Duncan Green

This is a conversational blog written and maintained by Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB and author of ‘From Poverty to Power’. This personal reflection is not intended as a comprehensive statement of Oxfam's agreed policies.

What do aid agencies need to do to get serious on changing social norms?

Duncan Green - March 24, 2017

Earlier this week I spent a day with Oxfam’s biggest cheeses, discussing how we should react to the rising tide of nationalism and populism (if you think that’s a Northern concern, take a look at what is going on in India or the Philippines). One of the themes that emerged in the discussions was how to engage with social norms – the deeply held beliefs …

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On Populism, Nationalism, Babies and Bathwater

Duncan Green - March 23, 2017

A couple of Oxfamers were over from the US recently so ODI kindly pulled together a seriously stimulating conversation about life, theuniverse and everything. More specifically, how should ‘we’ – the aid community broadly defined – respond to the rising tide of nationalism, populism, and attacks on aid. It was Chatham House rules, so I’ve already told you too much, but here are some of …

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How do we shift social norms on climate change?

Duncan Green - March 22, 2017

Spent an enjoyable hour discussing strategy with exfamer Kate Norgrove, who now runs the Purpose Climate Lab (see here for the kind of thing they do). Kate wanted to discuss their theory of change (what else?). Purpose has identified what it sees as a gap: while lots of organizations are working on climate change in ways that are oppositional or focussing on laws and policies, …

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If we want to innovate, we need to disrupt our relationships and embrace tension

Duncan Green - March 21, 2017

Guest post from Caroline Cassidy, Communications Manager in ODI’s Research and Policy in Development team Henry Ford famously said ‘if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.’ The same can be said for our relationships. When it comes to getting evidence into policy no one can dispute that to have any success you need strong working relationships, champions, …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - March 20, 2017

Either a genius subeditor placed this ad, or serendipity is a wonderful thing [h/t Mark Perkins] Branko Milanovic at his brilliant best on why 20th Century tools cannot be used to address 21st Century income inequality, and what to do instead Edible drones are a thing, apparently, or soon will be. 50kg of food and soon you’ll be able to eat the vehicle. Here’s the …

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How can governments raise money from automation and ICT to compensate the losers?

Duncan Green - March 17, 2017

Got a feeling I’m going to end up looking pretty stupid with this post, but hey, what’s the point of a blog if you can’t humiliate yourself in public? Went to a ‘digital development summit’ earlier this week (here’s a prior curtain raiser on this blog). The theme was the ‘future of work’ (see earlier musings on this blog). Proper post to follow when I …

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Ten Signs of an impending Global Land Rights Revolution

Duncan Green - March 16, 2017

Exfamer Chris Jochnick, who now runs Landesa, the land rights NGO, sets out his stall ahead of a big World Bank event next week. The development community has experienced various “revolutions” over the years – from microfinance to women’s rights, from the green revolution to sustainable development.  Each of these awakenings has improved our understanding of the challenges we face; each has transformed the development …

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The Power of Data: how new stats are changing our understanding of inequality

Duncan Green - March 15, 2017

Every Saturday my colleague Max Lawson, who’s Oxfam’s global inequality policy lead, sends round an email entitled ‘Some short reading for the weekend if you fancy it’. This week was particularly good, so I just lifted it: This year has already been good for the improvement in data availability on inequality, with the launch of the Wealth and Incomes Database (WID) in Paris in January. …

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Can economic growth really be decoupled from increased carbon emissions in Least Developed Countries? Ethiopia’s Story

Duncan Green - March 14, 2017

Guest post from Steve Baines These are definitely not the research findings I expected to be presenting. The data in front of me has challenged some of my long-held assumptions. Climate negotiations through the years show us one thing very clearly – that Least Developed Countries demand the right to develop their own economies and build their own prosperity for their people. They are not …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - March 13, 2017

Current refugee numbers are high, but certainly not unprecedented, and a small fraction of total global migration. Honduran farmers sue World Bank private lending arm over human rights violations. I went there in 2012 and the palm oil sector is indeed a grim place. Why does the Gates 2017 letter ignore ‘behaviour’, ‘politics’ and ‘institutions’? asks Suvojit Chattopadhyay Nice summary of research and debates on …

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