Natural Resources and Development Strategy after the crisis: useful (but flawed) new World Bank paper

admin - February 18, 2010

The World Bank’s influential PREM (Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network) team has a new series of topical notes, pulling together its research on breaking issues (they’ve obviously been reading the literature on using research for influence – rehashing existing research at the right moment for policy makers is one of the most effective forms of influencing). It’s called ‘Economic Premise’ (geddit?). Very welcome idea, …

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Is the spread of supermarkets in poor countries good news or bad?

admin - February 17, 2010

Supermarkets are not just a northern phenomenon, but are spreading fast across the developing world. Some of them arrive from outside, like the giant Tescos outside my hotel on a recent visit to Korea; others are homegrown. Either way, they are having a big impact on the lives and prospects of farmers, large and small. Thomas Reardon at Michigan State University is the guru on …

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Mobiles; Avatar-for-good; Goldman Sachs v Robin Hood; rickshaws (+judges) v cars and conflict/security: links I liked

admin - February 16, 2010

Mark Weston captures the rush of Sierra Leone’s mobile phone boom An inspired bit of entrepreneurial campaigning. The Dongria Kondh tribe from eastern India publicly appeal to film director James Cameron to help them stop controversial mining company Vedanta from opening a bauxite mine on their sacred land, comparing their plight to that of the fictional Na’vi tribe in Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar  Goldman Sachs, rigging …

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If you want this blog to get better, I need 5 minutes of your time

admin - February 15, 2010

This blog has now been running for 18 months and it’s time to obey that NGO golden rule – ‘if it moves, evaluate it’ (and if it keeps moving, restructure it…). So, could you please take 5-10 minutes (honest – it’s really quick) to fill out this on-line survey? Why? Because the feedback will help me improve the quality and relevance of the content and …

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Why Owen Barder is (mostly) wrong to oppose the Robin Hood Tax

admin - February 12, 2010

Owen Barder has a thought-provoking post setting out his objections to a financial transactions tax (FTT) in response to the launch of the Robin Hood Tax campaign. I’ll run through the areas where we disagree, then where we agree, and finally the areas where I am still sitting painfully on the fence. Where we disagree: First the framing: Owen claims the FTT tries to kill …

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well-being v 'growth with equity': what are the pros and cons?

admin - February 11, 2010

The process of evolution takes place in three stages: random mutation, selection and replication. It’s not a bad model for how new ideas emerge within a large organization like Oxfam. Every week seems to bring a new idea swirling around in conversations and meetings (mutation). Most of those will fade away but a small percentage will get ‘traction’ (horrible management-speak word, sorry) – that’s the …

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The Robin Hood Tax campaign is launched today – check it out

admin - February 10, 2010

I’ve blogged a few times on the momentum building behind the introduction of a Financial Transactions Tax (see here). Today it steps up a gear with the launch of international campaign calling for a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ (much more memorable!), with the full campaign repertoire – op-eds, a letter signed by 350+ economists, a dedicated website with lots of background materials, and a great youtube (see below) …

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How can the international system cope better with crises? Good new paper

admin - February 9, 2010

Alex Evans of Global Dashboard is always interesting on risk and global institutions. His latest paper, with Bruce Jones and David Steven takes such a long view that it feels pretty cosmic. But here’s my attempt at a summary/highlights of ‘Confronting the Long Crisis of Globalization: Risk, Resilience and international Order’ (far too many syllables for a haiku). We live in a world of discontinuous …

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What will drive action on climate change if negotiations can't?

admin - February 8, 2010

I’ve been mulling over the extraordinary shift in public mood since the Copenhagen summit. The devastating combination of a failed summit, the Democrats’ loss of the supermajority in the Senate and a string of climategates surrounding the University of East Anglia and IPCC risk a mood-swing in public sentiment from a ‘now is the time’ historic moment to ‘we’re all doomed and there’s nothing we …

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Hacked emails; African remittances; leaving Haiti; the carbon slump; oil isn't a curse; what happened in Davos; the BASIC coalition and a new 'triple crisis' blog: links I liked

admin - February 5, 2010

The Guardian’s brilliant week-long investigation into the hacked emails from the University of East Anglia climate change team should be compulsory reading for anyone involved in ‘research for advocacy’. Read, weep and learn.  Sanou Mbaye reflects on the importance to Africa of remittances from its far-flung diaspora How best to help Haitians? Buy them a plane ticket. Michael Clemens bangs the drum for immigration reform and …

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