Is Microfinance Pushing the World’s Poorest Even Deeper Into Poverty?
December 14, 2011

Dhaka—In August, Bangladeshi police broke up a ring of human organ dealers operating in Joypurhat, a district in the north of the country. Investigators say that three local “brokers” preyed on a large pool of indebted farmers, who agreed to part with a kidney or a chunk of their liver for a couple thousand dollars—enough for them to pay down their debts. Mosammat Rebeca and her husband sold their kidneys to help pay back 180,000 taka ($2,358) owed to five separate lenders—a massive sum in a country where the per capita annual income hovers around $1,700.

Will Climate Change Lead to Mass Immigration from Mexico?
July 27, 2010

Will a hotter climate mean more immigration? In some places, yes, that's quite possible. Earlier this week, a team of researchers led by Princeton's Michael Oppenheimer published a study suggesting that as global warming causes agricultural yields in Mexico to decline, an additional 1.4 million to 6.7 million Mexicans could migrate to the United States by 2080. (The team analyzed data on emigration, crop yields, and climate from 1995 to 2005 in order to make their forecasts.) As always, caveats abound. The social consequences of global warming are always the hardest things to predict.

Who Counts As A "Climate Refugee"?
January 04, 2010

Joanna Kakissis has a nicely reported piece in The New York Times today on climate-driven migration in developing countries. The concept's pretty simple: As the planet heats up, many regions are expected to see more frequent (and more severe) floods, droughts, and storms, which will uproot a bunch of people, especially in rural areas. So we're likely to see many more stories like this one: Mahe Noor left her village in southern Bangladesh after Cyclone Sidr flattened her family’s home and small market in 2007.