Science Girl; Starbucks and tax; NYC carbon; adaptation in America: videos I liked

Some Friday video light relief (well, light-ish) on climate change (with an eye on dismal dialogues in Doha) and tax evasion. First the totally adorable Science Girl on climate change, clean energy + a surprise upside – wildfires melt Barbie & Ken before your very eyes Next up, a sweet and funny Starbucks tax sting – […]

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Robert Chambers on the Fifth Power (the power to empower)

Some thoughts from Robert Chambers, from whose wonderful new book I recently posted several excerpts. People tease me for being pentaphiliac.  They notice that I love fives of a thing.  Well, it’s true.  If there are six, I boil them down to five.  If there are only four I rack my brains to find a fifth.   […]

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The World Bank’s new chief economist on redistribution, taxation, economists, climate change and, errm, multi-player sudoku

The World Bank’s new chief economist, Kaushik Basu (right), came through London last week and had a good initial exchange of views with some NGO wonks. I went to a similar exercise with his predecessor, Justin Lin (blogpost here), and the comparison was interesting. Whereas Justin focussed on industrial policy and structural upgrading, Kaushik talked […]

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What are the ingredients of democratic breakthroughs?

Don’t know much/anything about the politics of the United States Institute of Peace (but handle with care – in the US, any institution with ‘peace’ or ‘freedom’ in the title is usually pretty suspect), but it has a very interesting paper out on ‘Democratic Breakthroughs: the Ingredients of Successful Revolts.’ It’s a bit reductionist, but […]

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Small arms psychedelia; innovation Tourette’s; Women and Food; Post-2015; DRC; inconvenient corruption; Why Authors Fail; 4 degree world; Africans for Norway: links I liked

Psychedelic infographic on small arms and ammunition trade by country [h/t Chris Blattman] Innovation Tourette’s – the latest occupational disease in the aid industry Some Oxfam news: We’re half way through a provocative two week online debate on women and the food system and we’ve just tidied up and published our in-house research guidelines on […]

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Love, death and violence against women in the DRC (and elsewhere): what are we missing?

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, so expect a rash of stories about sexual violence in the DRC’s current conflict. Here Rachel Hastie, Oxfam’s protection adviser,  cautions against a simplistic ‘heart of darkness’ narrative, and argues for a more nuanced and human understanding of the phenomenon. There’s a lovely […]

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Satirographics on development – here’s a couple, but where are yours?

It was bound to happen. With the boom in infographics, along comes a satirical fringe. These are a gift for blogs and powerpoints, so please send in your favourites (I’ll post the best ones). First up, success and the wonders of ‘retrospective coherence’ [h/t Innovation Network] Next, obfuscatory logic models (aka follow the chimp). Click […]

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A Muslim tiger? Turkey’s rising power and influence

Oxfam Private Sector Adviser Erinch Sahan (right) is blown away by Turkey’s rising influence across the Muslim world Turkey is on the rise. It’s become a confident middle power with visions of becoming a regional super-power. The one time ‘sick man of Europe’ is expanding its influence, across region and beyond and is seen as […]

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Lant Pritchett v the Randomistas on the nature of evidence – is a wonkwar brewing?

Last week I had a lot conversations about evidence. First, one of the periodic retreats of Oxfam senior managers reviewed our work on livelihoods, humanitarian partnership and gender rights. The talk combined some quantitative work (for example the findings of our new ‘effectiveness reviews’), case studies, and the accumulated wisdom of our big cheeses. But […]

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Commodities of War: What the people without guns say about life, death and fear in the DR Congo

I was supposed to be in the Democratic Republic of Congo this week, with today being devoted to visiting the Kanyaruchina camp (right) for ‘internally displaced people’ (IDPs) near Goma. Instead, the trip’s been cancelled, I am still in London and Kanyaruchina has been abandoned, as some 30,000 people have fled (again). The reason is the […]

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Remember when Oxfam took on Winston Churchill, apartheid, the Labour government, Big Pharma and the pesticides industry?

As Oxfam celebrates its 70th anniversary, head of advocacy Max Lawson discovers its radical roots, and urges it not to lose its edge January 1942. The second World War was at its height.  The Axis Powers had occupied almost all of Europe. In Greece, people were dying of starvation at a rate of 2000 a […]

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EU about to butcher aid? US energy isolationism; trade & climate change; Eno meets Ha-Joon Chang; rise of the daughter-in-law; UK invasions; How to Rob Africa: links I liked

Punishing the poorest: For the 22/23 November European Council, Herman van Rompuy (you know, the president of Europe) is proposing a €9.65bn cut in Europe’s aid budget (the same aid that everyone agrees is much improved in recent years). That’s a much bigger % cut than other budget lines, such as the much condemned Common […]

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