As a Cambridge (UK) MA in statistics in 1970s I was looking for a practice field, chose markets as that interested my father at The Economist as he had an open systems hypothesis that youth futures were being increasingly ignored as tv advertising took over costs of markets, and luckily found MIT's Glen Urban's models which also benefited from an early database software analysis tool (then) called Express. Through the 1980s we did thousands of market modeling tests which provided behavioural benchmarks across tests to complete market mixes. We found some shocking things. Service solutions integrate many more moving parts in what Levitt used to call the purposeful search for continuous improvement than lifeless products. Knowledge networked service products even more so if you want goodwill to multiply through value exchanges with multi-win models. Value chains designed round what richest need segment in extremely opposite ways from what poorest need to communally sustain. After 9/11 I decided I would spend at least half of rest of my life modeling markets NGOs dominate because I hoped to analyse how to help youth collaboratively open source life critical service solutions. 13 years into this I find the lack of integral understanding needed to replicate service franchises very sad; until usaid recently revisited mapping value chains I found western aid completely failed to design bottom up franchises; I still find greenwashing wastes well over half of money spent on searching for pro-poor solutions that could be replicated by youthful collaboration entrepreneurs through inter-community trust; let's hope enough alumni of this course linkin around a totally deeper approach to chartering and mapping how to open up knowledge networks around microfranchises served by and for the poorest- and investing in their goals for their next generation.
The Foundation -and journal edited by Adam Smith scholars out of Glasgow - set up to continue my father's pro-youth economics approach for uniting net generation around open sourcing desperately needed knowhow service solutions believes MOOCs have a gamechanging role to play. I also have a question for Duflo. Does she value interviewing those who have spent their life passionately experimenting with solutions for the poorest for the heuristics they recommend using? By a heuristic I mean a principle that someone has seen validated so many times that is worth assuming it does spin a system's impacts unless you find proof in a specific context that it doesnt apply, or can identify a gamechanger that has transformed a market into a higher order system of systems. I would say yes the ubiquitous mobile phone in the village now makes it hard to assess what used to be extremely manual srvice franchise models of the most sustainable microcredits and thosands of barefoot banking staff. However practical Bangladeshi microeconomists and engineers have also voiced this precept from the first 42 years of their nation's social laboratory of pro-youth village banking: Banking is a market where the richer in every role from politician and macroeconomist downwards (often subconsciously or subliminally) always edge out the needs of the poorer unless every quarter you audit the model from the poorest's voice. When our researchers presented that principle to dad he said : yes I can think of 1000 cases where that has happened (see his thousands of artices in The Economist 1948-1990 ) and none where it hasn't. He spent his last years analysing the 00s crisis in big banking using that precept . It turns out that uniting net generation youth in the race to poverty museums can solve underemployment challenges everywhere, as well as progress millennium goals but only if post 2015 we do a much better educational job of mapping connections between goals. Re-reading the last 3 pages of Keynes general theory provides more evidence for being a fan of the Bangaldeshi's microbankers precepts than those underpinning the mindsets current @ Brussels on the Potomac or agents of Mad(ison) avenue.