Saturday, September 18, 2010

Incentives in Social Engineering

"If we miss the goals, who is going to punish us?" asked Esther Duflo, a development expert (and Macarthur Fellow, and Clark awardee) at M.I.T. "Nobody is going to come from Mars and say, 'You didn’t reach the goals, so we will invade' — there is no onus." The article addresses accountability problems with the U.N.'s approaches to fighting poverty. Maybe we need an X-Prize for measurable, realistic milestones in development?

Oddly, the types of private institutional giving discussed in the second link above (for example, the Gates Foundation) is proving difficult to get off the ground in the rising Number Two economy, China - not just because Chinese billionaires are cheap, but because the Chinese government doesn't want competition, even if it means faster improvement for its citizens.

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