Occasional Links 16

International Development:

1) Derek Newberry of NextBillion.net believes microcredit is better than fairtrade:

While I personally believe we should continue lobbying large multi-nationals to employ strong labor practices, it is much easier to go straight to the source- empowering producers at the BOP with a good reason to provide a livelihood for themselves rather than spending those resources attempting to monitor large companies that may have strong incentives to bend the rules.

…Given limited resources, I would be more inclined to take the same route as the Gates Foundation, spending resources on assisting those with the most incentive to take care of the well-being of BOP employees – the BOP themselves. Giving self-sustaining support to very small businesses may not have the same immediate impact as lobbying Starbucks to buy fair-trade, but at least you’ll have to spend much less making sure those Pro Mujer entrepreneurs are actually taking care of themselves.

I’m not sure his portrayal of the fairtrade system is totally accurate. However, he does bring up an important point: microcredit provides great incentives for the poor themselves to do well whereas fairtrade is more driven by consumers and consumer power. I also think the fairtrade system is a more complicated (with certifications, monitoring, etc.) and costly method as compared to microcredit schemes. See also Derek’s other post.

2) Christine Bowers of the World Bank PSD Blog comments on Prahalad’s talk at the World Bank, interpreting some stuff he said as a criticism of William Easterly’s localized, small-scaled, “searcher” approach to development. Here’s what Prahalad said:

You cannot solve the problem [of poverty] with highly localized, small-scale experiments. If you can’t touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, it doesn’t matter.

3) Owen Barder shares his goals as a manager in the Department for International Development (DfID) in the UK.

Politics & Economics:

4) Inspired by The Euston Manifesto, New American Liberalism was founded to develop a new vision of American liberalism. Reports by United Press International, New York Sun and The Boston Globe.

5) We saved the Europeans in Kosovo. Why not the Africans in Darfur?

Progressive Christianity:

6) Ben Witherington on the Amish, pacifism and forgiveness. A Mennonite pastor writes about the Amish’s powerful weapons of mass forgiveness. Fact: the Nickel Mine School Victims Fund, a fund set up for the families of the victims, will benefit the family of the murderer too – at the request of the Amish. Fact: the family of the slain victims invited the wife of the murderer to attend the private funerals of the victims. Fact: the grandfather of one of the victims said this of the murderer,

We must not think evil of this man.

Reading about the grace and forgiveness extended by the Amish to the murderer and his family has astounded so many people. What a wonderful testimony of true biblical Christianity!

7) A history of evangelicalism.

8) I like this: A Christian Manifesto for People Who Aren’t Great Theologians.


9) Recess for kids fosters creativity, social skills, conflict resolution skills, negotiation skills and even leadership.

10) Imagine This: George Bush for peace!