A wonderful book by Jean Dreze, India’s Orwell

Duncan Green - November 27, 2017

Notes from my talk at last week’s launch of Jean Drèze’s new book, Sense and Solidarity. Has anyone written Jean Drèze’s biography? If not, why not? A fascinating figure, surrounded by myths and legends (did he really sleep rough in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the square next to LSE, when he was a lecturer there?). He’s a wonderful writer who reminds me of George Orwell, with …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - November 24, 2017

Don’t forget to take the FP2P Readers Survey. Only takes 5 minutes, honest, and there’s prizes….. Being poor often means living with constant shame. Efforts to mitigate poverty must recognize the importance of self-respect – or risk perpetuating the problem they seek to solve. Excellent from Keetie Roelen at IDS ‘An unconditional cash transfer was found to reduce the odds of having any illness by an …

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Kevin Watkins on the power of stigma and shame as a driver of change

Duncan Green - November 23, 2017

Kevin Watkins, a fellow Prof in Practice at the LSE, came along to talk to my students last week (review by Masters student Haisley Wert here). Kevin is a bit of a research and campaigning legend in the aid biz – the brains behind a lot of epic Oxfam campaigns on trade and debt in the early noughties, he went on to write some of …

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What are the politics of our survival as a species? Introducing the Climate Change Trilemma

Duncan Green - November 22, 2017

So a physicist, an anthropologist, and two political economists have lunch in the LSE canteen and start arguing about climate change….. I was (very notionally) the physicist; my other lunchtime companions were Robert Wade, Teddy Brett and Jason Hickel (the anthropologist). Jason was arguing for degrowth and reminded me of the excellent debate on this blog a couple of years ago between Kate Raworth and …

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Do you have to be cold to be cool? Canada joins the Nordics as a world leader on rights.

Duncan Green - November 21, 2017

I was in Canada last week, having a lot of fun on a speaking tour with Oxfam Canada, followed by a couple of days with Oxfam Quebec in Montreal. One of the striking impressions is how much Canada’s foreign policy rhetoric echoes that of the Nordics in its focus on rights (an even more striking impression was that minus 20 degrees centigrade is really not …

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Dear readers, please tell us what you think about the blog (there’s prizes)

Duncan Green - November 20, 2017

How time passes when you’re having fun, or at least shooting your mouth off. It has come to our attention that we haven’t asked your opinion on anything very much for over five years now (see here for summary of last survey in 2012). So some technologically gifted people in Oxfam have put together the reader survey. I would really appreciate you clicking on it – we’re …

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What’s so bad with Business as Usual on Livelihoods? Impressions from Eastern Congo

Duncan Green - November 15, 2017

Our country director in DRC, Jose Barahona (right), sent round some interesting impressions from a recent visit to the Eastern Congo. South Kivu in Eastern Congo is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Africa and I am convinced that one day this area will be one of the world’s top tourist destinations. The day DRC is calm and stable, the millions of tourists fed up …

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The Great Leveller: A conversation with Walter Scheidel on Inequality and Apocalypse

Duncan Green - November 14, 2017

When I visited Stanford recently at the invitation of Francis Fukuyama, I also dropped in on Walter Scheidel, an Austrian historian who has taken time off from his main interest (the Romans) to write a powerful, and pretty depressing, book on inequality. Like Fukuyama, Scheidel is a big brain who favours the grand narrative – his book is called ‘The Great Leveller: Violence and the …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - November 13, 2017

Huge thanks to everyone at Oxfam Canada, its Executive Director Julie Delahanty and the splendid Shirley Pryce (here’s the three of us) for making last week’s tour such fun, even though they made me dance onto the stage to Bob Marley’s ‘Stand up for your Rights’, get up at 4am in minus 20 degrees and wear OTT shirts. Burundi ordered all unwed couples to marry by …

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