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East Asia and Pacific

Free markets and conflict

The great virtue of a free market is that it enables people who hate each other, or who are from vastly different religious or ethnic backgrounds, to cooperate economically.

That’s Milton Friedman. Via Tyler Cowen.

A country’s economic litmus test

An economic litmus test is not whether a country can attract a lot of FDI but whether it has a business environment that nurtures entrepreneurship, supports healthy competition and is relatively free of heavy handed political intervention. In this regard, India has done a better job than China.

Synthetic worlds

Pablo has called attention to my review of Acemoglu and Robinson's 'The Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy'. I wrote another review recently, for those of you who've been following our thread on computer games and development.

Global economic perceptions

A new BBC World Service Poll highlights highly divergent economic perceptions across the world. 15 countries see conditions getting better, 17 see them getting worse. The poll also shows that countries that have received World Bank loans are particularly positive about our influence. See also the BBC story, or a previous Gallup poll on global optimism.

Aceh Diary: Dining out

Food in Banda Aceh is GREAT (especially the seafood)! That is, if you can bear going to the same 5 or 6 restaurants day in and out. Many people eventually opt for their own cooking, at least for dinner, since many organizations provide a simple lunch catered or cooked on the premises. Others like us without a kitchen (which we’re renovating), tend to alternate between the few Chinese-style seafood restaurants and venues offering western cuisine frequented by the expat community.

Nonprofit healthcare in Cambodia

If childbirth is a miracle of nature, then the thriving, honestly run network of clinics and hospitals here is a human marvel, managed not by the government but by one of the nonprofit groups it has hired to run entire public health districts.

…These contracted services have allowed international donors and concerned governments to cut through dysfunctional bureaucracies - or work around them, and to improve health care and efficiency at modest cost.