June 2008

Shocks and Change

admin - June 29, 2008

Funny thing, the Chatham House rule. Introduced by the Chatham House thinktank to enable policy makers to speak more freely at seminars and meetings, people often assume it means you are sworn to complete secrecy about what was said. Not so. The actual rule reads “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information …

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The Rights and Wrongs of Food Miles

admin - June 26, 2008

Professor Tim Lang, who invented the term ‘food miles’, is a gifted campaigner – it’s memorable, immediate and challenges consumers to take action to curb the environmental destruction caused by daft practices like shipping bottled water to markets on the other side of the world. But what if you’re one of the 1.5 million African farmers and labourers who grow flowers and vegetables for export, …

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Publication day

admin - June 24, 2008

That was a long day. Oxfam launched the book on Monday, so I head off for BBC radio’s Today programme at 6.15 in the morning, and finish with Al Jazeera TV news at past 10pm. The interviews are interspersed with interminable debates with the London media’s wonderfully globalized (and opinionated) cab drivers: the BBC guy is from Ghana, has lived in London for 25 years …

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Can states be built?

admin - June 21, 2008

Do you read Prospect magazine? If not, why not? I don’t always agree with it, but it gets the intellectual juices flowing. The current (June) issue includes a counterintuitive piece on food prices (high prices do not increase global hunger – I disagree), a brilliant essay arguing that video games foster collaboration, not individualism, and best of all, a great, angry blast on how the wrong kind of aid has failed to build effective states, and has in fact often undermined them.

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Has China Kicked Away the Ladder from other Poor Countries?

admin - June 19, 2008

China’s unique combination of vast workforce, rock-bottom wages, high literacy, good infrastructure and political control over labour makes it able to out-compete its industrial rivals. China has driven down the prices of most manufactured goods, to the benefit of consumers the world over, but undercutting other developing country exporters in the process. Although skill shortages have led to recent wage pressures in some areas, with …

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