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CGD Policy Blogs


In Support of the Priority Review Voucher for Neglected Tropical Diseases

I'm tired of the Priority Review Voucher (PRV)-bashing. For those unaware of the PRV program, it is a new bipartisan incentive mechanism passed by Congress and signed into law in September of 2007. The legislation rewards the sponsor of a neglected tropical disease product with a tradable voucher upon its FDA approval. The voucher can then be used to obtain a priority (speedier) review for another product.

Where There Is No Vision, the People Will Refuse to Perish--But Do-Nothing Institutions Very Well Might

It's been a busy year for citizen action on carbon emissions. On September 11, a UK jury considered charges against six Greenpeace activists who tried to shut down the Kingsnorth power station in Kent, UK. Kingsnorth emits 12.8 million tons of CO2 annually -- among the top 150 of over 50,000 plants worldwide in our CARMA database. It will vault much higher in the rankings after its planned expansion increases its emissions to 24.8 million tons.

Rebuilding the Foundation for U.S. Trade Policy

Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) reportedly declined President-elect Obama's offer to be the new U.S. Trade Representative because he "came to the conclusion that [trade] wouldn't be priority number one, and it might not be number two or three." Given the enormous problems facing the American economy, and given American attitudes toward trade ranging from ambivalence to outright hostility, that is not surprising.

Zimbabwe's Funny Money and the Astrophysics of Hyperinflation

This is a joint posting with Robin Kraft

When I lived in Zimbabwe a mere 18 years ago, one U.S. dollar was worth about 2.5 Zimbabwe dollars. A few years later I returned and was shocked that the value of the local currency had fallen by more than 50% to Z$6: US$1. (How quaint!) Since the central bank has spent much of the last few years pointlessly trying to defy the laws of money supply -- printing more and more cash to pay its bills -- we are witnessing both hyperinflation (231 million % at last official count) and a mind-spinning vortex of collapsing value for the local currency. The government released a new Z$500 million note last week. As of last Friday, this was worth around US$10. But let's not forget that 14 zeros have been lopped off the currency in the past two years. Thus, using the original Zim dollar (I must still have a few in an old backpack) the exchange rate is really US$1 to:

Z$ 5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000