April 2011

Where has the social protection debate got to? What's still missing?

admin - April 28, 2011

I always find debates around social protection strangely slippery. The language is fuzzy, the boundaries vague (what’s the difference between social protection and social policy? Depends who you ask). So a couple of weeks ago, I was secretly appalled when asked to give a 5 minute blogger’s input to a big IDS conference on ‘Social Protection for Social Justice’. Luckily I’m an early riser, so …

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The Chinese in Africa – is there a backlash?

admin - April 27, 2011

The debate in aid circles on China’s expanding role in Africa is often pretty crass – the demonisers v the rose-tinted spectacles. What has always struck me most in the past is how many Africans, both in government and elsewhere, prefer the businesslike approach of China to the finger-wagging of the ex-colonial powers. But China’s African honeymoon may be coming to an end, according to this …

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Test your jargon, Rodrik's parable, bamboo is grass, Google future, an Asian Norway, 6 theories of policy change, the history of the universe in 18 minutes: links I liked

admin - April 26, 2011

Test your knowledge of development jargon (and yes, ashamed to say I got 100%, but it is pretty easy). A nice parable for the world economy, from Dani Rodrik and an accompanying explanation of its underlying economics. ‘This single move can rid economies of the growth-without-jobs syndrome. This is the new green growth model the world is desperately seeking—creating opportunities to build economic wealth from …

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Africa Power and Politics – David Booth responds

admin - April 22, 2011

ODI’s David Booth responds to my post on the ODI’s Africa Power and Politics Programme “The APPP could hardly have hoped for a more encouraging reception for its first policy brief than the one provided by Duncan’s blog of 15 April. Encouraging and suitably challenging! The point of a policy brief is to be, well, brief, and focused on implications. So it’s not surprising if …

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The case for Microfinance: responses to Milford Bateman from Malcolm Harper and Thankom Arun (and your chance to vote)

admin - April 21, 2011

Yesterday Milford Bateman tried to pop the microfinance bubble. Today Malcolm Harper and Thankom Arun urge us not to throw out the baby with the bathwater (please excuse mixed bubblebath metaphors). After reading this, I urge you to vote in the highly unscientific opinion poll to the right – time to see where the blog-reading public stand on this. First up, Malcolm Harper: “Bateman, like many …

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Has the microfinance bubble really burst? Guest blog by Milford Bateman

admin - April 20, 2011

Microfinance used to be untouchable – the developmental equivalent of motherhood, apple pie or Mother Teresa. Now it is increasingly coming under fire. Today guest blogger Milford Bateman lays out the case for the prosecution. Responses by Malcolm Harper and Thankom Arun to follow. Or you could just listen to this Guardian podcast with Ha-Joon Chang, David Roodman and Ajaz Khan. “The development industry has recently …

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Robin Hood: the long view from Ha-Joon Chang (and me)

admin - April 19, 2011

This appeared in today’s Guardian and on its Comment is Free site yesterday. CiF is notable for the number and vehemence of comments, many of them slightly unhinged. 100 comments in the first two hours is about par for the course, evoking images of lots of angry people in bedsits and offices bashing away at their keyboards. Keeps them off the streets, I suppose. Robin …

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Dump Doha; dictators v growth; DFID's contradictions; BRIC diplomacy; Zambia v Glencore on tax; brain drain v workers' rights; Gulabi Gang in pink saris: links I liked

admin - April 18, 2011

First some housekeeping: if you’ve posted a comment on this blog, and find it hasn’t appeared, apologies – it’s nothing personal – the spam filter has been eating a few comments recently. To be on the safe side, just email a copy of the comment to me (dgreen@oxfam.org.uk). Dani Rodrik and Martin Wolf on why we need to give up on the Doha Round of …

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Africa Power and Politics – a great new research programme, with lots to argue with

admin - April 15, 2011

It’s a while since I’ve been as excited, intrigued and alarmed by a four page briefing as I was by the first policy brief of ODI’s Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP). If you’re interested in the politics of development, drop everything and read it, and the accompanying (but gated, although the introductory overview is here) IDS Bulletin, entitled Working with the Grain? Rethinking African Governance.   …

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Robin Hood, Robin Hood, dum dum dum de dum: financial transaction tax update from Max Lawson

admin - April 14, 2011

The Robin Hood Tax campaign to fund development and climate change adaptation via a small financial transactions tax (FTT) is potentially one of the campaigning success stories of recent years – an object lesson in how to seize the moment (global financial crisis and fiscal horror story in the rich countries) to promote a good policy (redistributive taxation that can unlock significant new resources for …

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