Links for Listening

6 Jun

1. Wesleyan President Michael Roth advertising the 3-year BA on Planet Money…Kinda seems like a push for the (floundering?) summer program and an avoidance of the real added value question that liberal arts institutions need to address. Still, this might be an improvement on the old model:

2. Oxford philosophy Phd candidate Toby Ord on the moral obligation to give what you can, save lives in this Development Drums interview with the CDG’s Owen Barder. Ord’s extrapolation of the practical implications of the Peter Singer principle is really good stuff that will make you feel pretty bad about both how much you give and and how you give it. However, it seems the logical next-step in his argument would be to earn as much money as possible in order to give more away, which makes his decision to be a Philosophy Phd pretty questionable (no offense Jake):

3. Microfinance has no effect on poverty, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. This truly enlightening Development Drums episode features CDG Development economist David Roodman on what is actually known about the effectiveness of Microfinance (or lack thereof). If you have ever been caught up in the hype around Grameen and Kiva or rejected it all outright, or if you are just interested in the research being done on the effectiveness of different development solutions through randomized studies, then this is the podcast for you:

After the interview with Roodman, Owen Barder wrote “Microfinance as an allegory for aid“, a really helpful take on the need for better understanding of aid, and lowered expectations of its effects on serving as a catalyst for massive change. Here is an excerpt:

As in the case of microfinance, the aid industry tends to over-promise and under-deliver. Everyone wants individuals and countries to be able to stand on their own two feet, and not depend on hand-outs from others.  But it does not follow that microfinance can bring this about for individuals, nor that aid can bring it about for countries.  Setting this as the standard for success undermines the case for both, by neglecting the very important and demonstrable success of both against more realistic objectives, of helping people to live better lives while that process of development is taking place.


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