Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Links of Interest (9/9/08)

Thomas Friedman talks about his new book Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution- and How It Can Renew America(More here from Foreign Policy magazine: Seven Questions)

"Hot, Flat, and Crowded": There is a convergence of basically three large forces: one is global warming, which has been going on at a very slow pace since the industrial revolution; the second--what I call the flattening of the world--is a metaphor for the rise of middle-class citizens, from China to India to Brazil to Russia to Eastern Europe, who are beginning to consume like Americans. That's a blessing in so many ways--it's a blessing for global stability and for global growth ... And lastly, global population growth simply refers to the steady growth of population in general, but at the same time the growth of more and more people able to live this middle-class lifestyle. Between now and 2020, the world's going to add another billion people. And their resource demands--at every level--are going to be enormous. I tell the story in the book how, if we give each one of the next billion people on the planet just one sixty-watt incandescent light bulb, what it will mean: the answer is that it will require about 20 new 500-megawatt coal-burning power plants. That's so they can each turn on just one light bulb!

The green revolution is about how we produce abundant, cheap, clean, reliable electrons, which are the answer to the big problems we face in the world today. I would point to five problems, and they’re all related: Energy and resource supply and demand, petrodictatorship, climate change, biodiversity loss, and energy poverty. They all have one solution: abundant, cheap, clean, reliable electrons. The search for and the discovery of a source of those electrons is going to be the next great global industry. And I think the country that mounts a revolution to be the leader of that industry is going to be a country whose standard of living is going to improve, whose respect in the world is going to improve, whose air is going to improve, whose innovation is going to improve, and whose national security is going to improve. That’s what this book is about.

10 worst ideas of McCain and Obama

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae: A rebuild or a teardown?

Bail out of NOC, a financially bankrupt state-owned enterprise in Nepal

Reforming without resourcing: The case of the urban water supply in Zambia

The commercialisation of the WSS in Zambia has proven to be less than effective because of inherent design flaws. The reforms stressed tariff rationalisation and cuts in government transfers. At present, commercial utilities persist in a “vicious circle” of low investment levels, high system losses, unaffordable tariffs and low access levels. The commercial improving the effectiveness of cross-subsidisation and ensuring the utilities’ financial viability, since such a step would help reduce the unit cost of production through both the scale effects and lower UFW rates.

Is the conditionally necessary in CCT Programmes? Evidence from Mexico

Our results show that the benefits of conditionalities can be large. They could also be made much more efficient by  calibrating the design of programmes based on the heterogeneity of the effect of the conditionality, they could be much more efficient.

Microfinance meets the market