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South Asia

Goodbye to all that

I am leaving IFC to try to make my way as a writer. I knew this day would come, but it has approached in a rush - which is one reason why Pablo has been doing the heavy lifting recently.

If you are a World Bank staffer with something to say, why not contact Pablo to discuss a spell as a guest blogger? Only the best and brightest will do for our readers!

And if you are one of our readers, thank you. Pablo, Shaela, and Teresa will take good care of you.

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.

Democracy, conflict and the future

Conflict over resources is inherent in political life. The difference between regimes lies in how such conflicts are handled – by repression under autocracy, by civil war under anarchy and by agreed rules under democracy. Democracy is civilised political struggle. That is what makes it both so attractive and so fragile.

South-south foreign direct investment

A new class of "southern multinationals" [are] reshaping the geography of global investment. These companies are emerging from unlikely latitudes to grab sales from more-famous brands, often using their homegrown experience with Third World obstacles—from corruption to red tape and bad roads—to succeed in foreign emerging markets.

Davos, meet Bollywood

Last year 'Bombay Dreams' ran on Broadway, and now Davos will be overrun by Bollywood. ‘India’ is one of the eight subthemes of this year’s Davos meetings and the country is taking advantage of this audience with the who’s-who crowd of international business to promote itself.