March 2009

How the global crisis is hitting Zambia (and the mining companies are taking advantage)

admin - March 31, 2009

As part of Oxfam’s flurry of studies of the development impact of the global crisis (for an overview click here), here’s a summary of a new paper of mine on the impact of the global crisis on Zambia. The main story is perhaps how the mining lobby has used the crisis to reverse some progress on taxing copper revenues.

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The UN/Stiglitz Commission recipe for reforming globalization

admin - March 30, 2009

I finally got round to reading the report of the UN Commission of Experts on reforms of the international monetary and financial system, chaired by Joseph Stiglitz. It’s very sensible, comprehensive and solution-oriented. Trouble is, is anyone listening? Regrettably, the UN process seems largely delinked from the G20/IMF/World Bank leadership on the crisis (see previous post on this). Highlights from the report – apologies for …

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The impact of the global crisis on women workers – new report

admin - March 30, 2009

A powerful new Oxfam report is released today, ahead of this week’s crisis summit in London. Written by my colleague Bethan Emmett, it pulls together preliminary research in 10 countries across Asia and Latin America to show that women working in export manufacturing industries, e.g. garments and electronics, are often first to be laid off, frequently without pay or compensation. In Asia, there are reports of …

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The physics of God; China channels Keynes; the Turner Report; Dani Rodrik on the London summit and the Paul Krugman song: links I liked

admin - March 27, 2009

The physics of God – what does the ‘veiled reality’ of quantum mechanics mean for religious belief? Alex Evans sees China’s sudden assertiveness in the crisis response discussion as a sign of a possible Bretton Woods moment. Zhou Xiaochuan – the governor of China’s central bank is apparently channeling Keynes. ‘The financial sector no longer enjoys the benefit of the doubt: it may burn up …

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Viet Nam: how the crisis is hitting migrant workers in globalization's poster child economy

admin - March 26, 2009

As we approach the London Summit on 2 April, I’ll be putting up some findings from research Oxfam has been doing on the impact of the crisis in a range of developing countries. First up, some early results from our hyperactive Viet Nam team on the impact of the global crisis on what has been one of the world’s most successful economies in recent years. A …

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Is British aid bad? Owen Barder locks antlers with Bill Easterly

admin - March 25, 2009

Time for a little attention to the rising aid sceptic tide. A number of books (Dambisa Moyo, Jonathan Glennie, Michela Wrong), blogs etc have been trashing aid with both good and bad consequences. Good in that, as From Poverty to Power argues, there is lots wrong with the aid system that urgently needs fixing (and some deeper questions on the potential impact of aid in …

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Food prices for poor people are not coming down – new data from the FAO

admin - March 24, 2009

It’s been bugging me for months that we are still talking about a ‘food price crisis’ even though world commodity prices, including food, have come down a long way since their peak in mid 2008. Should we still be talking about 150m people being pushed below the poverty line by high food prices? Won’t they have reemerged from poverty as food prices come down again? …

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Vacuous declarations; carbon neutral Maldives; Dani Rodrik, heretic; the case for over-regulation and why watching soaps leads to fewer babies but more lovers: links I liked

admin - March 23, 2009

The FT impales a vacuous G20 finance ministers declaration The Maldives becomes the first country to go carbon neutral. Unfortunately it’s everyone else who has to do likewise to save it from sinking beneath the rising seas. Dani Rodrik as heretical and original as ever, arguing for stronger national regulation, not the global variety, on the basis that financial diversity strengthens resilience, among other arguments. …

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IMF finally calls it – the world economy will shrink in 2009, and developing countries are hit harder than we thought

admin - March 20, 2009

Every revision of global growth predictions has been heading towards zero, and now the IMF, in its report to the G20 finance ministers’ meeting last weekend,  has taken the next step. It predicts the world economy will shrink in 2009, (by minus 0.5-1%) for the first time in 60 years. It’s pretty safe to assume that this won’t be the last downward move. Take a …

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