Politics

How are different governments performing as global citizens? Time for a new index!

Duncan Green - February 23, 2017

Apologies. I get given stuff at meetings, it goes into the reading pile, and often takes months to resurface. So I have just read (and liked) a Country Global Citizenship Report Card handed to me in New York in December. It’s put together by the Global Citizens Initiative, run by Ron Israel. Time to assuage my guilt. The ‘citizens’ in question are actually 53 governments, …

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What does ‘Security’ mean? Great (and well-written) paper from IDS

Duncan Green - February 14, 2017

I have been known in the past to be a little snippy about the writing style of esteemed colleagues from the Institute of Development Studies. So in the interests of balance, I want to celebrate a beautifully written, lyrical paper by IDS’ Robin Luckham. Whose Security? Building Inclusive and Secure Societies in an Unequal and Insecure World (OK, they could have worked on the title) …

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Of Jousting Knights and Jewelled Swords: a feminist reflection on Davos

Duncan Green - February 3, 2017

Nancy Folbre is a feminist economist and professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst  What kind of an economic system delivers as much wealth to 8 men at the top as to the bottom half of the global population? It’s easier to describe shocking levels inequality than to explain them. Activist challenges to the power of the top 1%–along with demands for the …

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The WDR 2017 on Governance and Law: Can it drive a transformation in development practice?

Duncan Green - January 31, 2017

  Stefan Kossoff (DFID’s governance czar) reviews the new WDR, published this week. For those of us working on governance this week’s publication of the 2017 World Development Report on Governance and Law (WDR17) has been hotly awaited. And I’m pleased to say the report–in all its 280 page glory–does not disappoint (there’s a 4 page summary for the time-starved). As Duncan Green, Brian Levy …

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Reframing climate change: how carbon reduction can also reduce poverty and inequality

Duncan Green - January 27, 2017

Given the events of 2016 we may well need to find additional ways of arguing for action on climate change.  Luckily, new evidence highlights additional incentives for action.  Ruth Mayne explores the ‘co-benefits’ of tackling climate change and the practical benefits they can bring to community and national development. We normally understand climate change as a collective action problem. The climate is a global public …

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Handy NGO Guide to Social Network Analysis

Duncan Green - January 26, 2017

Social Network Analysis has been cropping up a bit in my mental in-tray. First there was my Christmas reading – Social Physics, by Alex Pentland. Then came yesterday’s post from some networkers within Oxfam. So here are some additional thoughts, based on a great guide to SNA by the International Rescue Committee. Complexity and Systems Thinking seems to push people into two divergent sets of conclusions. …

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Local governance and resilience – what lasts after the project ends?

Duncan Green - January 24, 2017

Jane Lonsdale reflects on the lessons from an ‘effectiveness review’ of a Myanmar project 18 months after it ended. For the nerds among you, an accompanying post on the nuts and bolts of the effectiveness review has just gone up on the ‘real geek’ blog We have just finished a review of Oxfam’s work in Myanmar’s central Dry Zone. This was designed some 6 years …

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5 Straws to Clutch/Reasons to be Cheerful on US presidential inauguration day

Duncan Green - January 20, 2017

Someone asked me to try and write something positive today, so here goes. As President Obama told his daughters, the only thing that’s the end of the world is the end of the world. This ain’t it. So (channelling Ian Dury), here are some reasons to be cheerful: The US is deeply federal: to a Brit, it’s striking how many of the big decisions are …

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8 men now own the same as the poorest half of the world: the Davos killer fact just got more deadly

Duncan Green - January 16, 2017

It’s Davos this week, which means it’s time for Oxfam’s latest global ‘killer fact’ on extreme inequality. Since our first calculation in 2014, these have helped get inequality onto the agenda of the global leaders assembled in Switzerland. This year, the grabber of any headlines not devoted to the US presidential inauguration on Friday is that it’s worse than we thought. Last year it was …

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Is the Anti-Politics machine still a good critique of the aid business?

Duncan Green - January 11, 2017

Just been re-reading a great 6 page summary of James Ferguson’s 1994 classic critique of the aid industry, The Anti-Politics Machine. Read this and ask yourself, apart from the grating use of the term ‘Third World’, how much has changed? ‘Any question of the form ‘what is to be done?’ demands first of all an answer to the question, ‘By whom?’ The ‘development’ discourse, and …

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