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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Thursday, March 23

New Writing Project - Development and Prosperity

In an effort to improve my writing, I've been looking for a longer term project to work on. Coincidentally, I stumbled into a controversy about 9/11 which included some accusations about the World Bank. Right there on the front page was an announcement about a research competition. The theme is Business and Development: The Private Path to Prosperity. It seems perfect - a potentially interesting subject to research, a deadline, and even a potential prize. I don't know whether I'll have time to really do it properly, but I hope to at least get some better writing out of it.

The problem is, well, I've never been particularly good at narrowing down a topic to write. When I had research papers in school, I'd check out every possible book on the subject, skim them all, enthusiastically read some of them and be completely overwhelmed with where to start writing. I'd put it off until about 2 days before it was due. Then, suddenly, the paper would nearly write itself. Then I'd turn it in and generally get an A or a high B - unless I was supposed to have turned in a draft. If I had to turn in drafts and abstracts and other little stuff first, then I'd get points deducted and get a C or maybe even a D.

It seemed as if I wrote better under stress. I suspect that's because I'd stop trying to make it perfect and just put something down. "Just putting something down" worked because I'd done all that reading weeks before. It also occurred to me more recently that maybe it just took me a few weeks of thinking about the new ideas to come up with some sort of coherent viewpoint.

Moving along. I would really like to be able to write something where there was an actual draft, some criticism, some editing, some revisions, and it felt complete. The trick is, still, how to get started.

There's way more information than I could possible read much less analyze. All I can think to do is ask some questions about the topic and see where it leads.

It seems logical to get some understanding of what the theme itself means. I have some notions about it, but it seems like as good a time as any to re-examine them.

I think for now I'll list out the questions and brief first thoughts about them. Later I'll write separate articles about each of them.

What is development?
I'm assuming they mean Economic Development but maybe I shouldn't.

What is business?
A group of people pooling their resources. Sounds a bit like a government.

What is private?
Is business private and government public? Seems like some people consider things like restaurants public. I don't.

What is prosperity?
I think they mean material wealth - like food, clothes, shelter and enough surplus to not have to worry about those things anymore. I wonder if free time is included in a measure of prosperity.

Is there a private path to prosperity?
It depends on the answers to my questions. I suspect that there isn't one for some people. They simply don't have the knowledge and/or resources to become prosperous. Maybe they could acquire that with private help. I'll think more about that later.

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