Monday, September 21, 2009

 

What Others Are Blogging

Remembering Borlaug

Norman Borlaug, the former CIMMYT director, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and “father of the Green Revolution”, passed away on September 12th at the age of 95. A good collection of tributes to Dr. Borlaug can be found here. You can read IFPRI’s statement here. And click here for a series of short video clips that allow you to hear Dr. Borlaug in his own words. For a broader and more nuanced evaluation of Borlaug’s legacy, be sure and read this piece by historian Nick Cullather.

Beyond GDP

Economist and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz has written a news article about the conclusions of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, which he chaired. He argues against the use of GDP as a metric for societal well-being and advocates the use of indicators that account for environmental sustainability. “Just as a firm needs to measure the depreciation of its capital, so, too, our national accounts need to reflect the depletion of natural resources and the degradation of our environment.” Will Wilkinson writes in defense of GDP here, while Ezra Klein points out that alternatives to GDP are plentiful, but they simply  have not been popularized.

Institutions?

In an interesting post, economist William Easterly discusses a recent paper critiquing notions of “institutions” and “rule of law” widely used in development economics research. “What if ‘institutions’ are yet another item in the long list of panaceas offered by development economists that don’t actually help anyone develop?”

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