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Renowned French economist to join Obama’s team / The head of a French food aid charity has called on the public for help in coping with the steep rise in the number of people needing food handouts, raising concerns that the economic crisis is biting hard among the poor in France. | January 6, 2013

 

Obama names French economist, France’s Esther Duflo to help shape US global policy, how are her policies working in France? He should have named someone like Rand Paul, or Gearld Celente, George Leong, or some other ‘real’ American economist?
While Duflo’s nomination will likely be viewed with a sense of pride in France, it comes as Obama’s leadership continues to be dogged by unflattering comparisons in the media to European-style socialism. Just Friday, the cover of financial news magazine The Economist depicted Obama wearing a beret, red neckerchief and a striped mariner shirt, under a headline that read “America turns European”. The article criticised the country’s recent fiscal-cliff deal as “lousy”, saying its mismanagement bore striking similarities to the “mess in the euro zone”.

French food aid NGO reports ‘explosion’ in demand

French food aid NGO reports ‘explosion’ in demand

The head of a French food aid charity has called on the public for help in coping with the steep rise in the number of people needing food handouts, raising concerns that the economic crisis is biting hard among the poor in France.

 

Latest update: 06/01/2013

Barack ObamadevelopmenteconomyFranceUSA

Renowned French economist to join Obama’s team

Renowned French economist to join Obama’s team

France’s Esther Duflo, a star economist who was once named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, has been nominated by US President Barack Obama to help shape US global development policy.

By Aude MAZOUE (text)
France’s Esther Duflo, a world renowned economist, has been nominated by US President Barack Obama to join a government body dedicated to advising the administration on global development policy.
Called the Global Development Council, the group was founded by Obama in 2010 to help shape US development efforts abroad.
While Duflo’s nomination will likely be viewed with a sense of pride in France, it comes as Obama’s leadership continues to be dogged by unflattering comparisons in the media to European-style socialism. Just Friday, the cover of financial news magazine The Economist depicted Obama wearing a beret, red neckerchief and a striped mariner shirt, under a headline that read “America turns European”. The article criticised the country’s recent fiscal-cliff deal as “lousy”, saying its mismanagement bore striking similarities to the “mess in the euro zone”.
A rising star
Esther Duflo’s CV
Esther Duflo earned a master’s degree from DELTA (now called the Paris School of Economics) in 1995 before heading to the United States to begin a PhD in Economics at the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Upon completing her degree in 1999, Duflo continued on at MIT as an assistant professor of economics. She took leave from the school in 2001 to work at Princeton University for one year, before returning to MIT where she was granted tenure at the age of 29. After more than a decade in the US, Duflot was granted US citizenship in 2012.
Duflo, who was raised in a “left-leaning Protestant” family, said she became aware of economic divides and social injustice at a very early age.
“I was always conscientious of the gap between my existence and that of the world’s poor,” she told weekly French magazine l’Express in a January, 2011 article. “As a child, I was extremely troubled by the complete randomness of chance that I was born in Paris to an intellectual, middle class family, when I could have just as easily been born in Chad. It’s a question of luck. It inspired in me a sense of responsibility.”
While Duflo may feel that her privilege in life is the result of chance, President Obama’s intention to appoint her to his Global Development Council is not. Ever since completing her undergraduate studies at Paris’s prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure in 1994, Duflo has led a distinguished career, collecting numerous academic honours and awards along the way.
One of the world’s 100 most influential people
It is by no means an exaggeration to call the now 40 year-old Duflo one of the world’s star economists. French daily Le Monde once awarded her its “Best French Young Economist Prize”, and in 2009, she was granted a MacArthur Fellowship (which has also been dubbed ‘the genius grant’). Duflo’s work also earned her the John Bates Clark medal in 2010, which is considered second only to the Nobel.
The following year, Time magazine named Duflo one of 100 most influential people in the world. The magazine applauded her for relentlessly “questioning conventional wisdom”.
“She has broken out of the ivory tower to do something economists rarely do: gather real data to see what really works in alleviating poverty,” Time wrote.
A closer look at poverty
Duflo’s research has largely focused on microeconomic issues in developing countries and looks at areas such as education, access to finance as well as health and policy evaluation. As co-founder and director of MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, Duflo has singled herself out by championing the idea that it is impossible to successfully tackle the issue of poverty without a thorough understanding of the population at hand. In other words, the devil is in the detail.
While Duflo’s work has already helped contribute to changing the way governments and organisations deal with global poverty, her potential new role as a member of the Global Development Council will allow her to have a direct impact on how the US handles such issues.
Latest update: 29/12/2012

Francepoverty

French food aid NGO reports ‘explosion’ in demand

French food aid NGO reports ‘explosion’ in demand

The head of a French food aid charity has called on the public for help in coping with the steep rise in the number of people needing food handouts, raising concerns that the economic crisis is biting hard among the poor in France.

By Ben MCPARTLAND (text)
A plea for help by the head of a French charity, struggling to cope with an “explosion” in demand, has raised further concerns about the increase in poverty in France.
Olivier Berthe, president of Restos du Cœur (Restaurants with Heart), which hands out food parcels and hot dinners to those most in need, has implored donors and the government to come to its aid and help them cope with a massive rise in demand.
Just one month after launching its annual winter campaign, the charity has reported a 12 percent rise in the number of people coming through its doors, which, according to Berthe, represents an extra 100,000 compared to this time last year.
“It’s not a rise, it’s an explosion,” Berthe told French radio RTL this week. “These are figures that we are not used to seeing.”
Berthe has called on the public to help them deal with a crisis that he predicts is only going to deepen.
“We know that the situation we are in is going to deteriorate and we will have to take measures to manage it. If our donors do not react then we will not be able to cope,” Berthe said.
In the winter of 2011/2012 the charity distributed 115 million meals compared to just 8.5 million in 1985, the year it was launched by the French comic actor Coluche.
EU funding vital to help feed the poor
Restos du Coeur is backed by figures from French showbiz who regularly help in fundraising through taking part in TV shows and pop concerts.
But Berthe believes the French government now has the most vital role to play in helping the charity provide for the growing number of hungry beneficiaries, who can no longer afford to feed themselves.
He has urged lawmakers to fight hard to make sure the European Union does not cut funding for its food aid program, which pays for around one quarter of all the meals handed out by Restos du Coeur. Private donors, public grants and fundrasing initiatives account for the remainder.
But the €500 million budget for EU food aid could soon be slashed by member states. Restos du Coeur are just one of several food aid charities in France calling for European leaders to back down.
“It seems that the government is trying to compromise with Germany or England,” he said. “It must demand the food aid program is extended.”
Berthe’s appeal comes at a time when the French government is under pressure to act to deal with the growing problem of poverty.
A recent public opinion survey revealed one in two French people saw themselves as being poor or at risk of becoming poor in the future.
Earlier in December Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced the government would stump up €2.5 billion over five years with the money to be spent on a range of measures including welfare benefits, housing aid and youth employment schemes.

 

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