Technology

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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What does Feminist Social Innovation look like?

Duncan Green - May 31, 2017

Guest post from Chloe Safier In the global development world, there are a lot of conversations about social innovation and (separately) a lot of discussions about feminist approaches to development and women’s rights. Social innovation labs, incubators and accelerators are popping up everywhere, from San Francisco to Beirut to Delhi. Major development actors like the Gates Foundation are issuing ‘challenges’ to advance innovation and cultivate …

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Can Hegel (and Geoff Mulgan) chart a new progressive agenda?

Duncan Green - May 25, 2017

Geoff Mulgan is one of the UK’s most original thinkers about the future of society. He set up the thinktank Demos, advised the early Blair government, and now runs NESTA (an ‘innovation foundation). According to Wikipedia he even trained as a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka. I recently came across his essay on a progressive response to Brexit, Trump etc – it’s brilliant, and although …

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Blockchain for Development: A Handy Bluffers’ Guide

Duncan Green - May 9, 2017

Top tip: if you’re in a meeting discussing anything to do with finance, at some point look wise and say ‘you do realize, blockchain is likely to change everything.’ Of course, there is always a terrifying chance that someone will ask what you actually mean. Worry not, because IDS has produced a handy bluffer’s guide to help you respond. Blockchain for Development – Hope or …

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What do we know about ‘online gig work’ in developing countries?

Duncan Green - April 25, 2017

What do we know about ‘online gig work’ in developing countries? Until recently, all I’d read about was the bizarre world of gold farming – gamers in East Asia (even prisoners in Chinese labour camps) playing to accumulate credits they could then sell on to lazy Western players. A new report from the Oxford Internet Institute filled me in on where the phenomenon has got …

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Review of Doughnut Economics – a new book you will need to know about

Duncan Green - April 6, 2017

My Exfam colleague Kate Raworth’s book Doughnut Economics is launched today, and I think it’s going to be big. Not sure just how big, or whether I agree with George Monbiot’s superbly OTT plug comparing it to Keynes’s General Theory. It’s really hard to tell, as a non-economist, just how paradigm-changing it will be, but I loved it, and I want everyone to read it. …

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20th Century policies may not be enough for 21st Century digital disruption

Duncan Green - March 31, 2017

It’s often a good sign when you rock up at a conference and hardly know anyone there. That was my experience at a recent, rather grandiosely-named, ‘Digital Development Summit’, hosted by IDS, Nesta and the Web Foundation, which clearly got people’s attention – the places were fully booked within a day of going live. Participants were diverse: developing country ministers, donor officials, tech company execs, …

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A new case must be made for aid. It rests on three legs.

Duncan Green - March 28, 2017

Guest post from aid guru Simon Maxwell Is the tide turning on aid? Famine in Africa has rekindled both media and public support.  By 20th March, the UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee had raised £24m from the public in only six days for its East Africa Crisis appeal. Red Nose Day on 24th March provided another opportunity to demonstrate support. And on aid more generally, the …

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