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Month: November 2010

The Aversion to Government-Run Development Programs

The Aversion to Government-Run Development Programs

Andrew Sullivan of The Altlantic writes a popular blog about politics, economics, culture, and anything else he finds interesting or relevant at the moment.  With 20-30 posts today, it has the depth of a traditional blog and the breadth of a link aggregator. The relative exposure he gives a subject depends on how much he likes the people who are writing about it.  He is a fiscal conservative and likes the idea of market-driven, bottom-up development.  Over the past year,…

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The Pope Endorses Condom Use

The Pope Endorses Condom Use

In a possible Joe Biden moment, Pope Benedict allegedly softened his position on condom use in an interview with a German journalist this past summer.   His remarks are being hailed as groundbreaking, even though the context is decidedly limited.  The New York Times: The pope’s statement on condoms was extremely limited: he did not approve their use or suggest that the Roman Catholic Church was beginning to back away from its prohibition of birth control. In fact, the one example…

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Reading: 11/14-11/20

Reading: 11/14-11/20

1.  Foreign Aid for Scoundrels, William Easterly, New York Review of Books:  Government-to-government aid props up anti-democratic dictators to the detriment of the people.  Bono doesn’t want you to know how the sausage is made. 2.  Indian Microcredit Faces Collapse from Defaults, New York Times:  Irrational exuberance combined with dirty politics could spell disaster for microfinance institutions in India.  Perhaps a bubble in India is the first major milestone in the mainstreaming of microfinance 3.  Patient Capital for an Africa…

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A New Chapter: Working with Technoserve in Ghana

A New Chapter: Working with Technoserve in Ghana

In less than two weeks, I’ll be moving to Ghana to work as a consultant with an organization called Technoserve.  It is my first time to visit West Africa and am excited to learn about the region.  Technoserve works to strengthen the economies of the countries it serves by making the industries more efficient and profitable.  Founded in the 1970’s, Technoserve began in Sub-Saharan Africa and has since expanded to Latin America and India.  Most projects involve agriculture, since the…

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The Long-Awaited Beard Update

The Long-Awaited Beard Update

While going through my normal Tuesday afternoon routine of looking at pictures of myself, I realized that it has been almost exactly one year since I began growing the beard. In fact, loyal followers of this blog know that regular updates on the progress of my unsightly (n. displeasing to the eye) beard were once a staple of the Journal. As I have grown more self-important, I shifted the focus to subjects that would make me sound like I knew…

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Do Elections Improve Economic Policy? Democracy in Burma

Do Elections Improve Economic Policy? Democracy in Burma

Today, the people of Myanmar for the first time in twenty years will elect a new government.  Actually, they will simply participate in a rigged election process that will legitimize the repressive military regime that has controlled the country by force for the past half-century.  Under pressure from the West and perhaps craving a bizarro sense of legitimacy, the military is holding elections for the first time in twenty years, yet it has effectively guaranteed that the country will remain…

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Microbusinesses as Start-Ups and the Problem of Flexibility

Microbusinesses as Start-Ups and the Problem of Flexibility

In a blog post titled “The Rigidity of Microfinance,” Eva Pereira discusses how the structure of microfinance loans inherently stifle risk-taking among clients: Compared to loans in developed countries, microloans have far shorter repayment cycles, oftentimes as short as a week. In Field’s 2009 study she analyzed the effects of allowing borrowers a two month grace period before repayments began. The study aimed to find out how borrowers would behave without the looming burden of an immediate debt repayment. As…

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Natural Gas in Papua New Guinea and Oil in Ghana

Natural Gas in Papua New Guinea and Oil in Ghana

This is from the New York Times the other day: In 2014, ExxonMobil is scheduled to start shipping natural gas through a 450-mile pipeline, then on to Japan, China and other markets in East Asia. But the flood of revenue, which is expected to bring Papua New Guinea $30 billion over three decades and to more than double its gross domestic product, will force a country already beset by state corruption and bedeviled by a complex land tenure system to grapple…

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