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What the World’s Leaders did on their Winter Vacation: Nothing

Mark Thoma has a different take on Davos than our little dust-up on this blog about Refugee Run:

Faced with the opportunity of a generation to fix global finances, the world’s most powerful people went skiing.

Perhaps @amonck would like to start a dialogue with Professor Thoma?

Maybe I can “help.” I think Davos has always been oversold as a global problem-solver, in the same category as G-7 summits. There is no good historical evidence that grand international meetings devoted to collective international action to solve problems successfully do so.

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4 Comments

  1. Jeff wrote:

    Davos is just one of the more high profile conferences that do nothing other than support the international travel industry. I would be very interested in an economic analysis of the ROI for the vast sums taken from aid budgets for international conferences. The theory is that conferences help create learning communities, help disseminate best practices, etc. etc. but in the age of internet, even those arguments are hard to make. If we are fixing the aid industry, can we declare a moratorium on international conferences?

    Posted February 14, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink
  2. I am working with personnel at the University of Cordoba developing a new field called “low cost supply based economics”. To date we have started the following projects:
    1. Creating tropical fruit tree and moringa “jungles” using seeds from Banana-Tree and ECHO to grow the initial set of trees. We are currently testing the use of micro-irrigation equipment and hope to test sleeve pumps in the future. This could be a multi- million dollar industry. The jungles also provides food and water security for both animals and humans.
    2. Building a golf course for less than $200. We use used pitching wedges and putters ($10 each found on U.S golf courses), practice golf balls (so they won’t go too far ($20)), a pin set ($20), and the local soccer field. We hope to have more golf courses than Donald Trump. The “Ocean Course” is more difficult to score on than Mr. Trumps golf courses since our course is environmentally friendly (native grasses and trees, no pesticides, etc).
    3. Starting a high quality softball and Frisbee team using equipment from US basements that were no longer used. Our uniforms are Barack Obama picture buttons ($0.25 each from Ebay after the election). We hope to have more sports teams than George Steinbrenner. We do have a problem that our top athletes are recruited for state and national teams. We feel we have better athletes than Harvard, Princeton Yale, Colombia, MIT, etc
    We realize that if we have success with “low cost supply based economics” that Professors Sachs ideas may prove to be too costly and old fashioned and that Professor Easterly may not have anything to complain about since we spent almost no money. This may make it difficult for them to get Government research grants and tax treatments in the future. However, we have been waiting for more than 50 years and no one has showed up in our region. This is probably due to the drug dealers, FARC terrorists, Venezuelan guerillas, and Cuban guerillas in the area. Also we don’t have luxury hotels holding high-priced conferences on helping the poor. Instead, we help the poor.
    We feel we have a huge intellectual advantage since the University of Cordoba conducts BOP outreach programs every week in the growing season so that they know the problems that BOP personnel face. Our students also grew up in the region so they know the problems BOP face while American students have no idea. See http://home.comcast.net/~prigter/site/ for more information.

    Posted February 14, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Permalink
  3. D. Watson wrote:

    I’ve got a paper going the rounds that I’ll love to mention to you once I know the publisher that is at least suggestive of some good these things can do.

    Posted February 15, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
  4. fundamentalist wrote:

    I don’t understand the fascinatiion with Davos. Seems to me it is a left over reaction to the old anti-semitic-banker theories that the Jews/bankers control the world from behind a curtain. Rich guys can’t change cultures, institutions or governments, the main causes of problems in the world.

    Posted February 16, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

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  1. By links for 2010-02-14 on February 15, 2010 at 2:47 am

    […] What World Leaders did on their Winter Vacation – Bill Easterly […]

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    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

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