October 2011

G20 gloom; fragile states are difficult; private sector positives; climate change progress (and comedy); subeditor sabotage at the Guardian; unpacking inequality: links I liked

admin - October 31, 2011

‘By listening to its own ideologues and the whispers of business, the G20 is sending more and more proposals to the graveyard’, Nancy Alexander is gloomy about this week’s G20 summit in Cannes. Fragile state slot: How is DFID going to focus its cash on fragile and conflict affected states and have zero tolerance on fraud and corruption? (Madeleine Bunting pointed out the same contradiction …

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Religion and Development: what are the links? Why should we care?

admin - October 27, 2011

Wilton Park is a wonderful place for a conference – a stately home nestling in glorious English countryside. These days it is used for high minded seminars on global governance, foreign policy etc, linked to the British Foreign Office, but the hosts take care to ‘fess up to the irony that the aristocratic pile was built centuries ago by some long-forgotten military type with money …

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How can Contract Farming work for poor farmers?

admin - October 26, 2011

The UN’s hyperactive (how often do you see those words in the same sentence?) special rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, has a new report out on contract farming. At first sight, contract farming (expanding fast, apparently) looks a lot more promising than the parallel boom in ‘large scale land acquisitions’ (aka land grabs). Farmers keep their land rights, get access to …

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The meaning of OWS; Sachs and the Village(s); China v US; China International Fund; G20 v WTO; Women and the Arab Spring; Oxfam's first ebook; pink mobiles in Cambodia: links I liked

admin - October 25, 2011

‘Could this be the moment that inequality becomes mainstream?’ asks Claire Melamed, discussing the reaction to ‘We are the 99%’ and the Occupy Wall Street protests. The Economist surveys the academic research on the link between downturns, austerity and political unrest. And is this the nerdiest OWS placard (click twice to enlarge)? [h/t Chris Blattman] A spate of Sachs bashing: David Mackenzie does a forensic …

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From planetary ceilings to social floors: can we live inside the doughnut?

admin - October 24, 2011

This is a guest post and a request for comments and suggestions by Kate Raworth, Oxfam’s Senior Researcher, who is doing some really interesting thinking on new economics and the ‘post 2015 agenda’ – i.e. what comes after the MDGs. In 2009, 29 of the world’s leading Earth-system scientists drew up a set of nine ‘planetary boundaries’: critical natural processes that we must not breach …

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Arab and Muslim aid v the UN system – “two china elephants”

admin - October 21, 2011

This is an edited-down version of an excellent longer piece by the IRIN humanitarian news agency Many of the crises of recent years have affected Muslim people, including the Bam earthquake in Iran in 2003, the Southeast Asian tsunami of 2004, the Pakistan earthquake of 2005, the attack on Gaza in late 2008, and the flooding in Pakistan in 2010. In all of these crises, …

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Small farms can be beautiful – how farmers’ markets changed attitudes and policies in Colombia

admin - October 20, 2011

As a curtain raiser for this week’s GROW Week at Oxfam (see bottom of this post), this piece appeared on the Guardian Poverty Matters site last Friday, as my contribution to Sunday’s Blog Action Day, which this year coincided with World Food Day. I’ll also be doing on online Q&A (on Facebook) on the issues behind the campaign from 1-2pm tomorrow (Friday 21st October). Small farmers get a …

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The world’s top 100 economies: 53 countries, 34 cities and 13 corporations

admin - October 19, 2011

This is from the World Bank, which increasingly seems to be adopting the functions (or at least the methods) of campaigning NGOs and thinktanks. Data are for 2009, in purchasing power parity terms. Countries are in black, cities in green, companies in brown. Largest countries are the US and China (with India at number 4); biggest cities are Tokyo and New York, with notable presence of Latin …

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The defenders of capitalism should have more faith – response by Ha-Joon Chang and me to critics of the Robin Hood Tax

admin - October 18, 2011

This piece by Ha-Joon Chang and me appeared in various places last week, including South Africa’s Business Day (under the title ‘Financial tax not the death knell of capitalism’ ). It was pegged to the G20 finance ministers meeting, which turned out inconclusive on the FTT – the Robin Hood caravan now rolls on to the  G20 summit in Cannes in early November. With European Commission president …

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