Good Intentions and Unneeded Courtyard Fountains*

I’ve been telling everyone that this is my first time in Latin America, but it’s not quite true, since I’ve gone with my family a few times to gringo-filled destinations in Mexico.  Without a doubt, our family vacations inevitably found us staying in places with some borderline-catastrophic flaw.  There was, for example, the apartment in… Continue reading Good Intentions and Unneeded Courtyard Fountains*

We’re all dumb

Kristof has an interesting column in the New York Times today, subtly entitled “Moonshine or the Kids.”  In it, he describes a “politically incorrect, heartbreaking, frustrating, and ubiquitous” truth: poor people do stupid things with their money.  He cites two MIT economists—Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo (who is totally hot right now)—that calculated that even… Continue reading We’re all dumb


The following is a brief excursus on the social science disciplines which should be of interest to absolutely no one.  It should not be confused with the similarly titled article by Emily Sands ’09, who is brilliant. I’ve already many times registered my frustration with much of the criticism of development coming from the academy. … Continue reading Sexy-Nomics

In Defense of Clowning (as a development strategy, that is)

Make no mistake.  We do not study development at Oxford in order to help people.  The job of development studies scholars is to attack and dismantle the well-intentioned ideas of others who (naively) actually think they can help people. This week, in my history and politics course, we discussed Mahmood Mamdami’s Saviours and Survivors, which… Continue reading In Defense of Clowning (as a development strategy, that is)

Giving Well

The ideas in this post were mostly bouncing around in my head at Christmastime, but with today being the one month anniversary of the quake in Haiti—and having just attended a panel on the international community’s response to said disaster—these things seemed suddenly relevant again. – – – – – The first proper summer job… Continue reading Giving Well

PIRATES; or, irrational enthusiasm about ongoing tragedy in Somalia

In general, I try to make sure that most of the posts I write for my blog have at least least some “value-added” behind them.  That is, if I’m not reporting on things I’ve done in my life, I at least try to provide my own original spin on things happening elsewhere.  Tonight, though, I’m… Continue reading PIRATES; or, irrational enthusiasm about ongoing tragedy in Somalia