Topic: Technology

Have technology and globalization kicked away the ladder of ‘easy’ development? Dani Rodrik thinks so

Dani Rodrik was in town his week, and I attended a brilliant presentation at ODI. Very exciting. He’s been one of my heroes ever since I joined the aid and development crowd in the late 90s, when he was one of the few high profile economists to be arguing against the liberalizing market-good/state-bad tide on […]

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Africa’s renewable future – the coming energy revolution

Apologies for extra post today, but the guest posts and new papers are coming thick and fast. John Magrath, Oxfam researcher and renewable energy fan, celebrates a new report by Kofi Annan. In Zimbabwe last week I was talking to a nurse at a rural health centre who described how the cost of two candles can […]

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Is a Data Revolution under way, and if so, who will benefit?

Guest post from the beach big Data Festival in Cartagena, Colombia, by Oxfam’s Head of Research and paid up member of the numerati, Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva (@rivefuentes) A spectre is haunting the hallways of the international bureaucracy and national statistical offices – the spectre of the data revolution.  Now, that might suggest a contradiction in terms […]

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Do Aid and Development need their own TripAdvisor feedback system?

I’ve been thinking about TripAdvisor recently, as a model of fast, crowdsourced feedback which highlights rubbish hotels and restaurants, and creates pressure for them to shape up. There’s plenty of rubbish performance in the aid and development sector, but our feedback loops are mainly limited to conversations in corridors and the occasional email. So what would be your top […]

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What to do about Inequality, Shrinking Wages and the perils of PPPs? A conversation with Kaushik Basu, World Bank chief economist

Along with a bunch of policy wonks from NGOs and thinktanks, I had an exchange with World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu this week. Rules of engagement were that the meeting  was off the record, but I was allowed to blog as long as the Bank saw a draft to make sure I wasn’t about […]

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How do you keep 100 students awake on a Friday afternoon? Fast feedback and iterative adaptation seem to work

I wrote this post for the LSE’s International Development Department blog There’s a character in a Moliere play who is surprised and delighted to learn that he has been speaking prose all his life without knowing it. I thought of him a couple of weeks into my new role as a part-time Professor in Practice in LSE’s […]

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Why Bill and Melinda’s Annual Letter is both exciting and disappointing

Judging by his latest annual letter, if you could bottle and sell Bill Gates’ optimism, you’d probably make even more money than he has from software. In what they call a ‘big bet’ (actually, more like a prediction), the letter sets out Bill and Melinda’s personal version of some post-MDG goals for 2030 (Charles Kenny […]

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The Economist on the global spread of cash transfers and Jokowi’s flying start in Indonesia

Some fascinating coverage of the new Indonesian president and cash transfers in the Economist this week. First up, Indonesia: ‘Having trimmed petrol subsidies in November, Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, who is universally known as Jokowi, scrapped them entirely from January 1st. Small subsidies (1,000 rupiah, or eight cents, per litre) will remain in place for […]

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How Soap Operas and cable TV promote women’s rights and family planning

Taking a break from the How Change Happens book this week to head off to Harvard for a Matt Andrews/ODI seminar on ‘Doing Development Differently’ + a day at Oxfam America on Friday. Will report back, I’m sure. Meanwhile, I’ve just finished the draft chapter on the power of social norms, and how they change […]

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Why Inequality is a (very) Big Deal, and you need to get involved

I wrote this puff for Blog Action Day on 16th Oct – it appeared on Oxfam International’s site earlier this week. If you’re a blogger and want to join in the inequality theme, sign up here. A few years ago I was touring the US to promote my book, From Poverty to Power, which focuses […]

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Amartya Sen on dangers of climate change ‘obsession’ and nuclear power and need for a new ethics of environmentalism

Amartya Sen has an important piece out in the New Republic magazine, on the links between environment and development. It’s quite long, so I thought I’d offer my precis service. He argues that the attention to climate change is disproportionate, not because we should think less about it, but because we should worry a lot […]

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Why social entrepreneurship has become a distraction: it’s mainstream capitalism that needs to change

Pamela Hartigan, Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, is having second thoughts about the impact of social entrepreneurs. The first time I heard the term “social entrepreneur” I thought it referred to business people who liked to party. That was about twenty years ago, when the term was […]

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