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Important note: Definition of “aid”

I use a very broad definition of aid.

Because we all know that when it comes down to it, “traditional” aid contributes little to development.

“Aid” for me is anything that improves well-being (well-being is also not the same thing as income). Could a political protest be aid? Yes. Could improving investment climate be aid? Yes.

Why not just call it “development”? Things can develop on their own, and I would like to imply agents (of the “do with”, not “do to” kind). I also think it’s a good idea to nudge those with a more traditional view of aid to consider a wider range of possibilities. It’s a reclaiming of the term.


Honouring others

A lot of smart people work in development.

Those who blog include (but I am sure this list is incomplete!):

http://www.chrisblattman.com/
http://www.whydev.org/
http://www.how-matters.org/
http://www.owen.org/blog
http://blogs.cgdev.org/globaldevelopment/
http://rodrik.typepad.com/
http://bloodandmilk.org/
http://nyudri.org/

What am I missing? Because I am certain to have missed some good ones.

There are also many other blogs I love that unfortunately don’t quite fall into the category of development. In fact, I tend to love these ones best, to learn outside my area.


The Kickstarter

The behind-the-scenes story of the Kickstarter is that these meta-analyses were going to happen anyway. I get involved in things, and somehow I ended up getting involved to the point of having my apartment be used as an office for students while I’m off at work. Typical.

But the more you do, the more it gets difficult to coordinate things without money being involved.

I believe the cause is good. I believe it is only one small part, but a useful part. Packaging it into a book is only for the benefit of the Kickstarter; it wasn’t the goal.

The development community is an intensely cynical and skeptical community — through experience. Many people do development/aid/charity to make themselves look good. If anything, I think this Kickstarter threatens to make me look bad. It looks blatantly self-promotional (though it is all for the student team), but I’m just following the format of other Kickstarters and I don’t know how else to sell it without putting myself out there. I’m better situated to do that than the student team, after all.

Fortunately, throughout life, I’ve noticed that if I’m open and honest and cheery, people somehow end up liking me. So here goes nothing.


Hello, world: Why I’m blogging

I’ve decided that in this day and age, I need a “platform”. For a shy person, this is horrible. But I care about the issues, so c’est la vie.

Why I’m blogging:

1) Because I hate putting myself out there, actually. Does that sound strange? I hate it, so I’ll do more of it? I figure a blog is a good way to defend myself and explain my views in more depth than I can via twitter, e-mail, etc. I don’t like giving short shrift to more complicated issues.

2) I have something to say. I have spent a large part of the past 10 years thinking of how best to help the world, so I’d like to think that occasionally I have something important or useful to say.


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