How to spend $1 billion dollars the Yglesias way: buses. "It's rare that you have a policy issue that can be solved by throwing more money at the problem..." but he thinks buses will do the trick. As a development economist, my respect for him just lowered one tiny notch. However, he does make some excellent points about trying to tell the difference between hedging, betting, speculating, and risk management.
Ravi Kanbur offers that developmentalists ought to walk a mile in the poor's shoes, at least for a few days every 12-18 months. And, speaking of cast-off clothing, how about 1 million kittens for Africa?
The perils of laptops and the benefits of doodling in class and seminars. And, while most of the time bemoaning the lack of context in news reports of Africa, here is one reason why less is more in other areas.
The fatal turning-point in the modern development was when the great movement which can serve its original ends only by fighting all privilege, the labor movement, came under the influence of anti-competitive doctrines and became itself entangled in the strife for privilege. - F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, p. 207
The people in tragedies, according to Aristotle, are better than the rest of us, while the people in comedies are worse. In a certain kind of modern comic romance, though, the two primary stipulations are that the main characters be better-looking and duller than the audience, which produces a self-canceling wash of emotions. No cathartic tears or therapeutic laughter, but instead a mild, smiley stupefaction. --A. O. Scott, NYT, on the plight of the contemporary romantic comedy.
“the political trilemma of the world economy”: economic globalization, political democracy, and the nation-state are mutually irreconcilable. We can have at most two at one time. Democracy is compatible with national sovereignty only if we restrict globalization. If we push for globalization while retaining the nation-state, we must jettison democracy. And if we want democracy along with globalization, we must shove the nation-state aside and strive for greater international governance.