Health Care

Explaining Concepts…Through Pretty Graphs

September 7, 2012

Complexity & Development
Last month, the Center for Global Development’s Owen Barder wrote a blog post about applying complexity theory to development work. Barder noted that the interaction between economic, political and social forces presents us with “complex adaptive systems,” with tremendous implications for policy. We’d say that with this kind of system a developmental evaluation may be a good thing to try. But others, like Esther Duflo at MIT’s Poverty Action Lab , argue that conventional evaluation methods apply—and are better…

Graphing Issues
Kudos go to The Economist’s Graphic Detail blog for explaining complicated subjects—say, foreign direct investment and national competitiveness—clearly and with some snazzy graphs. In fact, we’re big fans of their post on the “big mac index.” This index gets at the purchasing power of folks in different countries by comparing the price of…yes, a McDonald’s big mac. Needless to say, we have no plans to stop by Switzerland anytime soon.

The Ethics of Writing About Poverty
We’re currently reading a gem of a book: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. A journalist by trade, Boo leads us into a Mumbai slum and explores the lives of several of its inhabitants to probe for answers to larger questions about globalization and inequality. In a recent interview, she talked about the process of documenting these lives, her approach to writing about them, and the ethical implications of reporting poverty from the ground. For advocates on global poverty, Boo’s points are well taken.