The World Economy Goes East: Should the West Get Hysterical?

Danny Quah of LSE has a new article “The Global Economy’s Shifting Centre of Gravity“. Here’s the shift, where black dots denote the easterly shift that has already happened 1980-207, and red dots the projected shift 2010-2049:


The future shift extrapolates current trends. This is iffy given how individual country growth is mean-reverting, but I will leave that for another day.

Who Ya Gonna Call? Entrepreneurs!

Just a decade ago it seemed we were stuck with landlines. State-owned telephone companies were largely entrenched, sclerotic organizations that provided poor, delayed, or simply unavailable service —even in some rich European countries, and nearly universally in poor countries. These maps (with data from 2001, 2004, and 2008) show how cell phones have quickly bypassed the dysfunctional […]

Five Simple Principles for Scaling up in Aid

There is a lot of discussion in aid on scaling up small-scale successes in aid to reach many more potential beneficiaries. But what things can be scaled up? Here are some principles so simple that they would be embarrassing except that they are routinely violated in aid. (1) Scale up success not failure The only […]

Didn’t We Try that in 1938? Why Technical Poverty Fixes Fall Short

Is African poverty caused by lack of the necessary technical knowledge applied to disease, nutrition, clean water, and agriculture? Reading many discussions, like that of the recent food security initiative, or the UN Millennium Project (UNMP) on how to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, would make you think so. Would it change your mind if […]

Africans Already Got The Idea: “Africa Does Not Need Strong Men, it Needs Strong Institutions”

A reaction to President Obama’s speech in Ghana by guest blogger Leonard Wantchekon, NYU Professor of PoliticsOverall, I like the theme of the President Obama’s speech in Ghana. Africans must own their future by strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law in their countries, and by becoming less reliant on assistance. I also like […]

Should starving people be tourist attractions?

Senegalese entrepreneur Magatte Wade on the Huffington Post touched a raw nerve about condescension towards Africans. She noted that a tourism operator was marketing one of Jeff Sachs’ Millennium Villages (MVs) as a vacation destination and quoted from the brochure “Please do not give anything to the villagers — no sweets.” I decided to look […]

J’accuse: the US Army’s Development Delusions

A wise economist that I met recently tipped me off that I would find the latest Army field manual interesting reading. He was more than right about that. The 2009 US ARMY STABILITY OPERATIONS FIELD MANUAL (available in a University of Michigan paperback as well as an earlier version online ) is remarkably full of […]

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