Blog Archives

Guns, Toilets, and Steel: Different customs regarding humanure explain a lot of the differences in economic development.

The Humanure Handbook, by Joseph Jenkins, is a pioneering guide for people who want a simple composting toilet system.  I have used toilets that were inspired by the Handbook both in Guatemala and at a community a couple hours drive

Posted in Development

Corporations see a high-income world even though it is mainly middle-income

OpenStax is another high-quality open-source economics textbook provider and they produced a graph comparing the distribution of global income versus the distribution of global population. Hans Rosling found that most people incorrectly think that most of the world is poor,

Posted in Development, Globalization & International

How did the printing press revolutionize the world?

The Population Resource Bureau estimates that nearly 7% of the total population of humans who have ever been born are currently alive today.  I’m guessing that is a overestimate if anything because they base their estimate on a model where

Posted in Development

Fact checking Vox’s new product placement series. (They blew it on Pedialyte.)

Vox.com has a new series called The Goods whose first article has the kind of journalistic quality (or lack thereof) you would expect in a series that seems to be purely about product placement. The article, by Kaitlyn Tiffany, is about

Posted in Development, Health

If there were a collapse of civilization, could people go back to hunting for survival?

I talk about some of history’s horrible famines in my economic development classes and the difficulty of getting enough food in Malthusian societies. Sometimes, some of my students ask why people starved rather than going out to hunt for food.

Posted in Development

The biggest health achievement in the United States in the last half century?

Kristof @ NYT: Let’s break for a quiz: What was the biggest health care breakthrough in the last 40 years in the United States? Heart bypasses? CAT scans and M.R.I.’s? New cancer treatments? No, it was the cigarette tax. Every

Posted in Health, Millionaire Superheroes

Would universal health care boost growth in developing nations?

The Economist Magazine argues that the entire world should adopt universal health care because universal health care is both desirable and possible, even in low-income countries. Some countries achieved near-universal coverage when they were still relatively poor. Japan reached 80%

Posted in Development, Health

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