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Author Archives: Vivek Nemana

How the South was Lost

Vivek Nemana is an economics graduate student in New York University and a student worker at DRI.

UPDATE: Art Carden makes an important emphasis regarding this post and contibutes an ungated link to his paper. See comments/bottom of post.

Last week marked 150 years since the beginning of the Civil War. Victory for the North meant more than the preservation of the Union. It meant that slavery could no longer continue as a viable…

Posted in Academic research, History, Human rights | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Barefoot on Broadway (Warning: gross feet pics)

Vivek Nemana is an NYU graduate student and a student worker at DRI.

I’ve been working at DRI long enough to recognize bad aid, and yet my skin still tingles when I watch the TOMS Shoes’ One Day without Shoes video. I know, I KNOW…but I just can’t help being swept away by montages of beautiful young people “taking action” set to a backdrop of a dramatic Matisyahu song. So I bared…

Posted in Field notes | Tagged , , , , , | 31 Comments

Twitter Klout of Development Folk

We were pleased at Aid Watch to discover Klout, an online Twitter “influence” scorecard. Could this help us settle some scores left over from the Twitter War we just had? We plan to use this as a rigorous new metric with which we will evaluate our efficacy in aid criticism and progress towards achieving our Meme Development Goals (MDGs), which were arbitrarily and haphazardly made up designed at the 2011…

Posted in Satire and parodies | 13 Comments

Aid is not just complicated; it’s complex

One of the points that we try to make on this blog is that aid, planned from an ultra high level and driven to alleviate just the symptoms of poverty, doesn’t realistically address the complex problems of international development. We understand that our own economies are complex and require complex allocation mechanisms (i.e. markets; see also “failure of the U.S.S.R.”) but this thinking doesn’t hold when it comes to helping the poor. So consequently we…

Posted in Aid policies and approaches, Language | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

Killing microfinance to say they saved the poor

Vivek Nemana is an NYU graduate student and a student worker at DRI.

It’s official: Indian politicians have agreed to regulate the private microfinance sector…by choking it in a tangle of bureaucracy and corruption.

As everyone from David Roodman (on this blog) to the Cambridge randomistas (in the FT) has been saying, Indian microfinance needs reform, not a roundhouse kick to the face. But now the state of Andhra Pradesh…

Posted in Aid debates, Financing development, In the news, Organizational behavior | Tagged , | 5 Comments

A Subprime Crisis for the Poorest?

Vivek Nemana is a graduate student in economics at New York University and works for DRI.

The impending collapse of the microfinance industry in Andhra Pradesh, one of India’s largest states and a major hub of microfinance, is the ultimate example of a silver aid bullet…not being a silver aid bullet at all. The New York Times reports:

India’s rapidly growing private microcredit industry faces imminent collapse as almost all borrowers in one of

Posted in In the news | Tagged , | 21 Comments

A tryst with TOMS

Vivek Nemana is a graduate student in economics at New York University and works for DRI.

I remember wanting to save the world when I bought my first (and only) pair of TOMS Shoes. I was a freshman at NYU and involved in a handful of Save the Child Soldiers/Darfur/Fair Trade student clubs. With TOMS, just $50 of my (parents’) money would buy two pairs of shoes – one for me and one for a…

Posted in Aid debates | Tagged , , , , | 24 Comments

Hey UN Peacekeepers–Congo, we need to talk

Vivek Nemana is a graduate student in economics at New York University and works for DRI.

Jeff Gettleman has an unnerving piece in the New York Times on the inability of UN peacekeeping forces to protect civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In one particularly gruesome consequence last July, rebels gang-raped 242 people (including a one month-old baby and a 110 year-old woman, according to the Guardian) in the village of…

Posted in In the news, Organizational behavior | Tagged , , | 11 Comments