On Bailouts, Boons and Bill Clinton

So living in New York City has made it damn near impossible to not be wrapped up in the minute by minute saga that is the US financial crisis. Moreover, the fact that here at Stern Business School, over 50% of our job prospects have evaporated with the slew of bankruptcies and buyouts has effectively forced this issue to the fore of nearly all of my conversations with people.

Given the magnitude, surprise and potential dangers of this crisis, I am about to break one of the unofficial rules of this blog and actually talk about something that is happening outside of India’s borders. I am doing this for three reasons: first, the effects of this financial crisis will no doubt have ripple effects the world over including people all the way in rural India; second, this financial crisis has very unique characteristics that we can learn from with regard to microfinance; and third, the global implications of how the US deals with this crisis has huge symbolic and practical ramifications.

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Ceding the floor to the other side, even if just for a moment

The greater point is that not all products and services are the same, and in some cases creating sustainable markets may be all but impossible. Though it is certainly not “ideologically attractive,” I strongly believe Kremer and Miguel are correct in reminding us that for at last some essential public goods and services “There may simply be no alternative to ongoing subsidies financed by tax revenue raised either from local or national governments, or international donors.”

This is the penultimate paragraph of a great post by Dan Kopf on the India Development Blog. It recognizes an unfortunate yet necessary limitation to the quest for finding sustainable solutions for some problems. Sometimes, you cannot do it. But the most poignant comment of this post is the recognition that accepting that such goods exist will be very unpopular in today’s development community.

The paper that Knopf referrs to, titled the “Illusion of Sustainability”, can be found here.

Gore launches Climate Project-India, job opportunities

Brought to our attention by Tim Fox at the India Development Blog, Al Gore has recently launched The Climate Project-India. Fox actually noted in his recent blog post that he has been selected as one of the workshop participants. The website is rather bare right now, however, over the next few weeks and months the initiative intends to build up a resource for the India people on climate change and global warming. If you are interested in learning email here, and if you are interested in finding a way to join click here.