Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

CGD Policy Blogs


Ripost to Rupert

Rupert Scofield has replied to my retort to his review, etc. Clearly neither of us has swayed the other much, but I appreciate the friendliness and honesty, not to mention vividness, of his latest post.

He has conceded to me the argument over what the economic studies say. So his main thesis now is:

Leapfrogging Technology, the Case for Biometrics: Alan Gelb

This show was originally posted on January 11, 2011

In developed countries, official identification systems are a fact of life, providing the foundation for a myriad of transactions including elections, pension payments, and the legal system. Without functional ID systems, citizens of many developing countries miss out on the benefits of official identification. On this week’s Wonkcast, I am joined by CGD senior fellow Alan Gelb who has been researching the potential for new biometric technology, such as computerized finger printing and iris scans, to help poor countries leapfrog the long and complicated process of setting up ID systems.

Engagement Amid Austerity - Or How the United States Stays in the Game Despite Budget Pressures

This is a joint post with John Norris of the Center for American Progress.

Budget concerns will almost certainly put downward pressure on federal spending across a host of government programs for a number of years. Although some think it is almost heretical to point out the obvious, the international affairs budget will not be immune from this dynamic. In fact, international spending could take a disproportionate hit compared to domestic spending – despite the fact that discretionary international spending is a very small part of the overall budget puzzle.

International affairs, and more specifically foreign assistance, have rarely been popular budget items among the public or on Capitol Hill – despite consistently comprising only about 1 percent of the total federal budget. Even so, foreign aid and international engagement make good political targets for elected officials out on the stump. It is far easier to demonize foreign aid than to explain how relatively modest programs to improve living standards in the developing world have consistently proven to be in the national interest over the long-term.