In the early 1800s, the Prussian scientist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt wandered the streets of Mexico City and Lima and wrote of his astonishment at the misery and wealth, the "nakedness" and the “luxury", the "immense inequality of fortune." This image endures. The region, along with Sub-Saharan Africa, is the most unequal in the world today.
When you think of Peru, the first city that usually comes to mind is Lima. Why? Well, because Lima is the largest city in the country, with close to 50% of the nation’s urban population living in the metropolitan area; the city also produces 45% of Peru’s GDP. While this level of concentration of population and economic activity may not be a good or bad thing, it points to some imbalances in the urban system in Peru.
The first time I heard of the Bolivian city of Trinidad was exactly 11 months ago. Although Trinidad is the 10th largest city in Bolivia, I confess I did not know much about it. The Ministry of Development Planning (MPD) had commissioned the World Bank a study on intermediate cities in Bolivia, and in my early research I learned that this was a colonial city founded in 1686 during Jesuitic Missions. Similar in its architecture and climate to the southeastern cities of my native Venezuela, Trinidad is extremely vulnerable to flooding that affect thousands of families and businesses each year.
Brazilian youth browse Internet via their smartphones. Photo: TV Brasil.
Today the world is celebrating End Poverty Day. In fact, it is the 25th anniversary of End Poverty Day. Twenty-five years is often thought of as the passing of one generation so it is particularly timely that, as we celebrate the call to action that this day symbolizes, we look at how things have changed for the generation that has grown into adulthood since the very first End Poverty Day. In an analysis done by the World Bank released today we have looked at how the current generation of young adults has done when compared to their parents in terms of educational attainment.
Fears abound that automation and other advanced technologies will lead to job losses for lower-skilled workers in emerging economies and exacerbate inequality. Each new wave of technological progress is met with dire predictions. The most critic argue that the unprecedented pace of technological change today will have more dramatic effects on the future of work as new technologies (including robots and artificial intelligence) are increasingly replacing more educated workers and more cognitive and analytical work. At the same time, many economists argue that technology adoption will significantly increase firm productivity and result in job expansion, at least in the medium run under certain policy conditions. The impacts of technology adoption on overall employment and on the skills composition of occupations are ultimately an empirical question.
The International Day of Peace is celebrated on September 21st. After more than 50 years of civil war, we finally have a national Peace Day to celebrate in Colombia, too.
The knowledge acquired in Brazil in a South-South Exchange mission in 2015 is helping India in its clean energy journey