Category Archives: First Monday Musings

The underside of remittances

I’d always liked the idea of remittances – money sent from emigrant workers home – as a redistribution of wealth.  Then I visited my son, Trevor, in his Peace Corps village in El Salvador. Trevor estimates that all but two … Continue reading

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Joy in filtered water

Sometimes I forget how much fun there is in the work we do. Philip Wilson, founder of Ecofiltro in Guatemala, reminded me of this. While I was in Guatemala last month for a board meeting of Safe Passage, Philip gave … Continue reading

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Measuring Poverty: How and Why

My son Cameron’s girlfriend, Luisa, is doing an undergraduate thesis at Carleton on Peru’s asset-based measure of poverty – and why it doesn’t work. She’s applying to graduate programs to look at what Mexico is pioneering – a more multi-faceted … Continue reading

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From the Ground Up — Doing business at the base of the pyramid

I started when I saw this title on the cover of the Harvard Magazine (Sept-Oct 2015).    Inside, the article Business for the Other Billions explores businesses pursuing profits and social good by selling to the 4 billion people with incomes … Continue reading

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How to talk about what we give

“Hey Mom,” Leah said.  “I’ve got some good news!”  Hmmm, I wondered, an increase in salary, a stronger job title, boyfriend news? “I struggled with whether and how to mention that I am a sponsor for Alex at Safe Passage.”  … Continue reading

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Living on One

During these steamy August days, it seems a film recommendation is appropriate. One of the more thought-provoking pieces on poverty that I’ve encountered recently is the film, Living on One Dollar. It was the brainchild of two Claremont McKenna College … Continue reading

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Careers in the social sector

How often does someone come to you – ranging from a recent college grad to a seasoned executive – for advice on how to construct a career for the social good?  I often talk to friends and friends of friends … Continue reading

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Scarcity’s toll

Sometimes I think I’m not poor because I’m smart.  An article in the Harvard Magazine this month reminded me this isn’t so. Sendhil Mullainathan, a behavioral economist at Harvard, is studying how being poor affects economic decision-making. Low blood sugar … Continue reading

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Effective altruism

Peter Singer, the Australian utilitarian who wrote The Life You Can Save (2009), just came out with a new book last month — The Most Good You Can Do. “Effective altruism is based on a very simple idea:  we should … Continue reading

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