November 2012

Science Girl; Starbucks and tax; NYC carbon; adaptation in America: videos I liked

admin - November 30, 2012

Some Friday video light relief (well, light-ish) on climate change (with an eye on dismal dialogues in Doha) and tax evasion. First the totally adorable Science Girl on climate change, clean energy + a surprise upside – wildfires melt Barbie & Ken before your very eyes Next up, a sweet and funny Starbucks tax sting – two Welsh Activists decide it should return its 28% tax …

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Robert Chambers on the Fifth Power (the power to empower)

admin - November 29, 2012

Some thoughts from Robert Chambers, from whose wonderful new book I recently posted several excerpts. People tease me for being pentaphiliac.  They notice that I love fives of a thing.  Well, it’s true.  If there are six, I boil them down to five.  If there are only four I rack my brains to find a fifth.   So the four types of power have been a challenge: …

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The World Bank’s new chief economist on redistribution, taxation, economists, climate change and, errm, multi-player sudoku

admin - November 28, 2012

The World Bank’s new chief economist, Kaushik Basu (right), came through London last week and had a good initial exchange of views with some NGO wonks. I went to a similar exercise with his predecessor, Justin Lin (blogpost here), and the comparison was interesting. Whereas Justin focussed on industrial policy and structural upgrading, Kaushik talked a lot about governance, inequality, taxation and growth. Justin focussed …

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What are the ingredients of democratic breakthroughs?

admin - November 27, 2012

Don’t know much/anything about the politics of the United States Institute of Peace (but handle with care – in the US, any institution with ‘peace’ or ‘freedom’ in the title is usually pretty suspect), but it has a very interesting paper out on ‘Democratic Breakthroughs: the Ingredients of Successful Revolts.’ It’s a bit reductionist, but identifies some potentially informative patterns. This from the summary: The …

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Small arms psychedelia; innovation Tourette’s; Women and Food; Post-2015; DRC; inconvenient corruption; Why Authors Fail; 4 degree world; Africans for Norway: links I liked

admin - November 26, 2012

Psychedelic infographic on small arms and ammunition trade by country [h/t Chris Blattman] Innovation Tourette’s – the latest occupational disease in the aid industry Some Oxfam news: We’re half way through a provocative two week online debate on women and the food system and we’ve just tidied up and published our in-house research guidelines on ethics, interviewing, writing exec sums & killer facts, terms of …

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Love, death and violence against women in the DRC (and elsewhere): what are we missing?

admin - November 25, 2012

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, so expect a rash of stories about sexual violence in the DRC’s current conflict. Here Rachel Hastie, Oxfam’s protection adviser,  cautions against a simplistic ‘heart of darkness’ narrative, and argues for a more nuanced and human understanding of the phenomenon. There’s a lovely photograph in the atrium of the Oxfam office. It shows …

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Satirographics on development – here’s a couple, but where are yours?

admin - November 23, 2012

It was bound to happen. With the boom in infographics, along comes a satirical fringe. These are a gift for blogs and powerpoints, so please send in your favourites (I’ll post the best ones). First up, success and the wonders of ‘retrospective coherence’ [h/t Innovation Network] Next, obfuscatory logic models (aka follow the chimp). Click twice if it’s too small to read.  [h/t Chris Roche]

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A Muslim tiger? Turkey’s rising power and influence

admin - November 22, 2012

Oxfam Private Sector Adviser Erinch Sahan (right) is blown away by Turkey’s rising influence across the Muslim world Turkey is on the rise. It’s become a confident middle power with visions of becoming a regional super-power. The one time ‘sick man of Europe’ is expanding its influence, across region and beyond and is seen as the leader of choice across the Muslim world. Nowhere is …

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Lant Pritchett v the Randomistas on the nature of evidence – is a wonkwar brewing?

admin - November 21, 2012

Last week I had a lot conversations about evidence. First, one of the periodic retreats of Oxfam senior managers reviewed our work on livelihoods, humanitarian partnership and gender rights. The talk combined some quantitative work (for example the findings of our new ‘effectiveness reviews’), case studies, and the accumulated wisdom of our big cheeses. But the tacit hierarchy of these different kinds of knowledge worried …

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Commodities of War: What the people without guns say about life, death and fear in the DR Congo

admin - November 20, 2012

I was supposed to be in the Democratic Republic of Congo this week, with today being devoted to visiting the Kanyaruchina camp (right) for ‘internally displaced people’ (IDPs) near Goma. Instead, the trip’s been cancelled, I am still in London and Kanyaruchina has been abandoned, as some 30,000 people have fled (again). The reason is the sudden escalation in fighting between the M23 guerrilla group and …

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