Is the Peace Corps any good?

A loyal MR reader writes:

I will be graduating from college next spring with a degree in Economics and fluency in Spanish.  Joining the Peace Corps has always been a half-way serious goal of mine (you get to "make a difference" while effectively putting off entering the real world).  What’s your take on the Peace Corps?  Do they actually do any good?  The idealist in me wants to believe so, but obviously, I’m highly skeptical of any program started by JFK.  If this isn’t the best route, do you know of any alternatives that will still fulfill my aforementioned "goals?"

I neither have experience in this matter nor have I read a good book or paper on The Peace Corps.  Readers? 


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