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August 2012

Private Schools or Public? Justin Sandefur responds to Kevin Watkins

Duncan Green's picture

Everyone enjoyed last week’s arm-wrestle on public v private education, so in a titanic struggle for the last word, Justin Sandefur (right, in the private corner) and Kevin Watkins (in the public one) are back for another go. Seconds out, round two…..

Dear Kevin,

Thanks for your reply. You are of course quite right that I wear a Pearson corporation logo on a chain around my neck to ward off evil spirits, I can’t stand (or understand) solutions with multiple steps and regularly visit my local medium to have a chat with the sadly departed Milton Friedman.  But despite all that, I want to contend that we agree on almost all the necessary ingredients for a constructive policy discussion.  I’ll end with where I think our core disagreements are.

Supporting innovation in climate technologies and job creation in Morocco

Roger Coma Cunill's picture
Last year, Mr. Berrada patented a new invention for solar-water heaters at the Moroccan Office of Property Rights (OMPIC). His idea is to improve the efficiency of solar-water heaters by introducing a heat-transport fluid system specially designed for buildings and communities. Mr. Berrada, a state engineer and a graduate of the Hassania School of Public Works, dreams of bringing his concept into commercial reality. But he struggles.

The case for solar power in the Middle East and North Africa

Amin Mohseni-Cheraghlou's picture

We often hear about the Middle East and North Africa’s centrality in global energy markets as it is home to more than 52 and 42 percent of global reserves of oil and gas respectively. The region is also responsible for more than 36 and 20 percent of global oil and gas production. However, MENA is also the world leader in other aspects of the energy markets, namely energy use and energy intensity (i.e. energy use per $1,000 of output). Between 1981 and 2009 these grew faster in MENA than any other region.

Goodbye Financial Engineers, Hello Political Wonks

Otaviano Canuto's picture

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the global financial crisis. Five years ago, the world of finance was shocked when BNP Paribas announced a freeze of three of its money market funds that were undergoing a deadly run of withdrawals. At that moment, a huge pyramid of complex financial assets—then sustained as collateral accepted by banks and the “shadow banking system”—hedge funds and money market funds—started to crumble.

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

The Guardian
70 journalists killed in six months

“At least 70 journalists and support staff were killed while on assignment in the first half of this year, making it one of the bloodiest periods of recent times.

Fifteen were confirmed dead in Syria alone between January and June, according to the biannual Killing The Messenger survey of news media casualties produced for the International News Safety Institute (INSI) by the Cardiff school of journalism.

The next worst countries were Nigeria, where seven unidentified newspaper staff were killed by a bomb, Brazil, Somalia, Indonesia, where five journalists died in a plane crash, and Mexico.”  READ MORE

A Renewed Commitment to Buildings and their Social Benefits

Maggie Comstock's picture

Rio+20 LogoAs the dust settles from Rio+20, I finally have a moment to reflect upon the outcomes of the historic Earth Summit Conference. The non-committal nature of the Rio text was a surprise to no one, yet the identification of buildings as an important strategy for the development of sustainable cities and urban infrastructure was still a “win” for the green building movement. Energy efficiency was also recognized as a strategy for combating climate change within both the developed and developing world. Our leaders’ acknowledgement of the role of the buildings sector in sustainable development is a testament to the benefits of green building that go beyond protecting the environment, as outlined in the United Nations Environment Programme Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative’s new report, "Building Design and Construction: Forging Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Development."

Political Intervention in Financial System Development: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences

Fenghua Song's picture

Political intervention in credit markets, often with telling consequences, seems to be ubiquitous, regardless of the stage of development of the financial system. It has been well documented that in emerging markets, cozy ties between banks and politicians, as well as state ownership of banks, give rise to a great deal of political influence in credit extension and capital allocation. The recent financial crises in U.S. and the Eurozone have demonstrated that even advanced financial systems are not immune to political intervention.

Creating 'Shared Value': Delivering On Social Values

Christopher Colford's picture

Today’s sharpest business executives “don’t want to spend their life creating ‘shareholder value.’ That’s not their purpose in life. . . . They want to have a purpose. They want their company to stand for something that matters – to be ‘moving the needle’ on something important.” Just a few years ago, the idea of a business professor suggesting that shareholder value is not the be-all and end-all of corporate life might have seemed unthinkable. Yet a renowned Harvard strategist, visiting the World Bank Group last week, analyzed the private sector’s current woes and offered a way both to repair public faith in business and to constructively “reinvent capitalism.”

Michael Porter with World Bank Vice President Janamitra Devan. (Credit: Nazanine Atabaki)


Creating enduring value – not just for a company’s stockholders, but for all of society’s stakeholders – requires companies to reconsider the logic of how they do business, said Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, a pioneer in the field of corporate strategy. Business leaders, said Porter, should focus on creating win-win outcomes that strengthen society as well as satisfy the profit motive. They can do so by reaching out to serve broader constituencies and by being attentive to long-term social impact.


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