Indices on hunger and African governance and problems with mashups; technology and development; 10 trends to watch; currency wars and Evo puts the boot in: Links I liked
Wonks like a good index (or even a bad one), so here are a couple – first IFPRI’s 2010 Global Hunger Index with interactive map (drag and drop the pointer over the country you are interested in)
And the latest index of African governance from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation – as usual, Mauritius comes top, Somalia bottom, but what’s interesting is what’s happening in between. Annoyingly, it doesn’t seem to provide a comparison with previous such exercises, but if anyone has the time to go to the full database of the last 10 years of league tables and work out who is improving/deteriorating relative to other countries in the region, let me know the results. Economist summary here.
Speaking of indices, following the surprisingly popular ‘nerd war’ on this blog over multidimensional poverty indicators, involving polite skirmishing between the World Bank’s Martin Ravallion, the UN’s Sabina Alkire and lots of others, Martin has written a more general reflection on ‘Mashup Indices of Development’. Since when did the Bank start using words like ‘mashup’?
10 key issues in development, from the always thought-provoking Alex Evans. The one that jumped out at me? ‘The face of conflict is changing – with 2 trends especially worth highlighting. One is the growth of subnational, relatively low-intensity forms of violence in rural areas – like the Naxalite insurgency in India. We can expect to see more of this kind of violence in future, as disputes over land and water (and the livelihoods that they enable) become more common. At the same time, I think we’ll also come to hear more about failed cities as well as failed states. Mexico remains a prosperous country – a member of the G20 and of the OECD – but in cities like Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, 27,000 people have been killed in armed conflict since 2006.’
The technologies a country had in the year 1000 or 1500 are a pretty good guide to its current state of development, argues William Easterly, reprising his planners v searchers argument. The implications for today’s development wonks? ‘We’ve been doing development wrong. The World Bank imperative approach gave us Africa’s stagnation, the failure of economic reforms in the 1980s and 1990s, and the disastrous transition from communism to capitalism in the former Soviet Union. These and many other disappointments over the past half-century do not predict a cheery future for the great-men-cum-great-experts approach. If there’s anything that “must be done” to spur future development, it’s to create the conditions necessary to empower the ordinary individuals who will create new and unforeseen technologies out of old ones. There’s a Thomas Edison born every minute. We just have to help them turn the lights on.’
Are we sliding into a global currency war? The Guardian’s economics editor, Larry Elliott thinks so
And finally, harsh, and not particularly fair, but Bolivian President Evo Morales certainly knows how to assert his authority on the football pitch – by kneeing his opponent in the groin. OK, the recipient is a political rival and he had just fouled the Pres, but is this compatible with all that ‘Living Well’ stuff? Or separation of powers and respect for the constitutional authority (aka ‘the referee’)?