Mar 04 2013

A TED Talk overview of issues in economic development

Over the next three weeks I will be covering issues in Development Economics with my year 2 IB students. I have often used TED Talks to inspire our class discussions, and this year I decided to compile a “best of TED” playlist to guide us through the IB topics in development.

Day 1 – The Nature of Economic Growth and Development and Measuring Development:

Days 2 and 3 – The role of foreign aid

Days 4 and 5 – The Role of Domestic Factors:

  • Hans Rosling: Religions and babies | Video on – Hans Rosling had a question: Do some religions have a higher birth rate than others — and how does this affect global population growth? Speaking at the TEDxSummit in Doha, Qatar, he graphs data over time and across religions. With his trademark humor and sharp insight, Hans reaches a surprising conclusion on world fertility rates.
  • Hans Rosling: The magic washing machine | Video on – What was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution? Hans Rosling makes the case for the washing machine. With newly designed graphics from Gapminder, Rosling shows us the magic that pops up when economic growth and electricity turn a boring wash day into an intellectual day of reading.
  • Ernest Madu on world-class health care | Video on – Dr. Ernest Madu runs the Heart Institute of the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica, where he proves that — with careful design, smart technical choices, and a true desire to serve — it’s possible to offer world-class healthcare in the developing world.
  • Andrew Mwenda takes a new look at Africa | Video on – In this provocative talk, journalist Andrew Mwenda asks us to reframe the “African question” — to look beyond the media’s stories of poverty, civil war and helplessness and see the opportunities for creating wealth and happiness throughout the continent.


  • Jacqueline Novogratz on escaping poverty | Video on – Jacqueline Novogratz tells a moving story of an encounter in a Nairobi slum with Jane, a former prostitute, whose dreams of escaping poverty, of becoming a doctor and of getting married were fulfilled in an unexpected way.
  • Jessica Jackley: Poverty, money — and love | Video on – What do you think of people in poverty? Maybe what Jessica Jackley once did: “they” need “our” help, in the form of a few coins in a jar. The co-founder of talks about how her attitude changed — and how her work with microloans has brought new power to people who live on a few dollars a day.

Days 6 and 7 – The Role of International Trade:

Day 8 – The role of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Days 9 and 10 – Conclusions and Data Response Question practice

About the author:  Jason Welker teaches International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Economics at Zurich International School in Switzerland. In addition to publishing various online resources for economics students and teachers, Jason developed the online version of the Economics course for the IB and is has authored two Economics textbooks: Pearson Baccalaureate’s Economics for the IB Diploma and REA’s AP Macroeconomics Crash Course. Jason is a native of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and is a passionate adventurer, who considers himself a skier / mountain biker who teaches Economics in his free time. He and his wife keep a ski chalet in the mountains of Northern Idaho, which now that they live in the Swiss Alps gets far too little use. Read more posts by this author

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    A TED Talk overview of issues in economic development | Economics in Plain English