post, I gave a brief history of the events leading up to this horrible terrorist attack. Now, I want to talk about why this is happening now. If you were to Google “Somalia” anytime in the last six months, you might be surprised to see mostly...

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Thoughts on the Nairobi Terrorist Attack, Pt. 1

September 22, 2013
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Thoughts on the Nairobi Terrorist Attack, Pt. 1

This weekend a dozen gunmen stormed the Westgate Mall in the Westlands neighborhood of Nairobi. Armed with AK-47s and grenades, they killed 70 people and injured 150 more. As I write this, a former colleague at Bridge is in the hospital and my friend Ravi is still missing. Waiting...

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The Hult Prize: Food Security in Urban Slums

March 12, 2013
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The Hult Prize: Food Security in Urban Slums

A few weeks ago, I competed in a social enterprise business plan competition called the Hult Prize.  The competition is ambitious in scale and scope, giving a broad mandate to competitors and rewarding the best ideas with the chance to win $1 million in seed funding.  This year’s challenge was...

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M-Prep: Democratizing Education Achievement

February 11, 2013
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M-Prep: Democratizing Education Achievement

Help M-Prep, friends of Develop Economies and cool social enterprise, get to the Unreasonable Institute by supporting them! Anyone who has worked in the education sector in Kenya knows about an exam called the KCPE.  It stands for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, and it is the most important exam...

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Develop Economies Is Published, Makes $200!

January 26, 2013
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Develop Economies Is Published, Makes $200!

A little more than a year ago, someone from Gale Cengage publishing emailed me to ask if I would be willing to allow them to publish a blog post I had written many moons ago, titled “Why DIY Foreign Aid Amateurs Are Necessary.”  It was a response I had...

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Develop Economies is On Hold

December 31, 2012
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Develop Economies is On Hold

Given that it has been almost two months since my last post, I owe my loyal readers an explanation for my conspicuous absence and the dearth of posts since the summer.  I am currently in graduate school, pursuing a master’s degree, and have had to put down the Develop...

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Technology Sea Changes: Re:Char and Kiva Zip

October 7, 2012
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Technology Sea Changes: Re:Char and Kiva Zip

Product design is all the rage in poverty alleviation, and has been for the past few years.  By applying the principles of lean manufacturing and waste minimization to the challenge of designing products for people living on less than a dollar a day, we can now create stripped-down products...

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The Problem of Rural Education in the Philippines

August 31, 2012
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The Problem of Rural Education in the Philippines

Note: The following post is from March 2, 2010.  I posted it on my original blog, joshweinstein.wordpress.com, and is, for some reason, popular among people doing research on education in the Philippines.  In the hopes of directing some of that traffic toward this site, I am re-posting it here....

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What “Why You Should Travel Young” Misses

August 23, 2012
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What “Why You Should Travel Young” Misses

In an article titled “Why You Should Travel Young,” Jeff Goins makes the case for seeing the world while you are unencumbered by the responsibilities of adulthood.  Career, marriage, children – these all stand as barriers to experiencing the wide world.  For the most part, I agree with a...

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The Promise of Social Impact Bonds

August 13, 2012
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The Promise of Social Impact Bonds

Over the past few weeks, social impact bonds have received a lot of attention.  That is because New York City has partnered with Goldman Sachs to run a pilot program aimed at reducing recidivism among inmates at Rikers Island prison.  But first, a little background on social impact bonds....

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The Intangible Wealth of Nations

August 9, 2012
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The Intangible Wealth of Nations

A few months ago, the White House released its “New Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa,” which contains four key bullets summarizing its approach.  The first, and most important, goal is one that has been a pillar of American foreign policy for decades: “Strengthening democratic institutions.”  The State Department has tried...

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Why Poverty Persists in America, pt. 2

August 6, 2012
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Why Poverty Persists in America, pt. 2

The other day, I talked about the first of the four reasons why we cannot end poverty in the United States.  Now I will talk about the other three. Single parenthood is another challenge.  According to Edelman, poverty rates among families led by single mothers is an astonishing 40%....

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Why Poverty Persists in America, pt. 1

July 31, 2012
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Why Poverty Persists in America, pt. 1

There are four reasons, says Peter Edelman, author of “So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America”: With all of that, why have we not achieved more? Four reasons: An astonishing number of people work at low-wage jobs. Plus, many more households are headed...

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The Idea of Travel as a Search

July 23, 2012
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The Idea of Travel as a Search

That is what Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison posit in the their essay, “Reclaiming Travel,” featured on the New York Times philosophy blog, The Stone. The literary professor from Amherst and editor of a literary journal lament the packaging of travel and its reduction to a commodity, rather than...

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The Top Three Social Enterprises in the World

July 17, 2012
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The Top Three Social Enterprises in the World

A year ago, I was sitting at the iHub in Kenya, analyzing thousands of payments made by parents of students at Bridge International Academies, trying to identify potential leading indicators of withdrawal, when Kentaro Toyama, the founder and director of Microsoft Research India, stopped in to give a lecture...

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Kenya Enacts Bad Immigration Policy

July 12, 2012
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Kenya Enacts Bad Immigration Policy

Today, the Nairobi ex-pats are riled up about a new policy restricting immigration for young and low-skilled workers in Kenya.  Here is the story: Kenya has shut the door on foreigners seeking permits for jobs that pay less than Sh168,000 per month or Sh2 million per year (USD $24,000). The...

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Dambisa Moyo: Right and Wrong About China in Africa

July 7, 2012
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Dambisa Moyo: Right and Wrong About China in Africa

Dambisa Moyo recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times asserting that the surge in investment by China in Africa has been a positive development for the continent.  A lot of people take issue with Moyo’s oversimplification of highly complex problems, sweeping generalizations, and lack of analytical rigor. ...

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What Do I Think of Agriculture Development? Pt. 3

July 2, 2012
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What Do I Think of Agriculture Development? Pt. 3

The following is part three of a three-part post on agriculture economic development.  Read part two here. Aid, as I have discussed in this blog, is one of the three D’s of foreign policy: defense, diplomacy, and development.  It is the hearts in the phrase “winning the hearts and...

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What Do I Think of Agriculture Development? Pt. 2

June 29, 2012
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What Do I Think of Agriculture Development? Pt. 2

This is part two of a three-part post on agriculture economic development.  Read part one here. In the previous post, I explained my experience working in agriculture.  In this one, I will talk more generally about the challenges of agriculture economic development in general. Needless to say, the challenges...

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What Do I Think of Agriculture Development? Pt. 1

June 26, 2012
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What Do I Think of Agriculture Development? Pt. 1

This is part one of a three-part post on agriculture economic development. After the better part of a year working for Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF), a microfinance institution in the Philippines, I decided to head west again – specifically, to West Africa.  In late 2010, I moved...

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HIV-Positive in Philadelphia vs. Uganda

June 23, 2012
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HIV-Positive in Philadelphia vs. Uganda

“What does it mean to say that one life is “worth more” than another? Aren’t all lives infinitely precious? Well, no, at least not in any sense that’s at all useful for making hard policy decisions about things like job safety and access to medical care. Economists measure the...

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Luck of the Draw: Poverty and Success

June 19, 2012
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Luck of the Draw: Poverty and Success

A few weeks ago, the class of 2012 graduated from university and stepped out into the world.  And one commencement speech, in particular, has been attracting a lot of attention for its candor and unexpected message: that the success of the graduates sitting in the audience is due, in...

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Happy Father’s Day (Develop Economies Becomes a Book)

June 17, 2012
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Just shy of three years ago, this blog came into existence.  It had a very simple layout and was located at joshweinstein.wordpress.com.  Over time, it grew in both scope and traffic, precipitating the move to a more professional layout and a re-branding as Develop Economies, a name I came...

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