UPDATE 10/12 1PM: we have a winner! (see end of post)
UPDATE: No winnners yet, see end of post.
Following last Friday’s post on the New Yorker profile of Justin Lin, I had this email exchange with the World Bank media officer David Theis, who kindly responded promptly to my inquiries.
Original Inquiry Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 11:30 AM:
Media Chief, World Bank
The New York Times reports:
A Scottish aid worker who was taken hostage two weeks ago by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan was killed by her captors early Saturday during an unsuccessful rescue raid, according to the British Foreign Office.
UPDATE 4: thanks to all the critics on this post, too bad I couldnt get Chinese censoring technology to work:)
UPDATE 3: 9:30am Sat 10/9: links to Nobel Peace Prize and Charter ’08
UPDATE 2: 1:30pm. New Yorker writer Evan Osnos generously replies to my criticisms (see end of post)
SCOREBOAD UPDATE 10 AM 10/8: understanding key to China’s future development: Nobel Committee 1, New Yorker 0; Liu Xiaobo 1, Justin Lin, 0.
A writer in the New Yorker has an article fawning all over China’s rulers and Chinese economist Justin Lin (currently the Chief Economist of the World Bank).
After all the efforts of the last 6 decades, only a minority of countries are developed. That seems like a sad indication that the odds are long as countries struggle to attain Development. Yet let’s not take the Development that has been achieved for granted.
If you beat the odds, the payoff is remarkably large (which is maybe why all of us are working so hard on Development!) As the figure shows, a third of the sample of countries is at $8000 per capita or better in 2008, and a fifth of the sample is $16,000 per capita or better. In this sample, there is a 1 percent chance of getting all the way to national average income per person of $32,000.
UPDATE by Bill: unconscious experiment on Twitter of sexiness vs wonkiness, see end of post.
Aid Watch has frequently panned the administration’s declared strategy of “elevating development” to be “on par” with diplomacy and defense. For one, this rhetoric obscures the actual—and continuing–disparity in magnitude, power and influence between the so-called “3Ds.” For another, it implies that the objectives of each “D” tend to be aligned.
Todd Moss, at the Center for Global Development, writes that the administration’s speechifying on this subject is increasingly “ringing embarrassingly hollow,” as USAID doesn’t control its own budget, and the State Department is effectively running both US aid efforts in Haiti and the president’s new food security initiative.
Robin Hanson offers these thoughts on big-picture thinking (HT Dennis Whittle):
I’ve …noticed that among smart folks, the most successful keep their smarts on a short leash. They use their smarts to make the sale, win the case, pass the test, get published, etc., but they don’t use much smarts to consider whether they really want to make the sale, win the case, etc. …