Sam Boyd

Sam Boyd is a former assistant web editor at the Prospect

Recent Articles

Help Beyond Aid

In his new book, The Bottom Billion, Paul Collier pushes development economists to broaden their approach.

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It by Paul Collier (Oxford University Press, 222 Pages) --- The last several years have witnessed the sudden growth of a nonfiction genre: the big development book. Each entry typically starts with a discussion of just how poor much of the world is, and then goes on to explain why and what is to be done. Joe Stiglitz, Jagdish Bhagwati, and many other leading economists have contributed, in one way or another, to the massive popular literature on development. Indeed, I can think of no other academic field where top researchers write so many books aimed at the general public. Most notably, Jeff Sachs argued for vastly expanded aid in The End of Poverty, while William Easterly mocked this approach in his The White Man’s Burden . Sachs believes that poor countries are stuck in a “poverty trap” in which the very fact they are poor keeps them from developing further. Under this theory, all the poorest...

THE PUNDITS CAN'T...

THE PUNDITS CAN'T DECIDE WHY THEY DON'T HAVE A CRUSH ON OBAMA. In general, I resist claims about which candidates "the media" does and doesn't like. True, there is a real hostility to John Edwards and there was a time when "the media" really was John McCain 's base. Still, viewing coverage only through this lens often obscures more than it reveals. That said, I've been dismayed by just how unfair (and that's really the only word I can use) the media has been in its coverage of the recent Clinton - Obama fight (see my previous post for more on that). Initially many argued that Clinton won the debate: Of the top tier candidates, there now appears to be little doubt as to who is the best debater: it's the senator from New York. Again last night Clinton was at the center of almost every conversation and she shined on the few tough(er) questions asked of her... And, again, Clinton drove home the experience issue with her response to the question over whether or not she would agree to meet...

CLINTON WON THE...

CLINTON WON THE BATTLE, OBAMA IS WINNING THE WAR. Improbably, the Clinton - Obama fight is still going strong and, also improbably, Obama now seems to have the upper hand. How do I know? In the first 24 hours after the debate it was Obama who was arguing Clinton was distorting his position, now it's Clinton's surrogates who are arguing Obama is distorting her statement. As Marc Ambinder pointed out , It's never a good thing in politics to say "what I meant to say was." That's the position Obama was in shortly after the debate: [Clinton is] somehow maintaining [that] my statement could be construed as not having asked what the meeting was about. I didn't say these guys were going to come over for a cup of coffee some afternoon. From what I heard the point was well, I wouldn't do that because it might allow leaders like Hugo Chavez to score propaganda points. I think that is absolutely wrong. Yet, in a deeply impressive bit of street-fighting the Obama campaign has managed to turn what...

CAN WE NOT LET THE CLEAVAGE CONVERSATION BEGIN?

CAN WE NOT LET THE CLEAVAGE CONVERSATION BEGIN? The Washington Post today has an article defending it's recent style section piece on Hillary Clinton 's neckline: "Let the Cleavage Conversation Begin." How about not? Pretty please? The article is a completely vapid attempt to justify what was itself a completely vapid piece that was rightly derided and condemned by pretty much everyone. The best part is the author of the original piece's defense: People have gone down the road of saying, 'I can't believe you're writing about her breasts.' I wasn't writing about her breasts. I was writing about her neckline." Because that's so much better. Seriously if this turns into the next haircut controversy I'm going to lose it completely. We all know Hillary Clinton has breasts, a month of the media talking about them isn't going to do anyone any good. In fact, I'm pretty sure it'll do a lot of bad... --Sam Boyd

CONSERVATIVES ARE TURNING JAPANESE, I REALLY THINK SO.

CONSERVATIVES ARE TURNING JAPANESE, I REALLY THINK SO. Perhaps because conservatism in the U.S. is collapsing faster than the Tour de France , Republicans have recently consoled themselves with foreign elections. Most recently they spent a good deal of time crowing about the victory of Nicolas Sarkozy in France (better not tell them about his fondness for national-champion industries), and now they're turning their attention to Japan, where the ruling LDP faces a tough election this weekend. Not only do they support the conservative, corrupt and generally hidebound LDP, they specifically support Shinzo "Comfort women? What comfort women?" Abe (see this article by Matt Sledge for more on that) because he has the most pro-U.S. and anti-Chinese foreign policy vision. In particular, the good folks at AEI like his plan to "integrating East Asia into a common economic bloc and linking democracies in the region to create an 'arc of freedom and prosperity'" -- a "co-prosperity sphere" you...

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