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Saving Private Hayek

UPDATE: 3:30pm links to other reviews (all great) of the Fukuyama review at end of this post

F.A. Hayek continues to be the most mis-characterized economist of all time.  As if Glenn Beck were not doing enough damage, now even someone I greatly respect — Frank Fukuyama– has gotten Hayek wrong yet again. In a review of a new edition of the Constitution of Liberty in the NYT book review, Fukuyama says at the end:

In the end,

Also posted in Books and book reviews, Economics principles | 28 Comments

2500 years of Development in 100 Seconds

This marvelous video from 498 BC to 2011 AD shows the location and concentration of events mentioned in Wikipedia at different dates.

A History of the World in 100 Seconds from Gareth Lloyd on Vimeo.

Taking that as an informal history of development, the main takeaway is that for most of history, things were mainly happening along the line between Birmingham and Baghdad.

PS as far as your kneejerk reaction that “Wikipedia is Eurocentric”, …

18 Comments

Why no looting in Japan?

Amidst the heartbreaking devastation in Japan, many have noticed (especially this blog from the Telegraph) how much social solidarity — and little stealing — there has been. The Telegraph blogger Ed West notes vending machine owners giving out free drinks, in contrast to large-scale looting after Katrina.

Economists have been saying for a while that trust is a good candidate to be a major determinant of development. Think how much contract enforcement is…

51 Comments

NYT vs. Blogs

Bill Keller, the executive editor of the New York Times, is not a big fan of the blogosphere. He makes some good points, but leaves out the part of about how the aid and development blogosphere does approximately 1,000,000 times better at covering its area than the NYT.

UPDATE March 13: the Queen of Blog responds angrily to Keller’s personal attack on her.

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Tax Rates and Development

One of the clearest theoretical predictions in all of economics is that a high marginal tax rate on the income from an investment would depress the investment rate, and thus hinder growth or development.  Yet nobody has found much evidence across countries or over time to confirm that prediction, although many have tested it (including this author a long time ago).

The lack of evidence for a theory means either bad theory or bad data. The first…

16 Comments

New location for New Directions in Development

The location of our annual conference- this Friday March 4 from 10 am to 4 pm- has changed! Due to unexpected but welcome demand for conference seats, we’ve moved the venue one block further north to:

The Great Hall at Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street, New York City
Click here for Google Map

The conference is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.

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Going off grid

I am off the Internet from now until January 10. Aid Watch will continue having scheduled reruns until Laura returns after the New Year. Happy holidays and happy 2011!

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Merry Christmas

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Recipe for success

1. Toil for years at a career that doesn’t support you, mainly helping others redo their work

2. Produce a few deeply flawed products with occasional flashes of talent

3. Finally produce something that breaks all the rules for what your customers want.

4. Resist all suggestions for changes from your collaborators, who describe it as undoable. 

5. Unveil the work to shocked incomprehension from the hostile audience and critics.

6. You die in misery…

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Aid Watch Thanksgiving Thanks

It’s not commonly known that the most skeptical and critical people usually have a strong sentimental streak…at least if I can extrapolate from introspection….

So here goes for what Aid Watch is sincerely thankful for:

For the largest reduction in world poverty in human history, which has already happened in our generation.

For the largest improvement in health and life expectancy in human history, which has already happened in our generation.

For all those who…

6 Comments