Thursday, December 2, 2010

Big Bag of Thursday

On democracy in poor countries (and on the election in Ivory Coast whose results are still delayed): "In the bad old days of post-colonial Africa, dictators would hail their landslide re-elections as a demonstration of the will of an adoring people while international observers would dismiss the polls as electoral farce. In the brave new Africa, it is often the other way round." That is, internationalists hail re-elections as free and fair while the people murmur that it was not. The article argues that this is because it is harder to rig elections now and the international political economy favors smooth transitions and playing nice.

The US Senate passed the food safety bill. This article, recommended by M. Nestle, covers the differences between the House and Senate version that need to be hashed out.

Aid Watch's headline: "WHO: 20 to 40 percent of money spent on health wasted, more funds needed to be wasted."

The aid skeptics' Thanksgiving:
  • 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 contributed to these successes: whether individuals operating in private, social, nonprofit, charitable, civic, public, aid, or international realms.
  • For all those who helped themselves and those around them escape poverty through their own efforts.
Improving the efficiency of the bribe market may actually be good for the economy. That is, making bribe prices more transparent/widely-known reduces transaction costs for bribery, which in turn reduces bribe sizes.

A chef preparing to head to a job at an elite hotel instead stays in his home town in India to provide three nutritious, freshly cooked meals to around 400 of the poorest people in the area.

National Geographic's annual photo contest - many of the results on Big Picture.

Blindfolded humans walk and drive in circles. Hunh?

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