September 2009

Do we need to ration growth, and if so, who gets what's left?

admin - September 30, 2009

Spoke at a Quaker conference on the ‘zero growth economy’ at the weekend. Quaker meetings are different: when I finished speaking to an audience of 350 people, there was total hear-a-pin-drop silence. Instead of clapping, people reflect, eyes closed, on what they have just heard. And no, even though it was after lunch, they weren’t asleep (well, most of them) and it wasn’t just me – the …

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What happened at the Pittsburgh G20?

admin - September 29, 2009

I didn’t attend the G20 summit in Pittsburgh last week, but I’ve been poring over the communiqué. Here are some initial thoughts on what it all means (numbers in square brackets refer to paragraphs in the original), incorporating analysis and intel from the Oxfam team at the event. Headline: Pittsburgh formally enshrined the rise of the BRICs and relative decline of the G8: ‘We designated …

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Do poorer countries have less capacity for redistribution? A new paper

admin - September 28, 2009

When can a country end poverty by redistributing wealth from its rich people, and when must it instead rely on aid or growth? That’s a question Martin Ravallion, head of the World Bank’s research department seeks to answer in a new paper. Essentially he is trying to put precise numbers on the relatively obvious point that the richer a country becomes, the more potential it …

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G20 curtain raisers; Will China integrate Africa?; using humour for healthcare reform; Congress and New York Post v climate change: links I liked

admin - September 25, 2009

A handy websearch of G20 curtain-raisers from Michael Harvey at Global Dashboard .  ‘While 82% of the IMF’s newly loaned resources have gone to European area countries, just 1.6% have gone to countries in Africa.’ Ngaire Woods analyses the development response to the global meltdown since the April G20 summit in a paper for the European Parliament. Will Chinese investment provide the catalyst for East …

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All the latest stats on the global crisis and its development impact

admin - September 24, 2009

In time for the G20 summit later this week, my indefatigable colleague Richard King has revised and updated his invaluable synthesis of the key data on the global economic crisis and its development impact. Here goes: Unemployment (ILO)  Gender impact of the economic crisis in terms of unemployment rates is expected to be more detrimental for females than for males in most regions of the …

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GDP v Well-being – the Stiglitz Commission and other news

admin - September 23, 2009

According to Otto von Bismarck, the father of modern Germany, ‘Laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made.’ Having skimmed the report of the ‘The Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress’, commissioned by President Sarkozy and released last week, I would say GDP (Gross Domestic Product, the standard measure of a country’s economic performance) is right up …

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What’s happening in Brazil? Round up from a quick visit

admin - September 22, 2009

I spent last week racing round Brazil launching the Portuguese-language edition of From Poverty to Power (Da Pobreza ao Poder, the publishers are looking for distributors in Portugal, Angola and Mozambique – any suggestions?). Here are a few impressions: A year after the Lehman’s collapse hit the global panic buttons, there’s a striking level of optimism about Brazil’s handling of the global crisis. Last week’s …

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China rising; a dirty development mechanism; this week's G20 summit; the Indian drought and why climate change will ruin your beer: links I liked

admin - September 21, 2009

‘China has emerged as the most significant winner from the global financial and economic crisis’. Martin Wolf feels the geopolitical plates shifting in the FT Alex Evans lays into the Clean Development Mechanism and provides a handy curtain raiser for the G20 summit in Pittsburgh later this week The Economist charts the impact of climate change on developing countries and India’s disastrous drought And finally, now …

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Is this guy the world's best lecturer on development?

admin - September 18, 2009

I’m conscious that this blog has been somewhat heavy going this week, so here’s a reward to anyone who got through to Friday (especially for any saddoes like me who end up watching youtube at the weekend). Hans Rosling is a youtube phenomenon, a Swedish economist whose lectures on data and development have deservedly become legendary. He specializes in showing the evolution of the world’s …

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The UN lays into finance, speculation and the IMF: UNCTAD's Trade and Development Report 2009

admin - September 17, 2009

Another day, another UN report, this time the Trade and Development Report 2009, from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), released last week. It’s surprisingly forthright. Set up in 1964, in the table-thumping days of the New International Economic Order, in recent years UNCTAD had become markedly more cautious, not least under its current secretary general, the distinctly un-fiery Supachai Panitchpakdi, (a former WTO …

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