Book Review: Rich People, Poor Countries – the evolution of the South’s plutocrats

Duncan Green - May 3, 2016

Another addition to the inequality library. Rich People, Poor Countries has a less ambitious sweep than Piketty, Deaton or Milanovic’s grand narratives. Author Caroline Freund does some very revealing number crunching on the changing face of the annual Forbes billionaires list to explore ‘the rise of emerging-market tycoons and their mega firms’, in the words of the book’s subtitle. Unfortunately she laces her findings with …

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A crunch point for Indian civil society – what are the options?

Duncan Green - April 29, 2016

Second installment on last week’s India visit. Vlog from Lucknow and a debate with Oxfam India’s Vanita Suneja   In the rolling, 16 hour-a-day seminar that is a field trip, one topic kept coming up in my conversations in India last week. Many civil society organizations feel beleaguered. As the Indian economy booms, the foreign aid agencies on which many CSOs have come to depend …

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The income of the world’s poor is going up, but they’re $1 trillion poorer. What’s going on?

Duncan Green - April 28, 2016

Oxfam number cruncher Deborah Hardoon tries to get her head round something weird – according to the stats, the poorest half of the people are getting poorer even though their incomes are rising. It has become something of a tradition that in January every year we take a look at the Forbes list of billionaires and the Credit Suisse Global Wealth databook and calculate how …

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Tikamgarh revisited, what’s happened to the amazing fishing communities I visited in 2006?

Duncan Green - April 27, 2016

Just got back from a great week in India, including my first attempt at a phone vlog (above). One of the drawbacks of being a generalist is that you go somewhere, hear riveting stories of organization, resistance (and sometimes of course, of failure), but then never find out what happened next. But last week I managed to return to one of the places and stories that …

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Civil society must change itself before it can change the world

Duncan Green - April 26, 2016

  Danny Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of the Civicus global civil society network, has some heretical thoughts about CSOs putting their own house in order This week, more than 900 activists from more than 100 countries are meeting in Bogotá, Colombia for International Civil Society Week. We will come together at what feels like a momentous and difficult time for civil society. My colleagues have documented …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - April 25, 2016

You are where you sit (in class), via PhD Comics The aid trend is reversing: More money is now going to the poorest countries, according to Erik Solheim oecdinsights.org/2016/04/18/aid… Vietnamese kids do absurdly well (and some Latin Americans really badly) on international test scores (PISA) given their income  [h/t Laurence Chandy] ‘Climate scientists are developing pre-traumatic stress disorder  due to their awareness of what is …

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If governments don’t tackle the causes of conflict and the refugee crisis, will the World Humanitarian Summit be a damp squib?

Duncan Green - April 22, 2016

Ed Cairns Oxfam’s humanitarian policy adviser, sets the scene for next month’s World Humanitarian Summit as we publish our curtain raiser for the event. After years of preparation, and a roller coaster of expectations plunging and soaring, it is almost upon us. One month from tomorrow, dozens of world leaders will gather in Istanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit. The UN has finalised the commitments …

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Thought Leadership and NGOs: What is it? How can we get better at it?

Duncan Green - April 21, 2016

Here’s today’s 2 minute vlog summary for the incurably lazy/visual The aid business specializes in baffling, slippery concepts, often adopted as the latest management fuzzwords (like buzzwords, but fuzzy). One recent example in Oxfam was a brainstorm on ‘thought leadership’ – What is it? Does Oxfam do it? Do we want to do more of it? If so, how can we do it better? My …

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Michael Jacobs on how civil society and others achieved the Paris Climate Agreement

Duncan Green - April 20, 2016

A brilliant analysis by Michael Jacobs of the success factors behind last year’s Paris Climate Agreement appeared in Juncture, IPPR’s quarterly journal  recently. Jacobs unpacks the role of civil society (broadly defined) and political leadership. Alas, it’s over 4,000 words long, so as a service to my attention deficit colleagues in aid and development, here’s an abbreviated version (about a third the length, but if …

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What have 3 years of campaigning on Big Food achieved? What still needs to happen?

Duncan Green - April 19, 2016

Erinch Sahan, acting head of Oxfam’s private sector team, looks back on 3 years of trying to get the world’s food giants to clean up their act, the subject of a new Behind the Brands report. The captains of the food industry have come a long way over the last few years. The “Big 10”, the world’s 10 largest food and beverage companies, have moved from …

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