Here are Future Development’s top reads of the week, which feature the obituaries of two giants of development and economics, Hans Rosling and Ken Arrow, and the annual letter from Bill and Melinda Gates.
- Hans Rosling became famous with his February 2006 TED talk, titled “The best stats you’ve ever seen,” which is one of the top 10 TED talks of all time. He gave many more TED talks afterwards, with the 9-minute talk called “the magic washing machine” being equally remarkable.
- Kenneth J. Arrow was the youngest economist ever to win a Nobel price at 51 years old. He died this week in Palo Alto, California at the age of 95. Fellow Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson called him “the most important theorist of the 20th century in economics.” Reflecting on Ken Arrows long life, Lancet published new research, which puts South Korean women ahead of everyone else in living long and prosperous lives. The study points to the country’s equal gender roles and strong performance in education and nutrition, as well as one of the lowest obesity rates in the world. The demographic portal population.io predicts that a South Korean girl born today will live on average 99 years, longer than anyone else in the world.
- Bill and Melinda Gates published their annual letter, which has become a key reference for the development community. They focus on the decade since Warren Buffet donated $2 billion to the Gates foundation, “the biggest single gift anyone ever gave anybody for anything” and recount development progress since then. A refreshingly positive read in a time of turbulence.
This blog was updated on February 24, 2017 to correct the link to the 2017 Bill and Melinda Gates annual letter.