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Author: Josh

"Josh Weinstein is a visionary. I read his blog every day." - Bono
The Convergence: America’s Long Arc of Development

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…

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The Ethical Obligations of Writing About Poverty and Conflict

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 a small town called Mattru Jong, before fleeing another attack. Eventually, he made his way across the country to a village controlled by the national army, where he becomes a drug-addicted…

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

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 based in Nairobi, Kenya, was the subject of a recent episode of All Things Considered on NPR.  I would encourage you to listen to it in full, as the cofounder and my…

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The Sad Aftermath of the Nairobi Attack

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 support to the country. And over the last month, under the bright spotlight of media, the government has manage to squander that good will so spectacularly that it calls into question…

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A Tribute to My Friend, Ravi Ramrattan

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 to understand how to chronicle it all. So I will settle for talking about the time I knew him. I met Ravi early on in my time in Nairobi. I was…

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Thoughts on the Nairobi Terrorist Attack, Pt. 2

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 positive press about the country. The Kenyan-led invasion brought a period of stability to the country. For the first time in many years, the central government controlled most of Mogadishu. The…

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Thoughts on the Nairobi Terrorist Attack, Pt. 1

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 to hear any news has been painstakingly difficult as we all pray for him. I am not a particularly spiritual man, but, for the last 36 hours, I’ve been praying for…

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The Hult Prize: Food Security in Urban Slums

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 developing a solution to the problem of urban hunger by 2018. The catch is that the business needs to be scalable and financially sustainable.  The product or service needs to be…

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M-Prep: Democratizing Education Achievement

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 for not only students, but also teachers, school owners, and just about anyone involved in primary education in the country. Students take the exam during their final year of primary school….

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Develop Economies Is Published, Makes $200!

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 written to another blog post in Foreign Policy titled “Don’t try this abroad,” which, incidentally, was a response to an article from the New York Times Magazine by Nicholas Kristof titled…

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