Topic: Politics

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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:

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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’:

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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.

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What did Poznan mean for progress on climate change?

I didn’t attend last week’s climate summit, but I’ve talked to a few Oxfam staff who did, and got to thinking about how the talks compare with other negotiations, especially on trade. (For a more specific debrief on the Poznan outcome see here).

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Reasons to be Cheerful: progress on international justice, arms control, economic and social rights and democracy in Africa

After Monday’s fairly depressing post, I thought I’d add some good news, from an unlikely source. Perhaps because it can break free from its heavy ideological baggage of laissez faire, the further the Economist strays from economics, the better it gets. This week’s issue has some really nuanced reporting on the impact of the International […]

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3 crystal ball overviews on global security – not looking good

The futurologists (from NIC, ippr, and DCDC) have been busy, with varying degrees of success. The US Government’s National Intelligence Council has a good report out, ‘Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World.’  Media coverage has focussed on its predictions of US decline and the ‘rise of the East’, but it’s much richer than that. Here are […]

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