Year: 2008

How much is $700bn?

The arguments for a bailout to avoid systemic collapse are of course genuine and persuasive, but so are the arguments for aid and against standing by and allowing a child to die every 3 seconds, or a woman to die in childbirth every minute. To put the proposed Wall Street bailout into perspective. $700bn: · Would…

By admin December 30, 2008 Off

How will the meltdown affect development?

If the current financial meltdown causes the US and Europe to sneeze, will poor countries catch cold, succumb to pneumonia, or have they discovered a new flu vaccine in the growing economic presence of China? I’m currently on a visit to East Africa, and that is the question that is preoccupying many of its leaders.…

By admin December 29, 2008 Off

Shocks and Change

Funny thing, the Chatham House rule. Introduced by the Chatham House thinktank to enable policy makers to speak more freely at seminars and meetings, people often assume it means you are sworn to complete secrecy about what was said. Not so. The actual rule reads “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the…

By admin December 29, 2008 Off

Never make predictions, especially about the future

The panacea of technological innovation is routinely trotted out by political leaders faced with difficult problems. Poverty? A laptop in every village! Climate Change? Carbon capture and storage, with a side helping of biofuels! So no need to ask, let alone answer, difficult questions on distribution, or possible environmental limits to growth – the magic bullet…

By admin December 29, 2008 Off

Bailouts v aid v climate change – $ reveals priorities

The most popular post ever on this blog was ‘How much is $700bn‘ – a set of ‘killer facts‘ on the initial US bailout. These days $700bn feels like small change, so it’s time for an update in the run up to Saturday’s Financing for Development meeting in Doha and Monday’s start to this year’s big…

By admin December 28, 2008 Off

What might Obama do on US Aid Policy?

By the time I got to the US (a week after the election), euphoria seemed to have given way to the strange interregnum between presidents. I found a vast gossip machine on who gets what job in the new administration (7000 jobs are up for grabs), and a lingering underswell of pride and anticipation, laced…

By admin December 27, 2008 Off