Politics

Jo Cox would have been 42 today. Here’s what she was like to work with.

Duncan Green - June 22, 2016

Today would have been Jo Cox’s 42nd birthday. Celebratory events are being held around the world with the hashtag #MoreinCommon, taken from her maiden speech in Parliament: ‘We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us’. My ex-boss Phil Bloomer, who worked with Jo for many years at Oxfam, gave this lovely tribute to an event in Oxford at the weekend. …

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After the Summit: What next for humanitarianism?

Duncan Green - June 16, 2016

Here’s this week’s vlog – still trying to sort out a better camera and sound, sorry! Spent a fascinating morning recently, discussing the state of humanitarian response with a bunch of fairly senior people from inside ‘the system’ – UN, donors, INGOs etc. It was Chatham House Rule, so that’s as much as I can tell you about the event, but the good news is …

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Meetings with Remarkable Women: Shen Ye, Organic Activist and Chinese Rock Chick

Duncan Green - June 14, 2016

Last post from my recent visit to Beijing If promoting organic farming through Oxfam partner Beijing Farmers Markets sounds a bit worthy, Shen Ye is anything but – she’s one of the funniest people I’ve met in years and during a morning spent visiting farms on the outskirts of the City, was both fascinating and reduced me to repeated fits of giggles, with her mixture of …

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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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Where have we got to on adaptive learning, thinking and working politically, doing development differently etc? Getting beyond the People’s Front of Judea

Duncan Green - June 9, 2016

Props to Dave Algoso (left) and Alan Hudson at Global Integrity for making the effort to compare and contrast 9 different initiatives that are all heading in roughly the right direction in reforming aid Aid, development, and governance practitioners increasingly recognize that change happens through iterative processes (trying, learning, adapting the approach taken, and trying again) as opposed to the linear assumptions that underpin much of …

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How does Change Happen in China?

Duncan Green - June 8, 2016

The honest answer is of course that I have no idea. Given China’s size, complexity, opacity and the language barrier created by being a non-mandarin speaker, a week of meetings and conversations can only leave a string of vague and often contradictory impressions. But here they are anyway: Is China’s development complex or complicated? The standard account of China’s extraordinary transformation is of a triumph …

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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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When/Why do countries improve the management of their natural resources? New 4 country study

Duncan Green - May 24, 2016

Now I love Oxfam dearly but (you were expecting a ‘but’, right?) both as producers and consumers, we suffer from TL; DR syndrome (too long; didn’t read). Not only that but we don’t always make the most of executive summaries. Which is a shame, because some real gems often go unnoticed as a result. So allow me to pan through a recent 71 page Oxfam …

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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 Politics of Inclusive Development: Two Books; One Title

Duncan Green - May 17, 2016

Guest review from Alice Evans, Human Geography lecturer, Cambridge The age of ‘best practice’ is over. The time of politics has come. Rather than identify and rollout effective policies, we need to understand the political struggles and coalitions by which socio-economic and political resources come to be redistributed more equitably – across classes, genders, ethnicities and spaces. The Politics of Inclusive Development: Policy, State Capacity, …

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