The Discomfort Zone: Latest post

India should refuse UK development aid

The British debate on aid to India, triggered by a rejection of the UK's Typhoon aircraft, is very short-sighted. India should unilaterally preempt it by banning aid from Britain. You keep your aid money, we will keep our freedom to make our own decisions which we gained when you left the country in 1947.

Education

What Have we Learnt from OLPC?

Proponents of the OLPC assert that it is “changing education”, transforming students into self-learners, and making “discussions about whether to have computers in the classroom” obsolete. But in a world where schools still struggle to have a building and a blackboard, surely such enthusiasm is overstated.

Lessons for India in America’s Academic Achievement Gap

The state of the US primary education system has important lessons for Indian policymakers. India’s goal should be to decouple educational performance from socioeconomic background. But this requires treating the problem of access to, not just quality of, education.

Politics

India should refuse UK development aid

The British debate on aid to India, triggered by a rejection of the UK’s Typhoon aircraft, is very short-sighted. India should unilaterally preempt it by banning aid from Britain. You keep your aid money, we will keep our freedom to make our own decisions which we gained when you left the country in 1947.

In India, an attempt to outsource the fight against corruption

Anna Hazare may have placed corruption front and center on the public agenda. But the proposed solution will undermine India’s political system, which is working for many, and only shift the problem elsewhere.

Environment

BP will pay for the Gulf oil spill, but will the rest?

The true tragedy of the Gulf oil spill is that the political posturing of Obama and Congress will prevent those really responsible from being held accountable.

There is Nothing Wrong with Climate Litigation

The WSJ argues that climate litigation is both frivolous, anti-business, and sets and a dangerous precedent leading to an anarchic world. Yet, a long history of litigation suggests that society is better for it. Despite the costs involved, the principle should simply be to let the truth prevail.

Health

What kind of patent protection does India want?

The rejection of Bayer’s patent case in India is a landmark in defining the process by which patents are enforcable. It settles important questions on the limits of automatic patent protection provided by the system, providing a balance between private profit and public good.

Introducing Global Health Ideas.org

Health policy and practice continue to be key issues on the development agenda. A short introduction to Global Health Ideas – a blog that has been following changes in that agenda and now has a new home.

Welcome to The Discomfort Zone

The Discomfort Zone is an online magazine presenting critical and objective opinion and analysis on issues pertinent to the developing world and to internationalĀ development. It brings forth a global perspective to question the policy and practice of development.

Recent Posts

Should taxpayers subsidize philanthropists?
Should taxpayers subsidize philanthropists?
January 17, 2012

The Huffington Post carries a rare critique of big-ticket philanthropy. As philanthropists gain more influence and tread on issues previously in the public space, does the taxpayer have to subsidize their view on how public financing should be spent?

The OLPC (should be) Dead, Let Live the Aakash
January 9, 2012

The OLPC project will launch its third iteration at this years CES, but 6 years after launch it may still not reach the elusive USD 100 target. Meanwhile, a small startup in Canada has orders to ship 2 million of its USD 50 tablets to Indian consumers. It is time the OLPC was put to rest.

Coordinating emerging donor aid – a nonstarter?
September 23, 2011

As emerging donors have challenged the established foreign aid universe, pressure has grown on them to collaborate with traditional donors. However, such calls are likely to yield few results – new and traditional donors have substantially different objectives. Most important, traditional donors demand coordination but offer nothing in return.

In India, an attempt to outsource the fight against corruption
In India, an attempt to outsource the fight against corruption
April 29, 2011

Anna Hazare may have placed corruption front and center on the public agenda. But the proposed solution will undermine India’s political system, which is working for many, and only shift the problem elsewhere.

Microfinance backlash underlines contradictions of social business
Microfinance backlash underlines contradictions of social business
January 17, 2011

The backlash against microfinance in India has exposed a fundamental contradiction of social businesses – that they are essentially businesses. Private capital may help them grow but it brings with it a strong tendency to turn social businesses from being social to being businesses.

Is their a better dream than the American Dream?
Is their a better dream than the American Dream?
December 21, 2010

There are at least two ways to measure a society ā€“ to what extent is it equal and to what extent is it just. America has failed on both counts. Developing countries, looking to growth must find better ways to protect their own populations from the vagaries of destiny and birth.

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