Links I Liked

Duncan Green - August 10, 2015

Well, the blog makeover has been met with a fine blend of approval and indifference – heart-warming stuff. The world is getting a lot better in lots of ways, and Max Roser has a graph for all of them The US is getting a bit of a pasting from assorted economists: Jo Stiglitz thinks it’s on the wrong side of history on tax and other global reforms. …

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Obama’s Afro-mance: A personal reflection by Irungu Houghton

Duncan Green - August 7, 2015

Irungu is an old mate and a redoubtable activist (this post came in late because he ‘Was off school protecting‎’ – how cool is that?). He was also two seats away from The Man during Obama’s visit to Kenya last week. Here are some thoughts. The excitement began at least three months before Airforce 1 landed on a spruced up and highly secured Jomo Kenyatta …

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How do we get better at killing our darlings? Is scale best pursued obliquely? More thoughts on innovation and development

Duncan Green - August 6, 2015

Benjamin Kumpf, Policy Specialist for Innovation at UNDP, responds to guest post by James Whitehead published on 24 June. I found myself nodding to most of James Whitehead’s reflections. Particularly: ”I want to be working with people who are passionate about solving problems at scale rather than magpies obsessed with finding shiny new innovative solutions.” Yet, something seemed to be missing, and something more needed …

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The Politics of Results and Evidence in International Development: important new book

Duncan Green - August 5, 2015

The results/value for money steamroller grinds on, with aid donors demanding more attention to measurement of impact. At first sight that’s a good thing – who could be against achieving results and knowing whether you’ve achieved them, right? Step forward Ros Eyben, Chris Roche, Irene Guijt and Cathy Shutt, who take a more sceptical look in a new book, The Politics of Results and Evidence …

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How does Change Happen in global commodities markets? The case of Palm Oil

Duncan Green - August 4, 2015

This week’s Economist had an interesting discussion of the change process in the global palm oil industry. I assume all its claims are highly contested, but still, allow me to walk you through it and what it says about how change happens in one bit of the private sector. The basics: a boom industry with a dire track record of deforestation, labour rights abuses on the …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - August 3, 2015

Like the new format? Got any comments/suggestions for improvements? Please feed back in comments or vote (over there on the right) so we can try and deal with any glitches On with the show: 79 nations have never had a woman leader, including most of Africa and the US (tho that could change…..) Latin America, Asia and Europe do a bit better Being overweight/obese now …

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The blog’s just had a makeover – what do you think?

Duncan Green - July 31, 2015

Our wonderful new webmaster has redesigned the blog to make it more mobile-friendly, provide a better range of reading etc. Hopefully it will also sort out ongoing problems with people not receiving the email alerts they’ve signed up for. So please could you take the following highly sophisticated poll, and send any thoughts, and use the comments to tell us about any remaining glitches or …

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Another good idea from ODI – regular ‘scans’ of hot topics like resilience

Duncan Green - July 31, 2015

The aid and development business is full of tribes – separate ‘epistemic communities’ with their own jargon, shorthands and assumptions, which helps to hermetically isolate them from all the other communities. I try and surf across a few of them, but it’s hard – half the time I have only the vaguest idea what resilience, humanitarian, conflict or livelihoods people are talking about. So I …

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Fukuyama’s history of the State, Book 2: Political Order and Political Decay

Duncan Green - July 30, 2015
fukobook

Yesterday I reviewed Volume 1 (from pre-history up to the French Revolution), but before reviewing Political Order and Political Decay, the second volume of Francis Fukuyama’s monumental history of the state, it’s probably worth asking, why bother? Because whether providing/denying services, freedoms or functioning markets, the state is the most important institution underpinning development, and yet people in the foreign policy and development world operate …

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The Origins of Political Order: Review of Francis Fukuyama’s impressive history of the state

Duncan Green - July 29, 2015
fukobook

Ricardo Fuentes has been raving about this book for months, so I packed it in my holiday luggage. Actually it’s two books – The Origins of Political Order takes us from pre-history up to the French Revolution/American Revolution, and the subsequent Political Order and Political Decay brings us up to the present day. They each weigh in at around 500 pages, so hope you won’t mind …

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