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Facing traffic and pollution, Philippines city invests in bicycles

Chris Pablo's picture

During the Martial Law years in the Philippines (1970s to early 1980s), there was a story widely shared (discreetly) about a popular TV variety show host who was made to ride the bicycle all day in a military camp. According to accounts, he apparently displeased the rulers at the time for making a quip about the government's running slogan that goes, "sa ika-uunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan."Loosely translated, it means, "for the country to progress, discipline is what is needed."

What the TV host jokingly proclaimed was – "sa ika-uunlad ng bayan, bisikleta ang kailangan" ("what the country needs for progress is the bicycle"). True or not, the story fascinates me to this day. First, because some people just can't take a good joke. More importantly, because I thought the TV host must be a real visionary! He may have foreseen the traffic and pollution conditions some 15 years in the future and the need for cheaper alternatives for mobility.

Pollution in Beijing after the Olympics

Ryan Hahn's picture

I knew that Beijing has been cracking down on pollution, but I didn't know how they were going about it. It looks like authorities have banned vehicles on alternate days based on the last number of the vehicle's license plate. However, a representative of the Beijing Municipal Committee of Communications has said they will not extend the law after the end of the Olympic games.

As Wal-Mart goes, so the world?

Ryan Hahn's picture

The FT reports that Wal-Mart has seen its sales in the developing world slump. According to CEO Lee Scott:

It started in North America and spread to Europe; the economic difficulties are not showing up in some of the developing countries as well.

Financing the next Silicon Valley

Ryan Hahn's picture

Although we're in the middle of the lazy days of August, infoDev has just come out with an impressive document on just how to create the next Silicon Valley. Entitled Financing Technology Entrepreneurs & SMEs in Developing Countries, the publication takes a look at the missing piece of the puzzle for many tech businesses in developing countries: access to finance.

CSR, gender, and business performance

Carmen Niethammer's picture

While progress has been made on CSR reporting in areas such as the environment and social reporting (see for example recent reports by the Sustainable Investment Research Analyst Network and the Global Reporting Initiative), to date there is no concise global framework for gender and CSR reporting. Company reporting on gender equality was for many years confined to diversity policies, along with some program information.

Global trade and the cost of transport

Ryan Hahn's picture

The extraordinary growth in trade seen prior to the First World War and after the Second World War has often been attributed to a decline in the cost of transport. However, a new paper available from the National Bureau of Economic Research called Global Trade and the Maritime Transport Revolution suggests that the decline in the cost of transport had little influence on the growth of trade prior to the First World War:

Smart farming in Africa

[…] telling farmers to grow more is not enough; even giving them the freedom to sell to whomever they wish is not enough. Farmers need cash buyers. Without willing customers, paradoxically, growing more food can grievously hurt farmers—it raises costs and saddles them with worthless surpluses

G. Pascal Zachary has written an excellent piece in the Wilson Quarterly recounting the evolution of farming on the continent since the 1960s.