Walk, Pedal, Drive

Some of the assumptions built into the mainstream international aid and development movement are puzzling. Among them is the faulty assumption that the comparison that matters most is how the developing world is doing in relation to the developed. Continue Reading...

Micro-Finance and Major Disaster

As we’ve noted before, the Planet Money team is on the ground in Haiti getting a hands-on look at the economic situation after the disaster. Today they broadcast a moving story of an entrepreneur who lost all her capital in the earthquake. Continue Reading...

Promises and perils of globalization

Thomas P.M. Barnett has written a good, concise, piece on the consolidation and deepening of globalization, specifically Wal-Mart’s tapping into local producers in developing countries. (HT: Real Clear World) As far as I can tell, there are no Wal-Mart’s in Italy, but having spent the last three weeks at my parents’ home in Flint, Michigan and shopping at places like Wal-Mart and Target, I can clearly see how far behind the curve Italy is. Continue Reading...

Critiquing Fair Trade and Dead Aid

Cardus’ Robert Joustra rightly pillories “fair trade” along with the logic of foreign aid in a challenging article, “Fair Trade and Dead Aid: ‘My Voice Can’t Compete with an Electric Guitar.'” Joustra’s point of departure is sound: “The aid model is not working, and no large-scale cash infusion or debt forgiveness scheme is going to make it suddenly start working. Continue Reading...

U.S. Doctoral Degree Prestige in Science, Engineering, Economics

A recent NBER working paper, “Internationalization of U.S. Doctorate Education,” takes a look at trends in doctoral degrees awarded by American institutions in the physical sciences, engineering, and economics. From the abstract, “The representation of a large number of students born outside the United States among the ranks of doctorate recipients from U.S. Continue Reading...

A Micro-Lending Prelate

Zenit reports a new initiative by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples, Italy: “he is donating a year’s stipend and part of his personal savings to initiate a diocesan bank that will offer micro-credits to the poor.” I like two things about this project. Continue Reading...

Pirate Morality

By now you’ve read one or more stories about the increasing levels of piracy on Africa’s east coast, brought into the spotlight by the recent capture of a Saudi oil tanker. Continue Reading...

Free Trade Follies

Last week presidential candidate John McCain distanced himself from economic adviser Phil Gramm, after Gramm’s comments that America had become a “nation of whiners” and that the current concerns over a lagging economy amounted to a “mental recession” rather than any real phenomena. Continue Reading...