Mar. 01, 2013

Kenny to Address Why Global Development is Succeeding


GENESEO, N.Y. -- Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D. C., will address issues of international economic and social development in a lecture at SUNY Geneseo March 7. His address, "Getting Better: Why Global Development is Succeeding," is at 4 p.m. in Newton Hall 202 and is free and open to the public.

Kenny, whose writings on the topic have received considerable national attention, argues that quality of life has improved greatly almost everywhere during the past century, even in places where per capita incomes have stayed flat. In fact, he argues that per capita income is a poor way to gauge improvements in overall living conditions. Infant and maternal mortality have plummeted, he says, and people today enjoy better nutrition and protection against disease, more education, better access to infrastructure, and greater personal freedom than ever before.

There is much room for improvement, says Kenny, but argues that progress need not be vastly expensive since it mainly involves transmitting ideas and information. He will offer a critical survey of what economists have had to say about the determinants of economic growth, but contends that even though growth is important and desirable, it should not be the main objective.

Kenny's book, "Getting Better," has been widely praised in The New York Times, the Financial Times, The Nation, The Wall Street Journal and many others. Bill Gates liked it so much that he wrote the introduction to the paperback edition. Both Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy magazines called it one of the best books of 2011.

He has published articles and books on issues including progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, what we know about the causes of economic growth, the link between economic growth and broader development, the link between economic growth and happiness, the role of communications technologies in development, and the ‘digital divide.' He is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine and a regular contributor to Business Week magazine. He was previously a senior staff member at the World Bank.

Kenny has a master's degree in international economics from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a master's degree in development studies from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.

The lecture is supported by the Jeff Clarke Endowment for Political Science and Economics. Clarke is a 1983 Geneseo graduate.

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