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Are prediction markets the way to attract social investments?

Prediction markets have been a popular theme on this blog (see for example here and here). We also talked about the lack of reliable performance data as a factor that deters potential investors into social innovation.

What to watch for at the Annual Meetings

Ryan Hahn's picture

Robert Zoellick leads off with the opening press conference of the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and IMF (video after the jump). Zoellick argues that developing countries now face a triple hit: "In July, at the G8 summit, I said that developing countries were facing a double jeopardy from the impact of high food and fuel prices.

Melting glaciers redistribute Asia's water

David Dollar's picture

"The glacier at Karo-la pass covered the whole rock face when our Tibetan guide began leading tours in 1996."
I spent the October holiday in China traveling across the Tibetan plateau to Qomolangma (Mount Everest) base camp. One striking impression was how much water there is there. Most of the great rivers of Asia originate on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau: Ganges, Indus, Yangtze, Yellow, Mekong, Salween, Irrawady, and Yarhung Tsangpo (which becomes the Brahmaputra in India and Bangladesh). Half the world’s population gets its water from these rivers running off the plateau. The rivers are fed by the gradual melting of the huge glaciers that cover the Himalayan peaks, as well as the melting of the annual snowpack and seasonal rain. (The name of the Himalayan peak, Annapurna, in Nepal means “full of food,” reflecting the fact that the gradual melting of snowpack and glaciers each spring and summer waters the rice crop.)

The melting of the glaciers has accelerated dramatically in recent years. This is one of the most profound effects of global warming. The glaciers have shrunk 20% over the past 50 years, with much of that in the past decade. Our Tibetan guide took us to a number of different glaciers and showed us how they had receded since he starting taking tours around in 1996. At Karo-la pass we stood on hard, dry ground that had been covered by the glacier just 12 years ago. Climate scientists project that the glaciers will be 80% gone by 2035.

The economics of Schadenfreude

Ryan Hahn's picture

Esther Duflo takes aim at bankers. Money quote:

If paying the bankers (a lot) less or taxing them (a lot) would certainly be more desirable from a moral point of view (not to mention considerations of equity), would it be harmful in terms of economic efficiency, as many economists suggest? Is there a risk of discouraging the most talented to work hard and innovate in finance? Probably. But it would almost certainly be a good thing...

Payment systems and systemic risk

Ryan Hahn's picture

Martin Wolf has an excellent piece today in the Financial Times, provocatively called Asia's Revenge. Wolf explains how the liberalization of international finance and the savings glut generated by emerging economies came together to help produce the current financial crisis. Preventing a recurrence of this mess will require some changes:

Does the financial crisis signal the end of free markets and a return to state intervention?

Shanta Devarajan's picture

At a recent videoconference with journalists, I was asked the question in the title of this post several times.   Does the fact that private banks in the United States are going bankrupt mean that the free market system is a failure?  Does the fact that the United States government is bailing out these banks and in some cases “nationalizing” them mean that state intervention is back?


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