Links I Like [11.14]

1. Should Political Science Research Influence Politics? Chris Blattman on the ethics of doing research that actually tries to makes things better in the real world

2. Always Regulated, Never Protected: How Markets Work
Money quote: “At the same time, the argument that what conflict-affected countries need is an increase in good jobs – for stronger growth and safer societies – is compelling yet reductive. For one thing, the data required to support the idea that unemployment breeds violence simply do not exist. For another, the mainstream economic policy lens renders most women’s work invisible, consigning participation in the reproductive economy to the margins. And finally, the evidence we do have actually suggests that the main problem tends not to be that people aren’t working, but that they are forced and locked into forms of economic activity that are exploitative and which fail to produce much in the way of decent returns. In many developing countries, underemployment is a far greater problem. People are working, but the labour market is not working for them. Millions end up in forms of self-employment, arguably not because they are ‘born entrepreneurs’ but rather out of a lack of viable alternatives.”

3. How Can Faith Based Groups Get Better at Campaigning for Climate Change? A Biblical climate change policy proposal

4. Private Sector Development Policy Innovation Lab – Call for for Innovative Ideas on SME Growth and Entrepreneurship

5. Health Tip: Find Purpose in Life The science behind theology

6. The Hipster Effect: When Anticonformists All Look the Same The applied math behind why people who can be described as being different from everyone, always look the same

Field Notes

Tuesday is market day in Kitale. Walk, drive, or ride through the center of town and you will see hundreds of sellers hawking for the business of passersby. Everything anyone would need from second-hand clothing to fruits and vegetables to Internet and phone scratch cards. Through the somehow organized madness, I travel with my partner for the day, Pastor Ashivaga from Friends Church in Kitale.

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Stories from the North

Last week our group returned from spending ten days traveling around the Northern regions of Ghana. Ghana is about the size of Indiana and it took us two days to travel from Accra on the southern coast of Ghana to Tamale the capital of the Northern Region of Ghana. This shows how difficult it can be, at times, to travel on roads here in Ghana. Especially as we moved more and more north the roads became more and more dusty and filled with potholes. We were very busy through the trip visiting several NGOs, (including a day with World Vision) observing the production process of shea butter and pito (beer brewed from millet), and even passing into Burkina Faso for a short time. I thoroughly enjoyed myself during this latest excursion. In fact this may have been my favorite trip I have taken so far in Ghana. I really appreciated the richness of our experiences, the fellowship with our group, and the time away from my ‘normal’ life back in Accra.

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Tro-troing is a word I made up. It is a verb that means to ride on tro-tros with no real destination in mind. I did this Saturday afternoon. It was a nice day. I had most of my class assignments under control. I had just spent the entire previous week, including the internship days, in the classroom at the Institute of African Studies. I was feeling a little restless. So I walked down to the Opongolo bus stop and decided to get in the first tro-tro that came my way. I hopped on the old beaten-up bus and learned I was heading to Circle. I had been there once before but had only done marginal exploring so I was happy with my choice, luck, God-ordained-plan; whatever you want to call it.

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