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.
East Asia and Pacific
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.
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.
Dominic Wilson and Roopa Purushothaman of Goldman Sachs dream about where the economies of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China) will be in 2050. Some projections:
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.
BusinessWeek claims that it is getting easier for small entrepreneurs to do business in China. Some highlights from their new special report:
There are two prices in Banda Aceh—the price charged to locals, and that reserved for foreigners. Or as some around here put it the “blue-eyed price” and the “brown-eyed price."
I had heard before coming out that Banda is something of a bubble economy these days from all the local and international organizations and NGOs falling over each other in a rush to spend the big bucks. I didn’t realize then to what extent that’s true, and how much it’s distorting the local economy and perceptions of the people as to the budget limitations some organizations, including IFC, have.
In the Wall Street Journal Mary Anastasia O’Grady, one of the reports' editors, uses the contrasts between Estonia and Chile to claim that: