Global Ideas News Brief: Market measurement + Easterly's book

Global Ideas News Brief: Market measurement + Easterly's book

Laborers work on a road in the Central African Republic. The country's war threatens progress in the country as it spirals into greater violence. Photo: Jenny Vaughan/Mercy Corps.

Measuring the Indirect Impacts of Market Innovators
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Conventional wisdom insists, “If you can’t measure impact, it doesn’t exist.” The pressure has never been higher on nonprofits, donors, aid organizations, and impact investors to demonstrate that we’re achieving what we’ve promised. Anecdotes, imagery, and faith no longer cut it.

Government

Highly Educated Countries Have Better Governments
The Atlantic
Why? Citizens complain more, forcing officials to be more accountable.

Pyongyang’s Hunger Games
NYT Op-Ed
The UN’s report on North Korea, released last month, contains so many tragic findings that it is difficult to grasp the scale of the crimes described. But the world owes it to the North Korean victims to focus on a figure buried in paragraph 664 of the commission’s report: $645,800,000. That is what the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, is said to have squandered in 2012 on “luxury goods."

A Rare Government Success Story for Women’s Empowerment in Kerala
NYT
In a country that has been criticized as lacking commitment to women’s rights, one program in the southwest state of Kerala has been quietly serving as an example that a government can indeed successfully empower women, both economically and socially.

Education and innovation

Welcome To World Science U, Where Anyone Can Learn Einstein Online
Fast.Co.Exist
At a time when companies and universities that run massive open online courses are struggling to prove their value, Columbia University professor and physicist Brian Greene thinks he has a new and potentially more effective way to teach students online: World Science U, a science education platform that offers everything from two-minute educational videos to full-fledged university-level classes.

This Small Brick-Shaped Device Can Help Get Millions Of Africans Online
Fast.Co.Exist
Even in the biggest cities in Africa, it’s not easy to get (and stay) online. But this small brick-shaped device--called, appropriately, the BRCK--could help bring better connectivity to the entire continent and maybe to everywhere else, too.

Bill Easterly's book

The New Tyranny
Foreign Policy
Development professionals perpetrate an illusion that poverty is purely a technical problem, distracting attention away from the real cause: the unchecked power of the state against poor people without rights.

Why Bill Gates Can't Solve Problems For The World's Poor
Fast.Co.Exist
Respect for human rights, Bill Easterly argues, is what fuels spontaneous order and complex, adaptive, problem-solving systems in the messy, unpredictable, but wildly successful process that he calls "free development."

Aid

The Death of a Syrian Dream
The Atlantic
My father was one of the last survivors of a Syrian generation that witnessed independence but never finished building the state.

Unarmed and Dangerous
Foreign Policy
Kyakimwa Wangivirwa's story does not fall neatly into the narrative of "rape as a weapon of war" so often used to describe the plight of women in Congo. And hers isn't the only one.

North Korea: Better tomorrow?
The Economist
The world’s vilest regime flirts with economic reform.

The Central African Republic’s complex war, explained in the journey of a Muslim baby girl
Washington Post
Retracing an infant's journey from one tragic morning helps explain the complexities of the sectarian war engulfing the Central African Republic. It is a conflict so vicious that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned it could spiral into genocide and effectively partition the country.

Jewels Lie Beneath The Violence In The Central African Republic
NPR
Morning Mass began with a hymn on a recent Sunday at the Infant Jesus Catholic Church in the Central African Republic town of Bouar. The Rev. Dominic Mbarta fretted about his sermon. The previous Sunday, when a Polish priest at the church simply asked the congregation to refrain from killing their Muslim neighbors or looting abandoned Muslim houses, the priest was threatened.

Affleck, Feingold Draw Attention To Violence In Congo
NPR
David Greene talks to actor Ben Affleck and Russ Feingold, U.S. special envoy to Congo, about what can be done to stabilize a nation where conflict has been the norm for almost two decades.

Jobs and skills

Generate decent jobs 'or a billion people will remain in extreme poverty'
Guardian
Poverty reduction initiatives worldwide are having insufficient impact on the chronically poor, advisory group warns.

Interest

Little Town of Champions
The Atlantic
The village of Bekoji, in the highlands of Ethiopia, has produced long-distance runners who’ve won 16 Olympic medals in 20 years. What explains this remarkable success?

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