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May 29, 2007

Poverty Related Headlines of Note

"Parsimonious Reading of Title VII" - J. Ginsburg
Supreme Court Limits Discrimination Suits, by David Stout, NYTimes, May 29, 2007 provides analysis and the Opinion is here

Designs for Attacking Poverty

Donald G. McNeil Jr., "Design that Solves Problems for the World's Poor," NYTimes, May 29, 2007, includes photos of some of the relatively inexpensive products that could improve the welfare of many of the global poor. 

Socio-Economic Recruitment in Higher Education

Sara Rimer, "Elite Colleges Open New Door to Low-Income Youths," NYTimes, May 27, 2007, in addition to the story includes a good amount of material on Amherst's efforts in this regard as well as a text of the speech by ousted Harvard President, Lawrence Summers.  [Summers is famous among other reasons for writing in a memo, while chief economist at the World Bank, "I've always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted."]  For more related sources, see earlier blog entry about early admissions policies. 

-E.R. [email protected]

May 29, 2007 | Permalink

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Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina challenges the idea of Design as Solution for the world's poor. An excerpt:
"If you walk into any African market, you see chaos. Things tend not to cross over from the formal side of an African city to the informal side. The two speak very different languages. Often, the formal side, out of its good nature or its panicked guilt, out of a feeling that the giant world of the urban poor is too pathetic to tolerate, pins its hopes and dreams on some revolutionary product. Biogas. A windup radio. A magic laptop. These pure products are meant to solve everything.

They almost always fail, but they satisfy the giver. To the recipients, the things have no context, no relationship to their ideas of themselves or their possibilities. A great salesman can spark a dialogue with you; in a matter of minutes, you come to make your own sense of his product, fitting it into your imagination, your life. You lead, the salesman follows. Whereas a pure product presents itself as a complete solution; a product built to serve the needs of the needy assumes the needy have measured themselves exactly as the product has measured them."

See the entire article from the middle eastern magazine BIDOUN (this article reprinted in Harper's)
http://www.bidoun.com/issues/issue_10/04_all.html#article

Kip Bobroff
University of New Mexico School of Law

Posted by: Kip Bobroff | May 30, 2007 8:45:21 PM

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