A Song for Davos: your chance to vote on best song on inequality

Duncan Green - January 18, 2017

Twitter definitely beats work. On Monday, Oxfam’s Max Lawson kicked off a discussion on the best song about economic inequality, which got enough candidates for an impromptu ‘Song for Davos’ competition – check these out and vote. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fortunate Son [Max Lawson] Bob Marley, Them Belly Full [me, with post on Marley v IMF] Motorhead, Eat the Rich [Phil Evans] Juliani (Kenyan rapper, …

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Davos & Inequality Continued: What does an alternative economic vision for the future look like?

Duncan Green - January 17, 2017

Deborah Hardoon, who really ought to be resting on her laurels after her report for Davos went viral yesterday, springs to the defence of (the right kind of) economics. Nerd Alert. As a student of economics, I always found the technical aspects of the subject deeply satisfying. Getting to the ‘right’ answer using algebra and statistics, solving ‘proofs’ and finding that stable equilibrium. Bliss. But …

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8 men now own the same as the poorest half of the world: the Davos killer fact just got more deadly

Duncan Green - January 16, 2017

It’s Davos this week, which means it’s time for Oxfam’s latest global ‘killer fact’ on extreme inequality. Since our first calculation in 2014, these have helped get inequality onto the agenda of the global leaders assembled in Switzerland. This year, the grabber of any headlines not devoted to the US presidential inauguration on Friday is that it’s worse than we thought. Last year it was …

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Preaching to the Converted and the Path to Unlearning: this week’s random conversations

Duncan Green - January 13, 2017

Had some interesting if random discussions this week – I work from home a lot, and then get far too excited when I actually end up in a room with interesting people.  Two thoughts (among many) seem worth capturing: Preaching to the converted: This is something we’re not supposed to do – waste of time all agreeing with each other, right? We need to get …

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A 3-fold theory of social change (and some great quotes on complexity, ambiguity and dreaming)

Duncan Green - January 12, 2017

Sometimes a paper is worth blogging about just for the quotes. Here are the best from a 2016 update of Doug Reeler’s ‘A Three-Fold Theory of Social Change’: “I would not give a fig for the simplicity on this side of complexity. But I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side.” Oliver Wendell Holmes “Whosoever wishes to know about the world …

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Is the Anti-Politics machine still a good critique of the aid business?

Duncan Green - January 11, 2017

Just been re-reading a great 6 page summary of James Ferguson’s 1994 classic critique of the aid industry, The Anti-Politics Machine. Read this and ask yourself, apart from the grating use of the term ‘Third World’, how much has changed? ‘Any question of the form ‘what is to be done?’ demands first of all an answer to the question, ‘By whom?’ The ‘development’ discourse, and …

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What is Fiscal Justice? A rationale and some great examples

Duncan Green - January 10, 2017

What is ‘Fiscal Justice’? It’s one of those campaign buzzwords that appears every so often, and Oxfam is going big on it (you’ll hear plenty about it at the impending Davos meeting, provided the media cover anything other than Donald Trump’s inauguration that week). If you want to get a sense of what it means on the ground, check out Oxfam’s ‘Fiscal Justice Global Track …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - January 9, 2017

The World Economic Forum tweeted a rather silly list of ’14 things successful people do before breakfast’. Paul Kirby reckoned ‘The secret of success must be to have breakfast in the evening’. As for trying this at home, when I try and ‘spend quality time with my family’/’connect with my spouse’ before breakfast, they turn pretty nasty……. Lots of great commentaries on the zeitgeist – …

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Book Review: Social Physics : How Social Networks can make us Smarter

Duncan Green - January 6, 2017

My Christmas reading included a book called Social Physics – yep, a party animal (my others were Lord of the Flies and Knausgard Vol 3, both wonderful). Here’s the review: Airport bookstores are bewildering places – shelf after shelf of management gurus offering distilled lessons on leadership, change and everything else. How to distinguish snake oil from substance? My Christmas reading, based on a recommendation …

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How bad is my filter bubble problem? Please help me find out

Duncan Green - January 5, 2017

In an idle moment over the Christmas break, I decided to run a twitter poll to assess the extent of my filter bubble. For any of you who’ve been on a different planet for the last few months, that’s the social media phenomenon whereby you like/follow/read only those sources that broadly agree with you, creating an echo chamber that can lead to you mistakenly thinking …

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