Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD in the News

December 13, 2013

Changes to Bangladesh garment industry grind ahead, but slowly (Washington Post)

From the Article:

A separate governmental effort to finish a new set of regulations for the garment industry has taken longer than expected, and there is concern that the upcoming elections may put it off even longer.

The inspections backed by European and U.S. retailers may improve conditions over time, but more durable change will require the Bangladeshi government to build a regulatory system that can keep pace with the industry, said Kim Elliott, a researcher at the Center for Global Development who recently visited the country.

“The whole premise of improving the labor system depends on building government, as well as industrial, capacity,” Elliott said. “Whether that can happen in the current environment is questionable.”

Read it here

December 13, 2013

Linked Out: The Case for Sending America's Unemployed Abroad (Foreign Policy)

From the Article:

"Exporting the unemployed may sound radical, even cruel, but the quest for jobs has been a driving force behind global migration -- and population growth in the New World -- for centuries. More than 55 million Europeans, many desperate and poor, migrated to the Americas between 1846 and 1940, for example -- often with a "good riddance" from their home governments. And in the past few years, those movements have started up again. When crippling unemployment throttled Spain, some 30,000 Spaniards upped and moved to Argentina between June 2009 and November 2010. The Portuguese, meanwhile, beset by debt and slow growth at home, are heading to Brazil and oil-rich Angola. Between 2008 and 2011 alone, more than 1 percent of the Portuguese population moved to just that one African country. (In terms of relative population, that would be the same as 3 million Americans packing up and shipping off to their country's ex-colony, the Philippines, in search of a better life.)

But Americans haven't been searching for a better life somewhere else on nearly the same scale. According to the State Department, only about 6.3 million U.S. citizens live abroad, or around 2 percent of the domestic population. In relative terms, that's pathetic. About 5.5 million British people live permanently abroad, almost five times the U.S. level in per capita terms. Maybe they're trying to escape the lousy weather, but it isn't like Brits have natural advantages over Americans as travelers. British people are almost as bad at speaking other languages as Americans are, and in terms of haughty isolationism and disdain for foreigners, surely Brits are worse. (I'm allowed say this -- I'm British.)"

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December 13, 2013

Remembering Nelson Mandela's Unsung Economic Legacy (Bloomberg Businessweek)

From the Article:

"Mandela believed strongly in the link between economic and political progress. Soon after his release from prison, Mandela argued that there must be “a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed.” At the core of white minority rule had been the “homelands”: a system that kept almost half of South Africa’s population confined to semi-independent or supposedly sovereign states without the freedom to move or look for jobs in the rest of the country. The collapse of apartheid meant the end of those restrictions. The myriad legal restraints that prevented blacks and “coloreds” from gaining promotions—or access to jobs at all—were removed as well. From a state made up of 11 “countries” and three legally distinct racial groups—all with markedly different rights to move, work, and invest—South Africa became one economy. Think of it as opening borders to mass migration under the worst possible circumstances."

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December 13, 2013

How Open Immigration Could Double the Global Economy (The Week)

From the Article:

"...[M]any economists want to go further and move toward a world of open borders and totally unrestricted immigration.

Why? We live in a world where job opportunities are spread out across the face of the globe. By giving individuals the freedom of movement to work anywhere, we let people specialize in what they are best at.

According to the paper "Economics and Emigration: Trillion-Dollar Bills on the Sidewalk?" (2011) by Michael Clemens at the Center for Global Development, open borders could lead to a one-time boost in world economic activity of about 50 to 150 percent. That would be enough to lift billions out of poverty and it could come about simply from lifting restrictions on human movement and letting people find their niche in the global economy."

Read it here

December 13, 2013

How Americans Feel About Global Poverty in Three Charts (ThinkProgress)

From the Article:

"The new study comes from the Center for Global Development, a well-regarded think tank that focuses on development issues. CGD developed a “Commitment to Development” Index, which measured the contributions a country made to help people in need around the world in six different sectors. That doesn’t just mean the quality and quantity of foreign aid and private charity; in the “security” sector, for example, a country lost points when it sold weapons to repressive governments and gained it for contributing to U.N. peacekeeping operations. They also measured the impacts of a country’s immigration policy, trade barriers, financial investments, environmental protection, and technology development — each of which can have dramatic effects on people in dire straits."

Read it here

December 13, 2013

Poor Countries Need Relief from Climate Change. They Need Electricity More. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

From the Article:

"Last week, environmental campaigners walked out en masse from the U.N. climate talks taking place in Warsaw. The conference hadn’t been shaping up to be a great success: During the meetings, Japan announced that, rather than cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by one-quarter below 1990 levels, it would actually increase them by 3 percent, largely because of the country’s decision to end its nuclear program.

Campaigners pointed out that those with the most to lose from the failure of the climate talks are the world’s poorest people—certain to suffer the greatest impact of the floods, droughts, and rising temperatures that climate change is bringing. At the same time, the world’s poorest people are also those with the lowest access to modern sources of energy such as electricity and natural gas. In order to foster economic growth and improvements in health, developing countries will need to generate huge amounts of additional power. How to achieve considerable reductions in carbon dioxide at a time of massive increases in global energy consumption is of the most complex—and urgent—challenges facing policymakers in the developed world."

Read it here

December 13, 2013

Fighter of Corruption in Nigeria Considers Next Steps (New York Times)

From the Article:

"At 53, he has been celebrated inside Nigeria and beyond for his five-year tenure as chief of the anticorruption unit, beginning in 2003.

In that time he built the unit, called the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, into Nigeria’s largest anticorruption agency, with over 1,200 employees in six offices across Nigeria. He successfully prosecuted in 2005 Tafa Balogun, an inspector general of police who had resigned. Mr. Balogun pleaded guilty to failing to declare his assets. Mr. Ribadu arrested Mr. Ibori, the former governor of Delta State, in December 2007. He prosecuted 10 prominent national public figures, including nine governors.

His reputation gained luster only after he was forced from office in 2008 and into exile after what he said were assassination attempts, after he tried to prosecute corrupt politicians. He was appointed a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington and was also a senior fellow at St. Antony’s College, Oxford."

Read it here

November 13, 2013

Making Every Dollar Count in the Fight Against AIDS, TB, and Malaria (PSI Impact)

From the article:

In the poorest countries of the world, millions of people still suffer and die from easily preventable diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and polio. The world has responded to this scandal by pouring billions of dollars of aid into health through organizations like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the GAVI Alliance.

Developing country governments themselves are also spending much more on health.

But how do we know if all of this spending is actually improving people’s health? How do we know that when a child in rural Tanzania has a fever, she gets diagnosed correctly and treatment is available? Or how do we know that a baby born in Kenya to a mother with HIV will be able to receive life-saving antiretrovirals?

Often, we don’t. And that too is a scandal.

Read it here.

November 12, 2013

Call for FAO to Shift Focus (IRIN)

From the Article:

"We think by 2050, there will be two billion more people on the planet. There are a number of factors affecting the supply of food, including climate change and other factors that might cause volatility in the production of food,” said Vijaya Ramachandran, lead author of the 21 October report. 

“We need to worry about having a proper agency that will guide the thinking and policy dialogue around increasing the productivity of agriculture and increasing our food supply." 

The working group argues that FAO is the right forum to do this. “FAO offers legitimacy, convening authority, and the trust of developing-country governments,” wrote the authors. “Moreover, it is the only entity that can provide many of the needed 'global public goods' in the area of its mandate (such as basic research, global analysis, statistics, international standards, and advocacy).” 

But the report warned that FAO “risks squandering its potential at a time when demand for food is rising fast, supplies are under threat, and hundreds of millions of people already don’t have enough to eat.” 

Read it here

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