But instead the western response too often has been “what about us?”. The Bloomberg Businessweek carries an alarmist Ebola Is Coming front cover. This is a nonsense. Ebola is a disease of poverty. It is very difficult to spread, and depends on direct contact with the bodily fluids of the infected, rather than being an airborne (and thus catastrophic) illness. If Liberia had a functioning public health system, the epidemic would be shut down. It needs trained health workers, isolation wards and protective gear to combat it – infrastructure that, in our grossly unequal world, simply is not there in a countries like Liberia or Sierra Leone. In Nigeria and Senegal, where there is a far more effective public health system, the countries appear to have put a stop to the onward march of Ebola. The disease has no real chance of spreading in western countries, because any victims would be quickly isolated and treated.
The sad reality is that African victims will continue to suffer an excruciating death, denied of basic dignity, drowning in their own fluids. As they do so, they will remain nameless and forgotten, except to their forever mourning relatives. Westerners, on the other hand, will be flown out, treated and become near-celebrities. Perhaps some are resigned to such a disparity, believing that this is the inevitable way of the world. I tend to differ: it is perverse, and it is unjust.
The debate in the Philippines is still stuck in the old way of thinking. Need to read up guys
A large gap in productivity exists between manufacturing and services in Malaysia, and this gap has only accelerated in recent years. However, this gap is not the inevitable consequence of a country’s economic evolution. There is no intrinsic characteristic of manufacturing that translates into inevitable productivity growth. Rather, in the current global environment, ‘industrial versus nonindustrial’ is no longer the appropriate distinction for designating high-productivity/low-productivity production. The key designation is ‘modern versus traditional’ activities. Therefore, rather than advocate for a particular sector as the source of stronger growth in Malaysia, there is a stronger need for broad structural transformation; that is, moving to higher productivity production in both goods and services.
The nomination of Jim Yong Kim by President Barack Obama to be the next President of the World Bank is generating plenty of controversy.
Lant Pritchett categorically stated that his nomination was a “terrible idea”.
William Easterly has already accused him of being anti-growth (see also here).
Perhaps all of Mr. Kim’s critics prefer the status quo where the World Bank is run by ex-warmongers (Robert McNamara), bankers (James Wolfensohn) or career civil servants (Robert Zoelick). Wait wasn’t that the World Bank that they loved to criticize?
Now President Obama came up with a radical idea: why not appoint someone with a track record in solving the problems of poor people in developing countries? Before turning to any of Mr. Kim’s theoretical books (quotes from which can be easily taken out of context), you should first check out Partners in Health, the extraordinary organization he started in 1987 with Paul Farmer, Todd McCormack, Thomas J. White and Ophelia Dahl.
I score this one against the moralist forces in our country. They are basically against what other countries find successful.
What was their secret? Determined policies to expand educational opportunities and access to health along with a willingness to depart from the conventional wisdom of the day and experiment with their own remedies. Even though all three North African countries are Moslem, empowering of women seems to have played an important role as well:
There is now substantial evidence that the health and schooling of children can be raised by empowering women, and this is precisely what Tunisia did when it raised the minimum age for marriage, revoked the colonial ban on imports of contraceptives, instituted the first family planning programme in Africa, legalized abortion, made polygamy illegal, and gave women the right to divorce as well as the right to stand and vote for election.
What is somewhat puzzling, as Rodriguez and Samman also note, is that these countries have not made nearly as much progress in democratization.
These new “facts” substantially enrich our understanding of the development landscape over the last four decades.