Economics

Will Bill Gates’ chickens end African poverty?

Duncan Green - June 23, 2016

  Joseph Hanlon and Teresa Smart are unimpressed by a new initiative, but disappointingly avoid all the potential excruciating puns Bill Gates announced on 7 June that he is giving 100,000 chickens to the poor because chickens are “easy to take care of” and a woman with just five hens in Africa can make $1000 per year. For Mozambique where we work, this is remarkable …

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How Buddhist Tax Accountants and Whistle Blowers can change the world

Duncan Green - June 10, 2016

Max Lawson is back again (he seems to have more time to write now he’s Oxfam International’s policy guy on inequality) to discuss tax morality and a bizarre encounter with a Buddhist accountant A few years ago I went on a hiking holiday with a number of people I didn’t know, and ended up befriending a tax accountant.  He was a very nice man, who had been …

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What’s happening to inequality in China? Update from a visit to Beijing

Duncan Green - June 7, 2016

Spent a fascinating few days in Beijing last week, at the invitation of Oxfam Hong Kong. The main topic was inequality, including a big seminar with lots of academics (NGOs are very research-based in China – it was a graphtastic, PhD-rich week). Here are some of the headlines: Income Inequality in China is changing fast. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Gini index …

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First inequality, now neoliberalism: how many statues are left to kick over outside the IMF?

Duncan Green - June 6, 2016

Max Lawson, now Oxfam International’s policy guy on inequality, shares his newfound love for an old foe Last week the IMF published an article in its magazine that caused a considerable stir around the world.  Entitled ‘Neoliberalism: oversold?’ the short piece by Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri, all from the Fund’s Research Department, questions whether the economic approach of neoliberalism has been taken …

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The 2016 Multidimensional Poverty Index was launched yesterday. What does it say?

Duncan Green - June 3, 2016

This is at the geeky, number-crunching end of my spectrum, but I think it’s worth a look (and anyway, they asked nicely). The 2016 Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index was published yesterday. It now covers 102 countries in total, including 75 per cent of the world’s population, or 5.2 billion people. Of this proportion, 30 per cent of people (1.6 billion) are identified as multidimensionally poor. The …

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Thomas Piketty on inequality in developing countries (great, but still not enough on politics)

Duncan Green - May 31, 2016

I heard econ rock star Thomas Piketty speak for the first time last week – hugely enjoyable. The occasion was the annual conference of the LSE’s new International Inequalities Institute, with Piketty headlining. He was brilliant: original and funny, riffing off traditional France v Britain tensions, and reeling off memorable one liners: ‘meritocracy is a myth invented by winners’; ‘It’s difficult to be an honest …

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How Change Happens: a conversation with 25 top campaigners from around the world

Duncan Green - May 18, 2016

Spent an exhilarating morning last week with Oxfam’s ‘Campaigns and Advocacy Leadership Programme’. Must have been at least 20 nationalities in the room, with huge experience and wisdom. The topic was How Change Happens (what else). To give you a flavour, here are some of the topics that came up, with my takes on them: Is power a zero sum game, i.e. empowering one group …

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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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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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