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What matters for future economic growth?

At the Business Week blog, Economics Unbound, Michael Mandel argues that future economic growth depends most on our ability to develop new energy technologies and on whether there will be a major war.

Arab Economic Freedom Index

The 2005 version of Economic Freedom of the Arab World is out. The report looks at the economic freedom in 16 Arab nations and “how free enterprise throughout the Arab world is lifting individuals and families out of poverty.” The full dataset is also available. (Via Robert Lawson)

Public-private rail in China?

Two businessmen from Philadelphia, Pa., have launched a bold project to develop and run a mass transit system with the local Chinese government in Fuzhou… If successful, it would be the country's first public-private railway system. Yet the road from idea to implementation can be especially challenging, say a number of observers, especially when dealing with Chinese officials on a transaction that involves buying real estate alongside transit lines.

Via Knowledge@Wharton.

Telephone ladies connect Bangladesh

In case any readers of this blog haven't heard the story of Grameen Bank and the telephone ladies, the BBC have a nice write-up:

Mohammed Abul Kashem runs a fish farm of 10 man-made ponds. He uses the phone service to order food and other supplies from the capital.

"If the phone wasn't here then I'd have to travel to Dhaka," he says. "It's a very long and unpleasant journey. "Now I can use the phone I am saving time and it makes my business more competitive."

Fight AIDS with your screensaver

The World Community Grid team has announced the FightAids@Home project. By downloading their screensaver you donate your computer’s idle processing power to the project. The increased processing power will hopefully allow researchers to more aggressively and quickly screen possible HIV-fighting drugs. (Ht to AidsMatters)