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Another good idea from ODI – regular ‘scans’ of hot topics like resilience

Duncan Green - July 31, 2015

The aid and development business is full of tribes – separate ‘epistemic communities’ with their own jargon, shorthands and assumptions, which helps to hermetically isolate them from all the other communities. I try and surf across a few of them, but it’s hard – half the time I have only the vaguest idea what resilience, humanitarian, conflict or livelihoods people are talking about. So I …

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Fukuyama’s history of the State, Book 2: Political Order and Political Decay

Duncan Green - July 30, 2015
fukobook

Yesterday I reviewed Volume 1 (from pre-history up to the French Revolution), but before reviewing Political Order and Political Decay, the second volume of Francis Fukuyama’s monumental history of the state, it’s probably worth asking, why bother? Because whether providing/denying services, freedoms or functioning markets, the state is the most important institution underpinning development, and yet people in the foreign policy and development world operate …

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The Origins of Political Order: Review of Francis Fukuyama’s impressive history of the state

Duncan Green - July 29, 2015
fukobook

Ricardo Fuentes has been raving about this book for months, so I packed it in my holiday luggage. Actually it’s two books – The Origins of Political Order takes us from pre-history up to the French Revolution/American Revolution, and the subsequent Political Order and Political Decay brings us up to the present day. They each weigh in at around 500 pages, so hope you won’t mind …

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Learning by un-doing: the magic of immersion

Duncan Green - July 28, 2015

Varja Lipovsek of Twaweza, one of my favourite accountability NGOs, reflects on a recent staff immersion in a Ugandan village. It’s a bit too long, but just too nicely written to cut – sorry! Take a group of people that are used to talking about development while sitting in offices behind computers, going to meetings at ministries, writing reports and worrying about indicators, and give each some …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - July 27, 2015

Sciences v Humanities….. Unpacking last week’s global soft power index (Britain and Germany top, Mexico and China bottom). Some particularly tasty wonkwars last week – must be the summer heat: Deworming: No need to read all the exchanges, because Chris Blattman has spoken. Twice (initial discussion and then very sensible conclusions after a day of online debate); Miguel-Kremer wins: ‘you have to throw so much …

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Have the MDGs affected developing country policies and spending? Findings of new 50 country study.

Duncan Green - July 24, 2015

One of the many baffling aspects of the post-2015/Sustainable Development Goal process is how little research there has been on the impact of their predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals. That may sound odd, given how often we hear ‘the MDGs are on/off track’ on poverty, health, education etc, but saying ‘the MDG for poverty reduction has been achieved five years ahead of schedule’ is not …

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What can NGOs/others learn from DFID’s shift to ‘adaptive development’?

Duncan Green - July 23, 2015
adaptation

Got back from holiday last week and went straight into a discussion with NGOs and thinktanks on ‘adaptive development’. Really interesting for several reasons: I realized there’s a bunch of civil society people (100 people at the seminar, plus 50 online) thinking along parallel lines to donors and academics in the Thinking and Working Politically and Doing Development Differently initiatives, but currently very little cross over. …

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Why is there no ‘Fundraisers Without Borders’? Big missing piece in development.

Duncan Green - July 22, 2015

There are an extraordinary number of ‘without borders’ organizations (see here, or an even longer list here) – every possible activity is catered for, from chemists to clowns (and that’s just the c’s). But one seems to be missing, and it may well be the most useful – why is there no ‘fundraisers without borders’? Mike Edwards argues that ‘we should focus as much attention …

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Ricardo Fuentes wants you to apply for his job as Oxfam’s Head of Research – here’s why

Duncan Green - July 21, 2015

Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva  (@rivefuentes) is leaving and his  job as Head of Research at Oxfam GB is being advertised (deadline July 30). I’m inviting you to apply for a job whose highlights include: You get to exchange blogs with Martin Ravallion. You get to have the first citation in Joseph Stiglitz’s new book. You get to have Barack Obama misquote your work (min 4:25). You get to be …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - July 20, 2015

Hi folks, back from hols, and raring to go. Here’s some top links from last week What people around the world see as the top international threat [h/t Conrad Hackett] ‘Compassion & paternalism could mean helping only 1 million people out of poverty instead of 3 million’. Chris Blattman looks at the evidence on impact v cost on cash, livestock and training Econo-nerd heaven: Summary …

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