Sunday, December 31, 2006

Why Economic Growth Matters

At its core, it's about reducing suffering so that we all have the economic freedom and opportunities to pursue better lives for ourselves and our families.

To quote William Easterly's "The Elusive Quest for Growth" (p.10):
Income increases are causing reduced mortality... the deaths of about half a million children in 1990 would have been averted if Africa's growth in the 1980s had been 1.5 percentage points higher
Economic growth isn't easy but it isn't nearly as complicated as some make them out to be. Over time, you'll probably find that I'll be quoting (probably over-quoting, and incessantly recommending) the following books and authors:

William Easterly's "The Elusive Quest for Growth"
Hernando De Soto's "The Mystery of Capital"
Brink Lindsey's "Against the Dead Hand"

Each in their own way, they look at what's worked and what hasn't - and ultimately, why the West developed when much of the rest of the world has lagged behind. They've built on the work of those like Milton Friedman and Adam Smith. While there are those who deride "capitalism"/"market failures" in its present state, it is demagoguery to suggest that the present state is the ideal when it is often government interventions and mismanagement that cause as many if not significantly more of the disruptions/injustices that exist.

I think we're all looking for the same results but the traditionalists and those who seek development from the bottom up, pursue very different means. Traditionalists resist market-based solutions in the name of anti-globalization, protectionism, environmentalism or just plain arrogance that they, being the elites must know better. The results can be devastating to those in whose names they champion their initiatives. As I blog, I hope to be able to explore each of these themes.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Watching... 'Blood Diamond (2006)'

Watching Blood Diamond a few weeks ago brought back memories of barrelling down squished in a minibus to Rwanda. It's a perverse irony that some of the most stunning and awesome views are home to some of the worst examples of human depravity.

Despite the first love scene and equally awkward underlying social message, I'd recommend it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you should run out to buy blood diamonds (or any diamond for that matter) but without diamonds will people stop killing each other?

The last time I checked, there isn't much by way of natural resources in Rwanda and as many as 1 million people were slaughtered (many hacked to death by machetes) there (or even Somalia for that matter). In the case of diamonds though, perhaps a more elegant solution would be to break stranglehold that De Beers has on the supply of diamonds. But maybe this will quickly happen on its own (read the whole thing - it's long, but fascinating).

One unintentional point that the movie made is poverty isn't caused by the lack of resources. But if you want some good storytelling, with a reasonably happy ending, see Blood Diamond.

The Beginning

Welcome to my blog. I'll keep my aims modest. Seeing as nearly all bloggers eventually fade away, if I blog much more than a few posts, I figure I'll have beaten the odds. My interests span from "social justice", investing, and entrepreneurship to business strategy. Thanks for visiting and I hope you'll (eventually) find something interesting and/or useful.