Monday Round-up: The good the bad & teh uglee

Some interesting links:

a.  Is there ever any good economic or political news out of Zimbabwe?  Now it’s the ladies that are causing trouble:

First, Grace Mugabe, the First Lady of Zimbabwe (aka the First Shopper):  “Mugabe’s wife blows $3m in two months from charity account; ‘prophet’ buys her book for $50,000.”  The title is specific enough that I think you get the drift.

Second, the Zimbabwean VP cannot find suitable accommodation in Harare so he is racking up hotel bills.  In an aptly titled article called “VP clocks 287 days in hotel,” we learn that his wife “has reportedly not made life easy for officials seeking a house for the Vice-President, after she reportedly rejected three houses, among them a $3 million mansion in the leafy suburb of Ballantyne Park, because “it is too small for a person of the VP’s stature”.  So instead they stay at the luxury hotel, racking up more than $120,000 in bills so far.

b.  Here’s a genius idea by an anthropologist from the LSE.  Instead of trying to lift up developing countries, we should instead make richer countries poorer.  Jason Hickel, in a piece called “Forget ‘developing’ poor countries, it’s time to ‘de-develop’ rich countries”.  It has awesome lines in it like the following:  “Growth has been the main object of development for the past 70 years, despite the fact that it’s not working.”  Huh?  what’s not working?  there is one thing that we know actually works for lifting people out of poverty, and that is sustained economic growth. How to bring about that growth?  Well, details, details…

c.  Last but not least is the cool story about Jesse Appell, a Fulbright scholar in China who has become a surprise hit on the burgeoning stand-up comedy circuit there.  It’s not easy taking comedy across cultures but he seems to be doing so well.  Here’s a video of his Gangnam Style parody. Here’s a CBS news video where they marvel that he “speaks Chinese”.