Can Silicon Valley Save the World?

Defeating global is the latest start-up trend. But is there really an app for that?

Economic development

Does It Take a Village?
Foreign Policy
Jeffrey Sachs dazzled the development world with his plan to end poverty. But now critics say there’s no way to prove whether it works.

Brazil’s Protests Reflect the Malaise of an Opportunity Lost
Wall Street Journal
The protests sweeping across Brazil’s biggest cities reflect a malaise into which Brazil, which over the last decade has lifted tens of millions out of poverty thanks to a long-running global commodities and domestic consumption boom, has slipped into over the last couple years.

Emerging Markets, Hitting a Wall
New York Times
A growth slowdown in the so-called BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — could be impeding the expansion of the global economy. Yet a graver problem may be lurking behind the headlines — namely, that sustained, meteoric growth in emerging economies may no longer be possible.

Why India Trails China
New York Times
The hope that India might overtake China one day in economic growth now seems a distant one. But that comparison is not what should worry Indians most. The far greater gap between India and China is in the provision of essential public services — a failing that depresses living standards and is a persistent drag on growth.

For Many Filipinos, Jobs and the Good Life Are Still Scarce
New York Times
The Philippines, with a 7.8 percent expansion of gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2013, has the fastest-growing economy in East Asia, surpassing even China’s. The country has a red-hot stock market, a strong currency and a steady stream of accolades and upgrades from international ratings agencies. But the poor are being left behind.

Politics

Foreign Policy’s annual Failed States Index

‘There’s No Such Thing as a Failed State’
Foreign Policy
The father of emerging markets says we shouldn’t give up on the world’s Somalias and Zimbabwes.

You Can’t Eat Sharia
Foreign Policy
Egypt is on the brink — not of something better than the old Mubarak dictatorship, but of something even worse.

The Invisible State
Foreign Policy
It’s time we admit the Democratic Republic of Congo does not exist.

Youth skills

The $250 billion question: Can China close the skills gap?
McKinsey on Society
China’s companies are failing to find the high-skilled workers they need, while individuals find themselves ill-prepared for the jobs that are available.

Ending Poverty by Giving the Poor Money
New York Times
Can you alleviate poverty by just giving money to the poor? A new study looked at a cash-transfer operation called the Youth Opportunities Program, run by Innovations for Poverty Action, a nonprofit development group. In the program, the Ugandan government offered young adults the chance to band together, submit a proposal and receive a big sum — equivalent to a year’s income per person — with no follow-up.

Agriculture

Biofuel project in Kenya ignites land, environmental disputes
LA Times
Foreign firms seeking land in Africa for biofuel crops run into opposition from communities and environmental activists despite promising jobs and development.

Climate

How Climate Change Will Affect The World’s Poorest, In One Eye-Opening Graphic
Fast Company’s Co.Exist
It’s easy to write-off a few hotter summers or a few more bad storms, but in the developing world, climate change has the potential to create truly devastating results.

Tech

The Continuing, Transformative Impact of IT
Wall Street Journal
Any technology expected to have a transformative impact on business over the next decade has to at least be already in the hands of leading-edge users. Disruptive innovations take time to play out. McKinsey estimates that over the coming decade, up to three billion additional people could connect to the Internet with mobile devices and wireless networks, and thus become part of the global digital economy.

Women taking computer classes in Mercy Corps INVEST program, Afghanistan. For many of these women, the opportunity for education is new. Photo: Toni Greaves for Mercy Corps.

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