Drivers of Change in Egypt: Mulling over the comments on last week's post

admin - February 22, 2011

Here’s my reaction to a couple of dozen very helpful comments and links on last week’s posts on this blog and the Guardian site, along with a couple of new articles. There are two main clusters of comments: the most important is probably the one that distinguishes between the drivers of change, and the dynamics of change. Thinking in terms of drivers (as I largely …

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Arab meltdown live; T shirts and development; what's changed because of the global crisis?; MDGs 2.0; big news on climate science; Schwarzenegger c/o a 9 year-old Tanzanian: links I liked

admin - February 21, 2011

What to follow on the Middle East Crisis? How about a single site with the twitter feeds and Al Jazeera live feed on breaking events across the Arab World? [h/t Wronging Rights] Or a pleasingly splenetic ‘Top Five Myths’ about US media coverage of the crisis? [h/t Chris Blattman] World Vision gets a blogosphere battering for shipping thousands of unwanted T shirts to Africa, and responds …

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Why we westerners are wrong about China

admin - February 18, 2011

Since he reinvigorated the thinking of the British Left as editor of the pioneering journal Marxism Today back in the 1980s (coining the term ‘Thatcherism’ among other things), Martin Jacques has consistently proved a provocative and original thinker. His passion these days is China, and he has a book out – When China Rules the World: the Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of …

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Egypt: What are the drivers of change?

admin - February 17, 2011

An edited version of this piece appeared today on the Guardian’s ‘Poverty Matters’ blog. When interpreting something like the Egyptian upheaval, people tend to project their own passions onto the screen. The twitterati see a social media revolution; the foodies see food price hikes at its core; others see a hunger for democratization; the human rights groups see a backlash against torture and abuse. So …

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Newton v Complexity: Robert Chambers on competing aid paradigms

admin - February 16, 2011

This is taken from a longer two part piece by Robert Chambers on the excellent ‘Aid on the Edge of Chaos’ blog. Worth spending some time studying the diagrams. “Today we can see two broad paradigms at work in international development. On the one side are Neo-Newtonian practices – those processes, procedures, roles and behaviour which emphasise standardisation, routines and regularities in response to or assuming …

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Food price crisis 2.0 – speculation, poverty impact, African land grabbing and the Chinese drought; inequality round-up; sticky culture; who emits how much CO2?: links I liked

admin - February 15, 2011

First, some food price related pieces: Round and round we go on speculation – is it driving food price volatility or not? Tim Wise disagrees with Paul Krugman (a speculation sceptic – specscep?) Meanwhile, at the snarky end of things, Tim Worstall really doesn’t think much of the Guardian’s John Vidal and his ‘banks are killing people’ line. ‘Instability will be most felt by those in …

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Are food prices becoming more volatile? Yes, says the FAO (but it doesn't know what to do about it)

admin - February 11, 2011

The latest in the excellent two pagers from the FAO’s ‘Economic and Social Perspectives’ series looks at price volatility in agricultural markets. It finds that over recent decades, staple food prices have indeed become more volatile. The graph shows a measure of volatility – the market’s expectation of how much the price of a commodity might move in future. The two pager doesn’t say where …

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Helping farmers see their climate future: The Two Degrees Up project

admin - February 10, 2011

How do you help farmers prepare for climate change? Current climate models, while improving, are still too general and full of caveats and uncertainties to give exact farm-by-farm predictions on temperature, rainfall etc. But if you’re a farmer, you need to think ahead, for example, when deciding whether to plant crops like coffee, which can take 10 years or so to reach maturity. By that …

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