I am a fan of Bill Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth" and "The White Man's Burden". He is the most consistently interesting and provocative development economist I know. Strafing the aid industry, as he does, takes courage: it offends most right-thinking people and is apt to make you unpopular except with bigots and misanthropes (and Bill is as far removed from those last two categories as anyone could be). The great man has just started blogging. Add "Aid Watch" to your bookmarks.
One of his first entries is about an invitation from the UNHCR to a "Refugee Run"--in Davos, if you can believe it. "Experience life as a refugee!" At first, Bill says, he thought this was a joke, as one would. I had to google for myself. Apparently, it isn't:
During the coming World Economic Forum, we will co-host a very moving event in which people "step into the shoes" of the world's 40 million refugees. For a moment in time, participants will be thrust into another environment where they face an attack from rebels, a "mine field", border corruption, language incapacity, black-marketeering and refugee camp survival. Following the event, a debrief will invite the participants to discuss the refugee situation and explore ways to assist, should they wish so. Invitations are being extended to WEF participants, Davos residents, schools, visitors, families and individuals.
I see that fewer bankers than usual are attending this year, perhaps because of all the attention being paid to corporate jets and pointless extravagance. Also, who can any longer listen deferentially to a banker's opinions? But what a missed opportunity. It could have been "A Run on the Banks"--with financiers pushed into an actual mine-field and "rebels" firing live ammunition. No idea is so good it cannot be improved on.
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