Saturday, March 05, 2005

Umbele Foundation

Some of you people have heard of the fantastic foundation started by Columbia Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin. It aims to provide, particularly young women, incentive to go to school and not have to deal with the opportunity cost issue of staying at home or working. It has been proven in economic studies to increase productivity of the workforce; and by that extension increase growth. It follows a similar idea put forth by former Mexican President and current Yale Professor Ernesto Zedillo and his Progresa initiative. A fantastic idea that aims to support a continent that has been strife by political unrest, famine and epidemics. Whereas it cannot solve those deep problems, what it can do is look at this particular question of declining economies and perhaps do what many people say Capitalism does do: increase opportunity, increase prosperity.

In any case: we are having here in this neck of the woods a faculty auction to support the organization, and one of the options was a book that is yet to come out called The End of Poverty by reknowned Economist Jeffrey Sachs. The autographed copy of this yet to be released; I am going to get it before most people book; is now mine. As I have purchased it in the auction. Highly touted by people around, I hope it is as good as I have heard. I am extremely excited about it.

If I ever find a greater love for math and problem sets, I shall follow Mr. Sachs and to an extent Mr. Sala-i-Martin and go for a PhD in Sustainable Development. Understanding the nuance relationships between what man must do and what he can do. Helping this world, a few dollars at a time, a few thoughts at time. If only we would stop paralyzing ourselves with petty bickering over what some professor wrote in an editorial about Israel, or over legitimacy of some constitution.

He who is without sin may cast the first stone; oh that isn't a possibility? Then at the very least let us cast out a few dollars, a few ideas and try to make this place more agreeable to live in, instead of suffocating in a pool of antagonisms.


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