Topic: Economics

What’s the problem with Globalization?

Globalization, remember that? When I first entered the development NGO scene in the late 90s it was all the rage. Lots of rage. The anti-globalization movement roared from summit to summit. Academics traded books and papers that boosted or critiqued. The World Bank used voodoo modelling to show that really we’d all be better off […]

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Two days with the Radiographers of Power

Spent another couple of days with the International Budget Partnership (IBP) last week. If budgets sound boring and bean-counter ish, consider this quote from Rudolf Goldscheid: “the budget is the skeleton of the state stripped of all misleading ideologies.” Follow the money, because the rest is spin. The IBP trains and supports civil society organizations […]

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On hype, Impact Investing and the Valley of Death

How do we build bridges across the Valley of Death? That’s the arresting image in a recent Oxfam paper on ‘impact investing’. The valley of death (see diagram) is the gap that firms face as they move from small start ups to Big Biz. In the start-up stage they raise cash wherever they can find […]

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Can Oxfam do the Doughnut? A conversation with Kate Raworth

Kate Raworth came in last week to present her new book, Doughnut Economics (see my earlier review here or Simon Maxwell’s thoughtful summary/critique) and discuss its implications for Oxfam. After writing the initial DE paper while still at Oxfam back in 2012, Kate left to turn it into a book, so there was a definite air […]

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Grenfell Tower is a Hurricane Katrina moment, revealing the shameful state of Britain

My colleague Max Lawson sends out a weekly round-up of things he’s read, and adds some views. Here he is on the meaning and horror of the Grenfell Tower fire. At times an event can act like a flash of lightning, illuminating simmering issues that can otherwise feel abstract.  The recent horrific fire in the Grenfell Tower Block […]

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The imaginary advocate, the benefits of Command and Control, and why I’m just channelling Hayek

Continuing the download from the recent LSE-ODI workshop on ‘new experimentalism’ was this thought-provoking description by David Kennedy of the ‘imaginary advocate’, the assumed individual behind How Change Happens and, by extension, a lot of NGO advocacy. Might be a very interesting addition to the endless awaydays, strategic planning processes etc to ask people to […]

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Why rethinking how we work on market systems and the private sector is really hard

Whatever your ideological biases about ‘the private sector’ (often weirdly conflated with transnational corporations in NGO-land), markets really matter to poor people (feeding families, earning a living, that kind of thing).  But ‘making markets work for the poor’ turns out to be really difficult and, just as with attempts to tackle corruption or improve institutions, […]

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Blockchain for Development: A Handy Bluffers’ Guide

Top tip: if you’re in a meeting discussing anything to do with finance, at some point look wise and say ‘you do realize, blockchain is likely to change everything.’ Of course, there is always a terrifying chance that someone will ask what you actually mean. Worry not, because IDS has produced a handy bluffer’s guide […]

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Life in a time of Food Price Volatility: 4 years of research in a 4 page infographic

IDS and Oxfam have put together a snazzy infographic/executive summary of their four year research project, with links to the main documents for those old fashioned enough to want to read something. What do you think of the format?

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Guardian launches important new Website on Inequality

The Guardian launched a promising new website on inequality this week, edited by Mike Herd. ‘Over the coming year, the Guardian’s Inequality Project – supported by the Ford Foundation – will try to shed fresh light on these and many more issues of inequality and social unfairness, using in-depth reporting, new academic research and, most importantly, insights […]

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What do we know about ‘online gig work’ in developing countries?

What do we know about ‘online gig work’ in developing countries? Until recently, all I’d read about was the bizarre world of gold farming – gamers in East Asia (even prisoners in Chinese labour camps) playing to accumulate credits they could then sell on to lazy Western players. A new report from the Oxford Internet […]

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Review of Doughnut Economics – a new book you will need to know about

My Exfam colleague Kate Raworth’s book Doughnut Economics is launched today, and I think it’s going to be big. Not sure just how big, or whether I agree with George Monbiot’s superbly OTT plug comparing it to Keynes’s General Theory. It’s really hard to tell, as a non-economist, just how paradigm-changing it will be, but […]

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