Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Sad State of Haiti

Even before the earthquake, progress in Haiti was not going so great. It has the dubious distinction of being one of only a handful of countries (six total?) to actually see its real per capita income decline between 1960 and 2007 (the only data available from the Penn World Tables). But as Denis O'Brien writes in the latest Innovations (pdf):
Analysis of where Haiti goes from here inevitably turns around the problems, over and over again. Haiti’s past is picked over, its failures held up to the light, each new dawn that didn’t deliver examined under the microscope as to find out what went wrong. And it is important that lessons are learned. But not enough attention is paid to the positives. Let’s for a change not get stuck in the detail and let’s look at what is right with Haiti.
That is the goal of the latest issue, released at the Clinton Global Initiative, 2010. Check it out.

The Valley of Death

It's well known that it can be very difficult to move from scientific invention to market. It's a Miracle has a humorous take on this phenomenon, couched in terms of things scientists say versus what they really mean. For example:

What they say: I think we’ve set the stage now and we’re actively looking opportunities to commercialize our invention.

What they mean: I think we can get a patent out of this, but I have no clue how an actual commercial entity works and what they look for in potential products.

The Global Canon

From the World Policy Journal:

Is there, as World Policy Journal suggests in every issue, a truly global network of creativity—not only in the written word, but in art, drama, music, film, television and beyond? The answers arrived and the results, we believe, will surprise and entertain. For the first time in our quarter century as a publication, we consider poetry, music, painting, internet art, film from Nigeria, plays from Peru—the entire gamut of human creativity—to arrive at the conclusion we suspected from the start: That today, for perhaps the first time in human history, a Global Canon has arrived.

The full contents are here, and the articles are currently free.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Soft Power

From the Department of State:
In a new initiative responding to President Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo, the U.S. Department of State is bringing 25 science teachers from as many countries to the United States for an International Visitor Leadership Program called “A New Beginning: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education,” September 27 through October 15.

The teachers will engage in a professional, cultural and educational examination of the building blocks of STEM education at the primary and secondary levels in seven cities across the United States. Participants will visit several schools to explore how to nurture and support hands-on science education, how to demonstrate the relevance of science for children, and how to create a setting in which children actively engage in scientific learning.

This exchange will lay the groundwork for long-term relationships and foster international collaboration in an effort to develop rising leaders in the field of science and technology. After the teachers return home, their students and those of their American counterparts will be invited to take part in global “virtual” science fairs.

Friday, September 3, 2010

"The Agenda for Development Economics"

A special symposium in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Apparently the agenda does not feature entrepreneurship. A quick word search reveals that "entrepreneur," or one of several derivations is used only once in the text of these articles - the article by Rodrik. Nor are these authors reading much about entrepreneurship - only two citations from these six essays include some variation of the word entrepreneur.