December 2012

Turning garbage into music this Christmas.

admin - December 21, 2012

Aaah, this is too sweet to hold over until the New Year. Paraguay’s Recycled Orchestra is the creation of Favio Chavez, a landfill worker and musician. It transforms garbage into classical instruments, played by the kids of local people  (Garbage not garage?). Their story is being turned into a film (if they can raise enough cash), with the perfect title landfillharmonic. Magical. Christmas starts here. See …

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Does agriculture have a future? Sonali Bisht wraps up Oxfam’s online debate

admin - December 21, 2012

For the past two weeks, Oxfam has been hosting an online forum on the future of agriculture with a great range of viewpoints from every corner of the globe. Today is the last blogging day before the Christmas break (see you in 2013, everyone), so I’m handing over to Sonali Bisht, founder of INHERE, India, to wrap up a pretty diverse set of discussions. The …

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Natural Disasters and Humanitarian Crises in 2012: how did we do?

admin - December 20, 2012

Ed Cairns, an Oxfam senior policy adviser, looks back on a very mixed year in the response to humanitarian crises. You might not have noticed it from the headlines, but this year Oxfam has responded to more crises than ever before. Not megadisasters like Haiti’s earthquake in 2010, but the daily struggle for survival that has just got worse in places like the West African …

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Calling all Euro/Aid sceptics – here’s some top quality aid from the EU

admin - December 19, 2012

Oxfam programme researcher John Magrath (he’s the one on the left in the pic) has been looking at some European aid, and is impressed with what he found European Aid gets a lousy press. If you’re a reader of the UK’s Daily Mail (and nearly 2 million Brits are) then you’ll be used to headlines such as “Dance lessons in Africa, jets for tyrants, derelict …

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Money can’t buy me….. what, exactly?

admin - December 19, 2012

For those of you afflicted by the stresses of Christmas, tis the season of crass materialism to be jolly. But even if you are spared, here’s a fun exercise I was asked to conduct a few months ago for some piece of press work that probably never saw the light of day. Two questions: What do you think money can’t buy, and if you can’t …

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Are global value chains really the right answer for small farmers? Great new study from IIED and HIVOS

admin - December 18, 2012

If you’re interested in livelihoods, value chains, or agriculture, you absolutely have to read a great new paper from IIED and HIVOS.Small producer agency in the globalised market, by Bill Vorley, Ethel del Pozo-Bergnes and Anna Barnett, does for our thinking on livelihoods what the Africa Power and Politics Programme does for governance, or Portfolios of the Poor for financial systems – challenges most of …

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Forget swimming pools and bra hunts, it’s time for the Great Intern Debate

admin - December 17, 2012

It’s been a while. The issues that get a buzz going on this blog are often the internal-to-Oxfam debates, which  get Oxfamistas worked up while seeming to provoke a prurient curiosity in everyone else. Think swimming pools or bra hunts. There had been a bit of a lull on this front until I wandered unintentionally into another minefield – unpaid internships – during a recent …

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Milanovic on inequality (continued): implications for politics, alliances and migration

admin - December 14, 2012

In which, following on yesterday’s post,  Ricardo Fuentes and I decide to carry on chatting about the new Milanovic paper on inequality Duncan: Great intro to the Milanovic paper, Ricardo, but there’s plenty more juice to be had, I think. First let’s take a closer look at the graph you put up of change in global real income 1988-2008 (below). As well as the spike …

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Inequality and the rise of the global 1%: great new paper by Branko Milanovic

admin - December 13, 2012

Ricardo Fuentes on an important new paper. Tomorrow, Ricardo and I continue the conversation The rich in the West are getting richer. Many countries have experienced a sharp concentration of incomes over the last three decades. The top 1% of Americans have doubled their share of national income (from 8 to 17%) since Ronald Reagan was inaugurated 32 years ago – see graph, source here. …

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Why ‘Why Nations Fail’ Fails (mostly): review of Acemoglu and Robinson – 2012’s big development book

admin - December 12, 2012

Every now and then, a ‘Big Book on Development’ comes along that triggers a storm of arguments in my head (it’s a rather disturbing experience). One such is Why Nations Fail, by Daron Acemoglu (MIT) and James Robinson (Harvard). Judging by the proliferation of reviews and debates the book has provoked, my experience is widely shared. First, what does the book say? ‘The focus of our …

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