Is Disruption a good thing? Let’s ask Southern Civil Society leaders for a change.

Duncan Green - May 12, 2016

Disruption is cool in the development chattersphere right now, and that may not be a good thing – what if the thing being disrupted is actually useful or valuable? Do you want your marriage/home/body/ cat disrupted? Thought not. Organizations doing good work don’t necessarily have to be innovative (what about practice makes perfect?); good partners don’t have to be new and funky. Above all, poor …

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The Global Beneficial Ownership Register: a new approach to fighting corruption by combining political advocacy with technology

Duncan Green - May 11, 2016

A second post on corruption ahead of tomorrow’s summit. Activists are often more concerned with how they see the world than with understanding how others see it, but understanding what motivates and incentivises others is crucial to building coalitions for change. Transparency campaigner David McNair describes one such example, a wonky-but-important demand for a Global Beneficial Ownership Register to curb tax evasion. After more than …

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Should aid fight corruption? New book questions logic behind this week’s anti-corruption summit

Duncan Green - May 10, 2016

Over at the Center for Global Development, Charles Kenny wants comments on the draft of his book on Aid and Corruption (deadline end of May). Let’s hope this becomes standard practice – it worked brilliantly for me on How Change Happens – more varied voices can chip in good new ideas, spot mistakes or contradictions, and it all helps get a buzz going ahead of publication. …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - May 9, 2016

The flood of bonkers/depressing stories from the US continued last week. The Economist spoke for many. Plane flight delayed because alert passenger noticed Arabic-influenced mathematics (confusing Al-gebra with Al-Qaeda?) PEPFAR wasted $1.4 billion telling people not to have sex. Way to go, guys. But it’s not all bad. Turns out Obama did a lot more than just reform healthcare. One of many positive first drafts …

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Here’s a summary of The Economist’s important critique of GDP and suggestions for reform

Duncan Green - May 6, 2016

‘Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made’ said Otto von Bismarck. Turns out you can probably add GDP to that list. Last week’s Economist had a comprehensive takedown of the uses and abuses of Gross Domestic Product as an indicator of wellbeing, economic health or pretty much anything else. People have been critiquing GDP ever since it was created, …

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Book Review: The Economics of Poverty by Martin Ravallion

Duncan Green - May 5, 2016

Oxfam inequality number cruncher Deborah Hardoon reviews The Economics of Poverty by Martin Ravallion.  It’s hard to think of a better placed individual than Martin Ravallion to have written this book. Not only has he spent over 30 years working on poverty, including 24 years at the World Bank, but in 1990 it was Martin Ravallion who, during dinner with his wife had an ‘epiphany …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - May 4, 2016

Inequality and someone’s been messing with Branko Milanovic’s famous chart of who’s benefited from 20 years of globalization. As Alan Beattie tweeted, ‘If only there were some elephant-based expression meaning a big issue you can’t ignore….’ A study of adults who received child sponsorship as kids finds big long term impact in India, but none in Uganda, Kenya or Bolivia Please add your name to …

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Book Review: Rich People, Poor Countries – the evolution of the South’s plutocrats

Duncan Green - May 3, 2016

Another addition to the inequality library. Rich People, Poor Countries has a less ambitious sweep than Piketty, Deaton or Milanovic’s grand narratives. Author Caroline Freund does some very revealing number crunching on the changing face of the annual Forbes billionaires list to explore ‘the rise of emerging-market tycoons and their mega firms’, in the words of the book’s subtitle. Unfortunately she laces her findings with …

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A crunch point for Indian civil society – what are the options?

Duncan Green - April 29, 2016

Second installment on last week’s India visit. Vlog from Lucknow and a debate with Oxfam India’s Vanita Suneja   In the rolling, 16 hour-a-day seminar that is a field trip, one topic kept coming up in my conversations in India last week. Many civil society organizations feel beleaguered. As the Indian economy booms, the foreign aid agencies on which many CSOs have come to depend …

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