Topic: Economics

The UN lays into finance, speculation and the IMF: UNCTAD's Trade and Development Report 2009

Another day, another UN report, this time the Trade and Development Report 2009, from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), released last week. It’s surprisingly forthright. Set up in 1964, in the table-thumping days of the New International Economic Order, in recent years UNCTAD had become markedly more cautious, not least under its current […]

Read More »

Cash for Climate: how the financing numbers break down

Cash will be king in the next few months as the crescendo of climate change negotiations builds to the big December summit in Copenhagen. In the words of Alf Wills, a South African negotiator, ‘no money, no deal’ (although European Commission President José Manuel Barroso is also credited with the soundbite). If developing countries are […]

Read More »

World Bank pronounces on climate change: WDR 2010, published today

This year’s World Bank flagship publication, the World Development Report 2010, is on climate change – a significant departure from the tradition of devoting turn of the decade WDRs to an overview of poverty. It’s an unabashed bit of climate change advocacy, remorselessly upbeat and optimistic (even when the story it tells suggests rather more […]

Read More »

Microfinance again – the views of some Bangladeshi farmers

I spent some time yesterday with a group of 20 Bangladeshi small farmers (13 men, 7 women) linked to a sustainable agriculture NGO, Unnayan Dhara (sorry, they don’t yet have a website). Among other things (climate change, access to markets etc) I asked them about microfinance, given my post on Wednesday and the subsequent discussion […]

Read More »

The backlash against microfinance

The intellectual battlefield of development is littered with magic bullets. New ideas or technologies such as the internet or mobile phones are picked up, promoted as panaceas that will end poverty and transform societies, and then rapidly cut down to size by scrutiny and research. That process seems to be well under way on microfinance. […]

Read More »

Measuring wellbeing – the latest from UN and OECD. But can Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Jamaica really be the world's happiest countries?!

The criticisms of GDP as a pretty unreliable measure of well-being have been around for decades, but policy makers persist in using it as a proxy for success, in part because of the lack of credible alternatives. Now there’s an encouraging flurry of international activity at both the UN and OECD that seeks to fill […]

Read More »

The Pope's New Broadside on Globalization, the Crisis and Everything

One of the more unusual curtain raiser documents for the G8 summit last week was ‘Caritas in Veritate’ (Charity in Truth), the latest encyclical from Pope Benedict XVI. NGOs and development wonks tend to ignore these kinds of documents, but research shows that churches matter far more in the lives of poor people than NGOs […]

Read More »

Did you notice last week’s UN Conference on the crisis? Thought not…..

In the end the UN Conference that considered Joe Stiglitz’s Commission’s report on the crisis was even more underwhelming than I predicted (given the chaotic preparations, which included a last minute postponement). Only 14 heads of state attended, 10 of them from Latin America; most of Stiglitz’ recommendations bit the dust (e.g. his proposal for […]

Read More »

Are we witnessing Decoupling 2.0? China and India rising fastest from the global wreckage

Earthquake analogies and tectonic plates have been one of the most ubiquitous clichés of the global crisis, but they remain apt. The last week has thrown up further signs of the historic geopolitical shifts that are under way. The Economist has an excellent essay on the back of the first BRICs summit, exploring the sharp economic […]

Read More »

The global crisis is an unavoidable moment in a technology long wave: an optimistic view from Carlota Perez

Is there a link between the current global crisis and the technological long wave that is in the process of transforming the world economy? Carlota Perez, a Venezuelan academic who specializes in the study of technological revolutions thinks there is, and laid it out at a talk at the IPPR last week (download her podcast here). […]

Read More »

More evidence that the IMF is going Keynesian on Africa, at least on paper

The IMF shows some encouraging signs of turning policy promises into practice in its new Staff Position Note on how governments in Africa should respond to the crisis. It still wins no prizes for sparkling prose, alas: Overview: ‘Countries will need to weigh their options for fiscal policy responses. Countries with output gaps and sustainable […]

Read More »

Putting the history back into economics: good new book from the FT’s Alan Beattie

‘False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World’, by Alan Beattie, the world trade editor at the Financial Times is published tomorrow in the UK and is already doing well in the US. It explores the historical backstory to current economic debates on trade, corruption, the ‘curse of wealth’ in oil and mineral producing nations, […]

Read More »