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One very good thing that can be said about Robert Zoellick's maiden speech as World Bank president today is that it was much better than the advance account in yesterday's Wall Street Journal (subscription required) would have led listeners to expect.
For poor developing country farmers and their advocates, the farm bill that passed the House of Representatives on Friday could hardly be worse news. Dissatisfaction with existing farm legislation is widespread and, with commodity prices high, it seemed as though a real opportunity existed to both reform America's costly and inequitable farm policy and give the stalled Doha Round of trade negotiations a boost. But those hopes have been at least temporarily dashed.
Yesterday the New York Times profiled Lant Pritchett and sketched his proposal to create 16 million guest-worker jobs in rich countries for people from poor countries. His goal is to help people from very poor places make their lives better.
Twenty years ago this month I left China under less than ideal circumstances: I was one of a handful of reporters expelled during a crackdown on the incipient student democracy movement. After a dozen years of close involvement with China, first as a student, then as a tour guide, and finally as a journalist, I was suddenly cut off from the country, unable to return.