Vampire traders; why East Asia fascinates Africa; nudging farmers; good news on democracy; death by co-ordination; why aid agencies can't sell condoms: links I liked

admin - October 4, 2011

‘I go to bed every night, and I dream of another recession. I dream of another moment like this. When a market crashes, if you know what to do, you can make a lot of money. Governments don’t rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world.’ Market trader Alessio Rastani is so honest that he immediately aroused suspicions of a Yes Men-style hoax. The BBC …

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How can we prevent the next famine? The case for Disaster Risk Reduction

admin - October 3, 2011

When it comes to natural disasters, and their very un-natural impact on poor people, prevention is better than cure. Yet this lesson seems incredibly hard to turn into practice, because however good the early warning system in the run-up to disasters like the current crisis in East Africa, the money to head off future suffering often doesn’t start flowing until the images of human suffering …

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Rise of the Machines: the weird world of high frequency traders

admin - September 30, 2011

Some delightful writing from my colleague Richard Gower on the weird (and destructive) world of ‘high frequency traders’ and the need for a Robin Hood Tax to calm them down: “Welcome to the future. Machines, trading hundreds or even thousands of times a second, now dominate stock trading on both sides of the Atlantic. They buy and sell according to pre-programmed algorithms that range from …

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What does Bill Gates' leaked report say about aid, tax and development?

admin - September 29, 2011

Take a look at the leaked report by Bill Gates to the G20, which got a good deal of media coverage because of its positive noises about the Financial Transactions Tax. Actually, the rest of the report is at least as interesting. Firstly, it’s not actually the final report, but a 7 page ‘technical note’ on the key financing proposals. The report itself is going …

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Why are over 3 million people campaigning on violence against women in South Asia?

admin - September 28, 2011

Every NGO (and probably most other organizations) has its iconic success stories, the ones that make your job feel both feasible and worthwhile. One of Oxfam’s is the ‘We Can’ campaign in South Asia, an extraordinary viral campaign on violence against women (VAW – sorry, another acronym) launched in late 2004, that at the last count had signed up 3.2 million women and men to be …

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Good news on aid: dependency is falling, and quality (slowly) improving (but France is still rubbish)

admin - September 27, 2011

Real Aid: Ending Aid Dependency is a smart new aid-report-with-a-difference from ActionAid: “There is good news. Developing countries are getting less dependent on aid. Over the last decade [aid dependency] has fallen on average by a third in the poorest countries. In Ghana aid dependency fell from 47% to 27%, in Mozambique from 74% to 58% and in Vietnam from 22% to 13%. Although aid …

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Bill loves Robin; gender matters; lifestyle diseases; political economy; who reads blogs?; top mimics; land grab showdown: links I liked

admin - September 26, 2011

Bill Gates backs the Robin Hood Tax in his report to President Sarkozy A flurry of activity around gender and development, following publication of the WDR on gender and inequality. ‘The Elders’, (an independent group of global leaders like Desmond Tutu, not something out of Lord of the Rings) lobbied the UN General Assembly last week on the issue of child marriage – new website …

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Deja vu, role reversal or schadenfreude? The view of Europe's crisis from Latin America

admin - September 23, 2011

I experienced an odd and simultaneous sensation of déjà vu, role reversal and schadenfreude when reading a recent briefing from the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Here is their description of current events in Europe, under the title ‘Various countries in the Eurozone need deep adjustments to achieve the established targets for fiscal sustainability’. The graph shows fiscal deficits on the …

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The latest (big) numbers on land grabs, and some powerful case studies

admin - September 22, 2011

Oxfam adds its voice to the growing clamour about land grabs with two new reports out today. Land and Power: The Growing Scandal Surrounding the New Wave of Investments in Land pulls together some fascinating (and sometimes shocking) case studies from South Sudan, Uganda, Indonesia, Honduras and Guatemala, and adds up some big new global numbers. The New Forests Company and its Uganda Plantations goes …

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Two months to get a Robin Hood Tax? Guest blog by Max Lawson

admin - September 21, 2011

Crisis as opportunity, continued: Oxfam’s head of advocacy, Max Lawson updates us on some rapid progress on a European Financial Transactions Tax (aka Robin Hood Tax) and the need for concerted lobbying over the next two months. In a surprise turnaround, Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, announced on 31 August that the Commission now supports an EU-wide FTT, and will release a detailed …

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