Waylaid Dialectic

September 27, 2010

Liinnnnkkkssssssss

Filed under: Aid,Random Musings,Social Justice — terence @ 1:47 pm

In Melbourne on a course. So for now only links…

Lant Pritchett on the variation in development performance within Africa. It strikes me you could write a very similar column on the Pacific (or more or less any developing region).

The malign influence of the Koch brothers on US politics. (H/T Chris Blattman)

Owen on the benefits development benefits of family planning.

Paul Krugman relays the best line he ever read on Ayn Rand’s influence:

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Bank home in NZ worrying news on the aid programme via Phil Twyford’s blog. For the life of me I can not fathom why a former Wellington mayor with no development experience (at least that I’m aware of) would be granted an aid contract to work on tourism in Niue. True it’s only a small contract, but it’s a worrying sign. It’s not like the Pacific is short of bona fide development consultants with experience in tourism.

Via Our Word is Our Weapon, Chris Dillow examines the theory and evidence behind that perennial conservative talking-point – that higher welfare benefits lead to higher unemployment – and finds it wanting. I’ve always thought even if higher benefits lead to longer periods of unemployment (so long as this didn’t equate to higher long term unemployment) that wouldn’t be a bad thing. Rather, it would simply reflect the fact that people aren’t being forced to take the first job they come across, instead taking more time to search for something they’re qualified for and want to do. Being able to choose jobs not solely from desperate necessity seems like an essential component of the good society to me.

And finally, the always excellent Lane Kenworthy interrogates the Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State asking all the essential questions. A very useful two minute overview of a tome.

[Update: oh, and, speaking of the development consequences of unwinnable wars – the Guardian reports from the front line of the war on drugs.]

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