Topic: General

Will we ever be able to talk about limits to growth?

Some challenging discussions on this on the New Scientist website. Here’s an extract from an article by Tim Jackson ‘The Ehrlich equation, I = PAT, says simply that the impact (I) of human activity on the planet is the product of three factors: the size of the population (P), its level of affluence (A) expressed […]

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I just read four novels in a row…

….. without a single interruption from development, economics, news, or the appositely named ‘grey literature’ of papers, reports and all the rest of the stuff that pours into my inbox every day. Yep, I’ve been on holiday. Actually, the supposed detox of reading fiction proved to be an unplanned exploration into the links between individual […]

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More good stuff to read on the meltdown

Paul Krugman argues in the New York Times that Obama has to think big on reflation: ‘Barack Obama should learn from F.D.R.’s failures as well as from his achievements: the truth is that the New Deal wasn’t as successful in the short run as it was in the long run. And the reason for F.D.R.’s […]

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aid pessimists v aid optimists: watch 'em slug it out

Last week’s ‘high level forum on aid effectiveness’ in Accra, Ghana (see here for a good NGO analysis of the results) has motivated some of the big beasts of the aid world to lock antlers in an intriguing debate on the pros, cons and limits to aid. Adrian Wood, former DFID chief economist kicked off […]

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Just when you thought the Washington Consensus was dead, along comes the G8…

with an alarmingly retro ‘Declaration on the World Economy’ from this week’s summit in Hokkaido. Look at these two excerpts.

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What has Obama said about aid, development and climate change?

I’m in the US for a couple of weeks to promote the book round universities and thinktanks (details here). But an added bonus is to experience the new mood in Obamerica. I won’t add to the mountain of op-eds and blogs on the global and historic significance of seeing a black family in the White […]

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Launching From Poverty to Power in East Africa

I recently returned from a whirlwind launch trip to Uganda (where Fountain Publishers are the publishers), Kenya (where the distributor is Legacy Books) and Addis Ababa. Crucially, from my point of view, this was the first systematic presentation of the book to audiences in developing countries, so I was fairly nervous!

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Putting numbers on happiness – new efforts to measure well-being

GDP and income have long been criticized as extremely limited measures of well-being. When I asked my long-suffering 16 year old son Finlay over breakfast what makes people happy, he suggested a playstation (consumption), having kids (parental alarm bells), and a combination of friendship groups – a small tight-knit inner circle, and a wider group […]

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Nicholas Stern’s new paper on Climate Change: 8/10 on economics; 3/10 for politics (and the science is pretty questionable, as well)

We’re looking for a climate change researcher (interested? – applications by 15 July), so I’ve been mugging up a bit by reading Nicholas Stern’s new paper, Key Elements of a Global Deal on Climate Change. His university, the London School of Economics, has just set up the ‘Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the […]

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What’s Kerala’s Secret?

In a recent academic roundtable on From Poverty to Power in Canberra, Robin Jeffrey, professor at the Australian National University and dean of its College of Asia and the Pacific, had a stab at applying the ‘how change happens’ framework to the cause celebre of Kerala in South India. Here are my notes on his initial […]

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Chronic Poverty Report, published 8 July

This is the second report by the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, a consortium of universities and thinktanks led by the Overseas Development Institute. It builds on many of the themes in the first (2004-5) report, but adds some important new issues and twists. Not an easy read, but there is real meat in here and […]

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Meltdowns compared: Financial v Climate Crises

Some highlights from a thought-provoking exchange with my colleague Sarah Best, who works on private sector and climate change issues. Similar causes · The roots of the financial crisis lie in a failure to properly assess risk (e.g. of sub-prime loans), an absence of proper oversight and regulation (e.g. of complex financial instruments) and consumption beyond […]

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