These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Africa Can...End Poverty
Two ways of overcoming government failure
"Everyone seems to agree that most, if not all, policy problems have their roots in politics. That is why you often hear that a particular policy will not be implemented because there is no “political will.” Seemingly anti-poor policies and outcomes—untargeted and costly fertilizer vouchers in Tanzania, 99 percent leakage of public health funds in Chad, 20 percent teacher absenteeism in Uganda, 25 percent unemployment in South Africa—persist. Yet these are countries where the median voter is poor. A majority doesn’t vote in favor of policies that will benefit the majority. Why?" READ MORE
The Struggle for Middle East Democracy
"It always seemed as if Arab countries were ‘on the brink.’ It turns out that they were. And those who assured us that Arab autocracies would last for decades, if not longer, were wrong. In the wake of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, academics, analysts and certainly Western policymakers must reassess their understanding of a region entering its democratic moment. What has happened since January disproves longstanding assumptions about how democracies can—and should—emerge in the Arab world. Even the neoconservatives, who seemed passionately attached to the notion of democratic revolution, told us this would be a generational struggle. Arabs were asked to be patient, and to wait. In order to move toward democracy, they would first have to build a secular middle class, reach a certain level of economic growth, and, somehow, foster a democratic culture. It was never quite explained how a democratic culture could emerge under dictatorship." READ MORE