Economics

How can the Anti-Corruption Movement sharpen up its act?

Duncan Green - July 20, 2017

Spent a day earlier this week in a posh, but anonymous (Chatham House Rule) Central London location, discussing the state of the global anti-corruption movement with some of its leaders. The meeting took place in a posh, very high ceilinged room, under the stern gaze of giant portraits of assorted kings, aristos and philosophers. I wondered what they would have made of the assembled academics …

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Can a new Index measure whether governments are serious about reducing inequality?

Duncan Green - July 18, 2017

Oxfam’s inequality ubergeek, Deborah Hardoon, needs your help with an ambitious new index As a researcher working on inequality, there are plenty of data and statistics for me to analyse, model and generate ‘killer stats’ from. Of course, there are many data gaps, plus lots of debate on which measures are the best to use (hint, not the one proposed for SDG10). But for the …

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How Does the Aid System need to Change? Reflections from the OECD’s new aid boss

Duncan Green - July 14, 2017

Charlotte Petri Gornitzka took over as chair of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee last October, and from her new vantage point, reflects on the necessary evolution of the aid system For the aid system, the SDGs call for transformation rather than “business as usual”. Everybody is talking the talk but how ready and willing are we to change our own ways of working to enable …

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What has the iPhone got to do with inequality? New Oxfam Book Review blog

Duncan Green - July 13, 2017

I often get asked for more book reviews on the blog (presumably to give readers the bluffer’s guide until they get round to reading the real thing, if ever). So very happy to see that Oxfam’s research wonks have started ‘Book Banter’ – a development book review service. Follow here. Any other good sources of development book reviews? Here is Franziska Mager (right) on Mariana Mazzucato’s bestseller, …

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What’s the problem with Globalization?

Duncan Green - July 6, 2017

Globalization, remember that? When I first entered the development NGO scene in the late 90s it was all the rage. Lots of rage. The anti-globalization movement roared from summit to summit. Academics traded books and papers that boosted or critiqued. The World Bank used voodoo modelling to show that really we’d all be better off if we just got rid of borders altogether. As the …

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Two days with the Radiographers of Power

Duncan Green - July 5, 2017

Spent another couple of days with the International Budget Partnership (IBP) last week. If budgets sound boring and bean-counter ish, consider this quote from Rudolf Goldscheid: “the budget is the skeleton of the state stripped of all misleading ideologies.” Follow the money, because the rest is spin. The IBP trains and supports civil society organizations (CSOs) in dozens of countries to become better radiographers of …

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On hype, Impact Investing and the Valley of Death

Duncan Green - June 27, 2017

How do we build bridges across the Valley of Death? That’s the arresting image in a recent Oxfam paper on ‘impact investing’. The valley of death (see diagram) is the gap that firms face as they move from small start ups to Big Biz. In the start-up stage they raise cash wherever they can find it – family, friends, microfinance. Once they are big enough, …

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Can Oxfam do the Doughnut? A conversation with Kate Raworth

Duncan Green - June 21, 2017

Kate Raworth came in last week to present her new book, Doughnut Economics (see my earlier review here or Simon Maxwell’s thoughtful summary/critique) and discuss its implications for Oxfam. After writing the initial DE paper while still at Oxfam back in 2012, Kate left to turn it into a book, so there was a definite air of the prodigal daughter returns. Given that I’ve already reviewed …

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Grenfell Tower is a Hurricane Katrina moment, revealing the shameful state of Britain

Duncan Green - June 20, 2017

My colleague Max Lawson sends out a weekly round-up of things he’s read, and adds some views. Here he is on the meaning and horror of the Grenfell Tower fire. At times an event can act like a flash of lightning, illuminating simmering issues that can otherwise feel abstract.  The recent horrific fire in the Grenfell Tower Block in West London has done this in the UK, not …

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The imaginary advocate, the benefits of Command and Control, and why I’m just channelling Hayek

Duncan Green - June 2, 2017

Continuing the download from the recent LSE-ODI workshop on ‘new experimentalism’ was this thought-provoking description by David Kennedy of the ‘imaginary advocate’, the assumed individual behind How Change Happens and, by extension, a lot of NGO advocacy. Might be a very interesting addition to the endless awaydays, strategic planning processes etc to ask people to try and spell out the imaginary subjects of their own …

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