development

Why Nations Fail

Professor Robinson joins us for a candid discussion about his book, ‘Why Nations Fail’. In it, he makes the case that the key differentiator between countries is “institutions.” Nations thrive when they develop “inclusive” political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become “extractive” and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few.

Dig Deeper

Take a look at some of the book reviews on “Why Nations Fail”:

Afghanistan, Poppy, and Saffron

Afghanistan is the world’s largest supplier of heroin and opium. The Afghan government, United Nations, and other international stakeholders have tried endlessly to prevent Afghan farmers from growing poppy, the plant used to produce heroin, but farmers often find themselves in a situation where they are threatened with violence, or left with little means for income. Read More

Landmines and Unexploded Ordnance

Special guest Jamie Franklin, Executive Director of Mines Advisory Group America, joins us for a discussion on the post-war effects of land mines and campaigns to eliminate them.  Read More

Human Rights and the Chocolate Industry

Nearly 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from western Africa, in countries such as Ghana and the Ivory Coast. In order to fill the global demand for chocolate, thousands of small cocoa farms often rely on slavery and child labor. Children ranging in ages from 5-16 are sent by their families with promises of education or additional income for a few months work, but often remain on cocoa farms through adulthood while being subjected to dangerous work environments. Cocoa farms, and sometimes even countries, are incentivized to use the cheapest possible means of labor in order to keep the price of cocoa globally competitive. Listen to this week’s episode for a discussion on the incentives driving these human rights abuses and why a boycott might be counterproductive.

Myanmar and Mobile Phones

Myanmar is experiencing one of the world’s fastest rollouts of mobile phones. What are the political, social, and economic effects of the smartphone revolution in Myanmar? Read More

H.E. Omar Arouna, Ambassador of Benin to the United States

[su_quote cite=”Ambassador Omar Arouna”]People need to watch Benin — the future of Africa will go through Benin.[/su_quote]

benin_mapThis episode originally aired in May 2016. Join us on our first installment of Conversations with Ambassadors as we sit down for a chat with Omar Arouna, the then Ambassador of the Republic of Benin to the United States, Mexico, and the Organization of American States (OAS).

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Universal Basic Income

What is universal basic income (UBI)? In this episode explore why people like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are advocating for UBI while others argue against it. Read More

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in Africa. This episode explores the dam’s potential benefits, development hurdles, and controversy. Read More

Finance Curse

How can a large influx of money into a country become a “curse” to its citizens? In this episode, we discuss how the finance curse can crash economies and upend livelihoods in developing nations. Read More

The Horn of Africa

The Horn of Africa is one of the most complex, diverse, and conflict-afflicted regions in the world. While much of the region continues to be mired in violence and instability, it remains a nexus of global trading routes and is growing in geopolitical importance. The global community cannot ignore its fate.

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