The colonialists never built a road around the West African; they only needed extractive roads and railways like the fingers of a hand, from coastal ports into the interior. But now China is building one. So maybe it isn’t so colonialist after all?
‘From the perspective of Europe or the United States, hesitation and uncertainty [over financial market reform] may look like the price that has to be paid for national level sovereign democracy. From China or some parts of the old South, it looks like a serious governance failure with global consequences – and not so different from the consistent economic policy failures in Africa in the 1970s and 1980s that helped pave the way for the emergence of the governance agenda.’ Mick Moore gets magisterial on the history of the governance agenda and concludes that after 20 years, the jury is still out on its usefulness.
How does patronage politics move to accountability? Promising series from Acemoglu and Robinson. Post one explains clientilism.
How to do state-building in fragile states: distinguish local state from national; shift from supply to demand – ‘shift from state-building to ‘citizenship-building’; forget RCTs and get serious about qualitative monitoring. Excellent piece + links from ODI’s Rachel Slater
‘If you, your uncle, or your dog’s previous owner’s second cousin runs a firm in a low-income country, drop me a line.’ Chris Blattman is looking for volunteers for his research programme to study poverty impact of small firms.
Population rethink: In 2000, for the first time, there were more people over the age of 60 than children under five. 2/3 of them live in developing countries. Is it time for an international convention on the rights of older people? And from pyramid to tube – evolving global population distributions 1950-2100 Interactive graphic h/t Shanta Deverajan
Waste from mining, lead smelters, industrial dumps and other toxic sites affects the health of an estimated 125 million people in 49 low- and middle-income countries. This unrecognised health burden is on the scale of malaria or tuberculosis (TB), a new report has found.
And a new RSAnimate is always a cause for celebration. This one has Dan Ariely explaining why people cheat, and what can be done about it. Bank reform anyone?