Cutting the golden thread; born equal; brilliant Bangladesh; a physicist in Turkana; clutching climate straws; the power of blasphemy; Dragon Baby: links I liked

Chris Blattman on top form with this brilliant critique of David Cameron’s ‘golden thread’ Wall St Journal piece on governance and democracy. Lots of challenges to NGO thinking in there too. But CGD came over all anglophile, pining for a decent public debate in the US presidential campaign, according to Justin Sandefur and Todd Moss. Acemoglu and Robinson also threadophiles (‘music to our ears’).

Some neat number crunching from Save the Children’s new Born Equal report to generate ‘effective available income per child’. Take household income for top and bottom deciles, then weight it for average family size, and you find inequality among children is even worse then for adults (because poor families have more kids). Resulting killer fact? ‘Across 32 countries, a child in the richest 10% of households has 35 times the effective available income of a child in the poorest 10%…. children experience a magnified inequality effect. And the gaps are increasing.’ Smart work.

‘Bangladesh has shown that countries can transform the lives of the poorest without having to wait for economic growth.’ The secret? ‘Taking women seriously as agents of development’ (reproductive rights, jobs etc). The Economist may have just transformed Bangladesh;s international image with a leader and 3-page briefing littered with the evidence of astonishing progress.

What happened when Oxfam sent complexity physicist Jean Boulton to look at our work in Northern Kenya?

‘Going back to 2007 is not an option. Either we will strive successfully to build something better or we will suffer something worse.’ Climate change guru John Ashton desperately searches for positive signs of a ‘low carbon race’ for salvation [h/t Martin Hall]

What’s the link between blasphemy, democracy and riots?

And the dragon baby has absolutely nothing to do with development, but especially if you’re American, you probably need cheering up (either your candidate lost, or he won, and you have a horrible hangover). Everybody say awwwwwww.  [h/t Chris Blattman]

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