Topic: Politics

Who do governments listen to? Some intel from the Oxfam GB media team

Oxfam GB’s media team is a class act, and has just done some useful research on ‘influencing the influentials’, interviewing senior figures in Whitehall, journalists and other ‘influentials’ (wonder what qualifies them for that?). Here are some of the headlines:

Read More »

Oxfam license to operate in northern Sudan revoked

This entry was posted by Oxfam Media Unit on March 5th, 2009 at 12:00 pm – don’t think I’ll risk any editorializing on this one: ‘Oxfam GB has begun to temporarily relocate international staff to Khartoum and some national staff to state capitals in Darfur while it appeals the government’s decision to revoke its registration […]

Read More »

Can NGO advocacy influence states? Social Protection in Georgia

Here’s an example from Georgia of how well designed advocacy gets results: in this case helping 34,000 poor families gain access to state benefits and winning the introduction of an appeals procedure for those who feel unfairly excluded. It’s not glamorous, but it made a real difference, so bear with me. Like other post-Soviet Eastern […]

Read More »

From Poverty to Power in South Africa

Just spent a week promoting the South African edition of From Poverty to Power, published by Jacana Media with a nice foreword from Francis Wilson, an authority on poverty and labour markets in SA who also chaired the launch event at the Book Lounge in Cape Town. Jacana put on a great programme of public […]

Read More »

How are effective states going to emerge in Africa?

[Sorry to anyone who got a premature alert yesterday – hit the wrong button!] There’s nothing like a visit to Africa – in this case ten days of book promo and financial crisis impact interviews in South Africa and Zambia, to get you thinking about the role of the state. In Southern Africa, as on […]

Read More »

How Open is Your Government? Find out here

The latest ‘Open Budget Index‘ (2008), produced by the Open Budget Initiative, ranks governments according to the information they make available to the public throughout the budget process. The main findings are: Only five countries of the 85 surveyed—France, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States—make extensive information publicly available as required by […]

Read More »

Global Social Democracy – Why I disagree with Walden Bello

Just came across ‘The Coming Capitalist Consensus’, a thought-provoking polemic by Walden Bello, the Filipino anti-globalization guru and sociology professor based at Focus on the Global South. Walden argues that a new form of ‘Global Social Democracy’ (GSD) is emerging from the crisis of market fundamentalism and finance capitalism. He sums up its key propositions as:

Read More »

A Promising new debate on the financial crisis

Take a look at Development and the Crisis, a new online debate moderated by Dani Rodrik, which has kicked off with contributions from Nancy Birdsall, Jose Antonio Ocampo, Arvind Subramanian, and Yung Chul Park. Here are some excerpted highlights from Dani’s opening pitch ‘Let developing nations rule’:

Read More »

Links I liked: mobiles v coke; Obama’s Mandela moment etc

Are mobiles the new Coca Cola? Mobile phones are held up as the most promising aspect of new technology in terms of helping poor people improve their lives, but some new research suggests people are cutting back on food and other essentials to pay for the all important status symbol. See here for a summary […]

Read More »

Dreams From My Father – what does his book tell us about Obama’s presidency?

Imagine someone a bit like dozens of social movement and NGO activists who you’ve worked with over the years. Raised across three continents; a spell of community activism that tempers romanticism with hard knocks; all this interspersed with wrestling with the sense of identity to make sense of being of mixed race, the absent father, […]

Read More »

Financial crises at a glance: bank crashes, geopolitics and how long til the rebound?

Here are two illuminating graphics from the Financial Times and Economist. First up is a figure from Martin Wolf’s latest column in the FT, itself based on a new paper by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, showing the proportion of the world economy affected by banking crises, from 1900-2008. Its main features are a spike around […]

Read More »

Complexity Economics, Evolution and How Change Happens

Eric Beinhocker’s book, ‘The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity and the Radical Remaking of Economics’ (for review see previous post) challenges our understanding of how change happens and the role of would-be ‘change agents’ like Oxfam.

Read More »