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Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Answer

….that no single key, no formula can, in principle, solve the problems of individuals or societies; that general solutions are not solutions, universal ends are never real ends….

…that liberty–of actual individuals, in specific times and places–is an absolute value; that a minimum area of free action is a moral necessity for all men, not to be suppressed in the name of abstractions or general principles so freely bandied about by the great thinkers of

Posted in Big ideas, Entrepreneurship, Grand plans and aid targets | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Kristof on Ending Double Standards on Democracy

A crude stereotype lingers that some people — Arabs, Chinese and Africans — are incompatible with democracy.

Nick Kristof disagrees.

Posted in Democracy and freedom | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

The Swimsuit Debate continues (sigh)….

…probably exhausting the patience of this blog’s readers. Robin Hanson responds to my updated post on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue:

Easterly doesn’t explain how exactly watching swimsuit models induces disrespect and harassment, and I find it hard to see the imagined causal path.

As I made clear to Robin in an email exchange, I don’t think this debate hinges on an empirical claim. Nobody decides whether to use the N-word or not based…

Posted in In the news, Stereotypes, Women and gender | Tagged , | 24 Comments

Why we’ll always have benevolent autocrats

Last Friday, Bill gave a talk at the School for International and Public Affairs at Columbia.  NYU-Wagner student Christopher Faris summarized the speech over on the Wagner blog, and gives a great run-down of the audience reaction at Columbia:

…Easterly argued that the theory of growth-boosting ‘benevolent autocrats’ (think China’s economic boom) is, at best, not proven and at worst a compelling but flawed idea to which development practitioners hopefully cling – to everyone’s

Posted in Aid debates, Aid policies and approaches, Meta | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Third World America

UPDATE 11:20AM: accused of Detroit “poverty porn”, see response below.

As you may have noticed, this blog sees America itself as an interesting development laboratory. Others seem to agree, as a new report applies the Human Development Index to the US.

The site has a cool mapping function. Here is a map of health that locates Third World America in the Deep South and its borderlands.

The South as Third World holds up…

Posted in Data and statistics, Maps | Tagged , , , | 37 Comments

Toppling Qaddafi

Who was that madman ranting about his hallucinations on Libyan TV, desperately in need of an anger management intervention? Oops, that’s the ruler of the country. He has gotten even more ridiculously scary since our last post.

A small group of young people who have taken drugs have attacked police station like mice … However there is a small group of sick people that has infiltrated in cities that are circulating drugs and money.

This

Posted in Democracy and freedom, In the news, Trade | Tagged , | 23 Comments

Wilderness to brothels to Apple store: the History of Development in one block

We usually analyze Development at the national level. Why not other levels? At the other extreme, here is a short and surprising illustrated history of one city block.

Before Europeans arrived, it was a wilderness lightly inhabited by the Delaware ethnic group.

By the late 1600s, this block was part of a hilly 200-acre farm owned by the prominent Dutch official Nicholas Bayard (1644-1707). By the time of this painting in 1768, there was more development to

Posted in History | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

A Presidents’ Day for Protesters

President’s Day is really a lame holiday.  But the protesters around the world are rescuing it. Here is my all-time favorite definition of democracy, from one of today’s honorees–Abraham Lincoln:

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.

The genius of the first sentence is reciprocity: democracy means I will not impose on anyone else anything I…

Posted in Democracy and freedom | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Sports Illustrated releases annual Mainstreaming Gender Objectification issue

UPDATE 2/25: Robin Hanson’s blog offers a defense of the Swimsuit Issue. (Strangely it fails to mention this post although it uses the same “Top 10″  link as below. Maybe Professor Hanson regularly surfs feminist blogs.)

This is a teaching moment for economists — does the relentless marketing of a “swimsuit” young female body type as sex object create a negative externality for women in general? (only economists use the words “externality,” “sex” and ”swimsuit” in the same sentence). I…

Posted in Women and gender | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments

A tragic sexual assault becomes pretext to insult both women and Muslims

Update Sunday 2/20/2010: good stories in NYT today: Reporting While Female and Why We Need Women in War Zones

One of my favorite blogs, the awesome Wronging Rights, does the definitive take on the Lara Logan story, a CBS reporter who was sexually assaulted on one of the violent days during the Egypt uprising:

The internet, it appeared, was largely in agreement: what happened to Logan was terrible, but hardly surprising

Posted in Human rights, In the news, Women and gender | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments