4 Replies to “Senator Lugar: Information is Power”

  1. Matt – Terrific post. I always learn much from you on these matters. I was interested in Sen Lugar’s WB reference of “10% mobile phone penetration = 1% gain in econ output.” Searched far enough to find this summary, and the facts are more circumspect. First, it’s a 2005 report, which in telcon terms makes it practically ancient; sponsored by Vodaphone (no harm/no foul, but full disclosure); and reports on an even more ancient period of 1996-2003. It also seems to be limited to the *first* 10%, not “every” 10 percent thereafter; and it’s a .59 percent gain in output, not 1 percent, as per http://tinyurl.com/37t58e. Noodling, yes, but the 1-for-10 claim is a BIG claim. This brings it down to earth some. Still important:”The benefits mobile phones bring at a local level can be extended to a country as a whole. A 2005 study by the Centre for Economic Policy Research and backed by the UK mobile phone giant Vodafone found higher rates of economic growth in developing countries with high mobile phone penetration. According to the study, a developing country which has an average of 10 more mobile phones per 100 population between 1996 and 2003 would have enjoyed per capita GDP growth that was 0.59 percent higher than an otherwise identical country.”

  2. My understanding is that it’s been signed by the Secretary and pushed back down to Assistant Secretary’s for review. It has been under a very close hold and not broadly circulated internally. I hear it will propose a Public Diplomacy Foundation, a sort of internal version of the “RAND-like” entity proposed by Kristin Lord and Goli Ameri.With luck, once the strategy rolls out, they will start looking for an Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Information Programs. The Assistant Secretary position has never been filled since Jim Glassman, Judith McHale predecessor, created it to upgrade the IIP leadership position from a Coordinator to give it bureaucratic heft. Jeremy Curtin, the long time Coordinator, retired last year but stayed on under an extension. He did not renew his extension and has ‘left the building.’ Dan Sreebny, also retired and on an extension (WEA) is now the Acting Coordinator. No word on even who might be nominated. There was one candidate a while ago (Jim Glassman’s candidate was Mike Doran but Mike was never confirmed), but apparently he was quickly removed after some Googling.
    It will also be nice to see the National Security Council’s strategy, which the PD strategy is to roll up under.
    -Matt

  3. Thanks for the info Matt – I had heard it was at a similar stage. Should anyone hear (in an unclas way) when it’s due to come back from the A/S’s, feel free to share…

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