July 24, 2014

Sara Hooker

My name is Sara Hooker and I go to school at Carleton College, Minnesota. I am an international student here, originally Irish, but I spent most of my childhood in Southern Africa; in Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland. I plan to major in International relations but also enjoy economics. I am really loving my time in the U.S and hope to visit at least 15 states by the time I graduate. I am currently on 5! :-)

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Lost in Translation

There was a stats conversion problem I had to do today, changing miles per gallon into gallons per mile. Gallons per mile, the end result of the problem, which might seem unusual to US drivers is actually how the rest of the world views gas consumption. My textbook said it best: Americans think of it as: I’ve got 10 gallons in the tank. How far can I drive? Where as most of the world says: ‘I’ve got to go 100km, how much gas do you think I need’ This little math (or maths, if we are continuing with our global conversions) problem actually epitomized … [Read more...]

New Year. More Déjà Vu.

It is a soap opera where young pretty starlets are replaced with old and often funny economists. This is how I think I can best describe the book I just read on my flight back from Ireland to college here in the US. The book is called the ‘Lords of Finance:The Bankers Who Broke the World’ and it is incredible. When you ask any college student majoring in history what the hell they are going to do with their degree in the real world, they are likely to reply that the present is only a ripple of the past, and thus some of the most important tools for the … [Read more...]

Is Microfinance the Next Financial Bubble?

Muhammad Yunus, the founder of microfinance, has an episode of the Simpsons dedicated to him. Yeardly Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, was so impressed with Mr. Yunus she traveled to Bangladesh to see microfinance in action before recording the episode. She is only the latest fan of microfinance, a financial tool that has become a massive movement over the last decade and which aims to provide credit to poor communities who previously had to resort to expensive and often dangerous local loaners. Mr. Yunus, a convincing and articulate man from … [Read more...]

That which will replace capitalism?

I study at a college with a trimester system, which gives the school calendar a slight sense of chaos. It means I finished my final exams last week and I now have six weeks of academic free bliss to look forward to. In celebration, I returned a suitcase to the library. The suitcase had 18 books on Islamic finance, and other than being responsible for building my muscles, was also the subject of my independent research paper this term. After writing 10,000 words on the subject, and devoting incredible amounts of coffee to its cause, AID readers deserve an … [Read more...]

Not just a pretty face after all

Not just a pretty face after all. This is the verdict that the Miss World Competition 2010, which just ended on the 30th of October, brings to mind. The Miss World Competition 2010, held in Sanya China, is normally a parade of swimsuits and evening gowns with some interludes designed to demonstrate the mantra of ‘beauty with a purpose’. The 2010 event instead seemed to bring some real politics into play. This was because of the winner, Miss Alexandria Mills, an American, eighteen year old woman from Louisville. The cause of controversy was not that … [Read more...]

‘Please, sir, I want some more’- Thoughts on Food Security

There is a joke in Southern Africa that vegetarians don’t exist, at least not by choice. There is even a Zimbabwean rap group dedicated solely to eulogizing chicken in their songs. Another inside joke is that you can tell who a government worker is by the girth of their waist, as people tend to literally show their power in kilos. While this may tend towards hyperbole, meat has always been an indicator of wealth in Africa. Unfortunately this may no longer be the case. Grain, long a diet staple, is taking over as a luxury. Last week in Rome, from … [Read more...]

Not just a game.

Sporting events have traditionally been a source of catharsis for the nation-state. The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing was like prom for the girl who had finally removed her braces, as China showed off the eclectic economic mix which had taken it to dizzying new heights of wealth. The World Cup this year in South Africa showed a host nation with a truly hopeless soccer team but a more valid story; a country emerging from the after effects of apartheid as a blossoming economic power. Of course, the role of the debutante nation-state is not always easy. … [Read more...]

The changing face of aid

By Sara Hooker Sara is one of AIDemocracy’s 2010-2011 Issue Analysts. Find out more about Sara below or take a look at the Student Issue Analysts. Dambisa Moyo, author of the book Dead Aid, made headlines for three reasons.  The first two were quite simply that she was a young black woman talking about foreign aid, an area whose academia and discussion is dominated by middle-aged white men.  The third reason she made headlines was that she advocated for no aid at all. She argued that the way aid was given to countries worsened their condition rather … [Read more...]