August 2008

Update on global poverty figures – another 400 million below the poverty line

admin - August 29, 2008

As discussed in my previous blog, the World Bank has now issued its revised global poverty numbers. These have been recalculated to respond to its improved measure of ‘purchasing power parity’, which rebalances figures for GDP to allow for the fact that the price of goods and services varies between countries (i.e. a haircut in Sierra Leone costs a lot less than a haircut in …

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Complexity, Chaos, Catastrophes and Change: Is the New Physics much help to development wonks?

admin - August 26, 2008

One of the unfinished tasks in From Poverty to Power is developing a better model for analysing processes of change, so I’ve been going back to my prehistoric roots as a physics undergraduate, and reading about complexity and chaos. Exploring the Science of Complexity is a newish (February 08) paper from the Overseas Development Institute that wrestles with the question posed by Robert Chambers back …

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Remember the development round? Belated reflections on the WTO Doha collapse

admin - August 22, 2008

I was on holiday when the Doha round ran into the sand at the end of July (for more see here), but reading the reports brought back memories of previous collapses (a WTO speciality) in Seattle and Cancun. If you can get past the thickets of tradespeak, the subtexts to the latest collapse carry some fascinating stories about how the world has changed since the …

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I just read four novels in a row…

admin - August 12, 2008

….. without a single interruption from development, economics, news, or the appositely named ‘grey literature’ of papers, reports and all the rest of the stuff that pours into my inbox every day. Yep, I’ve been on holiday. Actually, the supposed detox of reading fiction proved to be an unplanned exploration into the links between individual citizens and politics – there appears to be no escape.

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Killer facts: a user’s guide

admin - August 7, 2008

‘Killer Facts’, are those punchy, memorable, headline-grabbing statistics that are picked up by the media and politicians and have immediate impact. In influencing terms, the right killer fact can be more effective than dozens of well-researched reports.

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A youtube’s worth a thousand words

admin - August 1, 2008

My kids introduced me to youtube, mainly through happy family moments watching unfortunate things happen to cats. But now Oxfam’s amazing audiovisual team have boiled down 500 pages of ‘From Poverty to Power’ into a 2 minute video. The team is led by film maker Sandhya Suri, who made an award-winning documentary about her family, ‘I is for India’, an extraordinary insight into the human …

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