USAID

The transparent US government to development advocates: drop dead

Robert Strauss, a Madagascar-based consultant, filed a Freedom of Information Act request last March to find out more about the US government decision to remove Madagascar from its list of countries eligible to receive trade preferences  under AGOA.

Stop me before I paradox again

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. …

Government warns against global travel and/or staying at home

UPDATE 1PM: let’s be fair to our beleagured security officials (see end of post)
The NYT correctly mocks the new US government travel alert:
Where is the threat? Europe. What is the target? Subways, railways, aircraft, ships or any “tourist infrastructure.”
The government’s cluelessness is even more breathtaking once we include two simple truths about risk:
(1) a warning covering an extremely broad area implies the risk in any one location is very low.

Development: Say it with flowers

Cut flower exports get a lot of development buzz. I’ll make this into a bleg for anybody who can contribute some systematic knowledge on this.

Osama Bin Laden, aid expert

From the New York Times:
We are in need of a big change in the method of relief work because the number of victims is great due to climate changes in modern times

We interrupt this diatribe for a brief kindly announcement

There’s been a lot to get outraged about on Aid Watch this week. World Bank leader calls for democratizing research while censoring research. USAID and NGOs urge transparency while egregiously non-transparent. Critics criticize our criticism of FAO hunger numbers that turn out to be even worse than we first suggested.
Our strongest supporters correctly point out that excessively bland and polite statements have little effect on the debate compared to outrage, and outrage is often justified.

TransparencyGate: the end of the road

by Till Bruckner, PhD candidate at the University of Bristol and former Transparency International Georgia aid monitoring coordinator.

“Proofiness:” trashing back on FAO hunger numbers

Just before the big UN meetings here in New York around the Millennium Development Goals, the FAO released new world hunger numbers, and Aid Watch listed reasons to worry that these numbers were “made up.”
A blog post from Oxfam GB’s Duncan Green called our post “lazy and supercilious,” with the amusing headline “Easterly trashed.”  The accusation that I am “lazy” struck a raw nerve, and so I have responded forcefully by asking Laura to do more work.

World Bank President starts brawl about development economics research

UPDATE 4:30 PM, Sept 30 — debating Ravallion about World Bank censorship (see end of post)
World Bank President Robert Zoellick gave a speech at Georgetown University today calling for the “democratizing” of development research.  Bob Davis at The Wall Street Journal reports some reactions:

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