These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
2014 Human Development Report - Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience
As successive Human Development Reports (HDRs) have shown, most people in most countries have been doing steadily better in human development. Advances in technology, education and incomes hold ever-greater promise for longer, healthier, more secure lives. But there is also a widespread sense of precariousness in the world today—in livelihoods, in personal security, in the environment and in global politics. High achievements on critical aspects of human development, such as health and nutrition, can quickly be undermined by a natural disaster or economic slump. Theft and assault can leave people physically and psychologically impoverished. Corruption and unresponsive state institutions can leave those in need of assistance without recourse.
The State of the State
The state is the most precious of human possessions,” the economist Alfred Marshall remarked in 1919, toward the end of his life, “and no care can be too great to be spent on enabling it to do its work in the best way.” For Marshall, one of the founders of modern economics and a mentor to John Maynard Keynes, this truth was self-evident. Marshall believed that the best way to solve the central paradox of capitalism -- the existence of poverty among plenty -- was to improve the quality of the state. And the best way to improve the quality of the state was to produce the best ideas. That is why Marshall read political theorists as well as economists, John Locke as well as Adam Smith, confident that studying politics might lead not only to a fuller understanding of the state but also to practical steps to improve governance.
We’re Missing the Story, The Media’s Retreat From Foreign Reporting The New York Times
THE Western news media are in crisis and are turning their back on the world. We hardly ever notice. Where correspondents were once assigned to a place for years or months, reporters now handle 20 countries each. Bureaus are in hub cities, far from many of the countries they cover. And journalists are often lodged in expensive bungalows or five-star hotels. As the news has receded, so have our minds. To the consumer, the news can seem authoritative. But the 24-hour news cycles we watch rarely give us the stories essential to understanding the major events of our time. The news machine, confused about its mandate, has faltered. Big stories are often missed. Huge swaths of the world are forgotten or shrouded in myth. The news both creates these myths and dispels them, in a pretense of providing us with truth.
What Can 3D Printing Do? Here Are 6 Creative Examples
3D printing has been used to create car parts, smartphone cases, fashion accessories, medical equipment and artificial organs. Charles “Chuck” Hull created the first functional 3D printer in 1984 and the technology has come a long way ever since then. Manufacturing corporations and aerospace organizations have saved billions of dollars by using 3D printing for building parts. 3D printing has also helped save lives. One of the best ways to learn about what 3D printing can do is by researching real-life applications on the technology. Below are 6 creative examples of 3D printing uses:
The Donors’ Dilemma: Emergence, Convergence and the Future of Foreign Aid
Global Policy e-books
As poverty declines, what if the remaining pockets of poverty are increasingly focused in countries where aid is already on the way to becoming irrelevant as domestic resources grow - such as some middle income countries - or in countries which cannot absorb aid easily and quickly – meaning many fragile states? This is the question addressed by contributors to Global Policy’s first e-book.
Don’t Forget About Governance: The Risk of Tunnel Vision in Chasing Resilience for Asia’s Cities
New Security Beat
Asia is going through an unprecedented wave of urbanization. Secondary and tertiary cities are seeing the most rapid changes in land-use and ownership, social structures, and values as peri-urban and agricultural land become part of metropolitan cityscapes. All the while, climate change is making many of these fast-growing cities more vulnerable to disasters. The result is a growing cry among development policymakers to build urban “resilience.” Experience gained through implementation by Mercy Corps, the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition, and our partners across Asia in a variety of programs and projects, however, reveals pitfalls to rushing towards this objective too quickly. Our research, drawn from work in several cities across South and Southeast Asia, suggests the challenges to building resilience are not technical, but political. Deeply rooted and deeply problematic urban governance issues mean that even mechanisms designed to reach the most marginalized are often easily subverted, allowing elite capture of resources, legitimized by rubber-stamped regulation and decision-making processes.