Topic: General

Do development agencies need to look more like the private sector?

NGOs and others in the development sector spend a good deal of time beating themselves up about their many failings (listed in loving detail in the book). Recently, however, the private sector has picked up the baseball bat and got stuck in – arguing that all we need to do is adopt lean, efficient market […]

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Reshaping Economic Geography – the latest World Development Report

A helpful summary from my colleague Richard King of this year’s World Development Report – the World Bank’s flagship publication. The title is ‘Reshaping Economic Geography’ and Richard found it ‘exciting’. But then he’s a geographer – I found it hard going and fell asleep several times, but maybe that’s the jetlag…..

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Has China Kicked Away the Ladder from other Poor Countries?

China’s unique combination of vast workforce, rock-bottom wages, high literacy, good infrastructure and political control over labour makes it able to out-compete its industrial rivals. China has driven down the prices of most manufactured goods, to the benefit of consumers the world over, but undercutting other developing country exporters in the process. Although skill shortages […]

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Global Poverty is falling, right? Errrm, we’re not entirely sure

Pity the poor number crunchers. Politicians, academics and NGOs argue to and fro about what does or doesn’t reduce poverty, but they all think they can more or less agree on the numbers – about 1 billion out of the world’s 6.7 billion people live on less than $1 a day. At least that was […]

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Meltdown Miscellany: stats and soundbites on the development impact

Here are a few of the things that have crossed my screen on the impact of the meltdown on developing countries. I would really appreciate suggestions for more sources on this – especially on the distributive impact within and between countries.

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What Happened at the G20 Summit on Saturday?

Some initial thoughts on the emergency summit in Washington DC, held to respond to the financial crisis. First, some positives: it was the first time the G20 have met at heads of state level. Could this mark the start of the eclipse of the G8, as major developing countries take a seat at a larger […]

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Agonizing over Aid

Nothing makes me feel more like a woolly liberal than the aid debate. I seem condemned to see both sides of the argument and veer between the ‘aid as salvation’ and ‘aid as imperialism’ camps. With equal vehemence and seemingly absolute certainty, aid pessimists slug it out with aid optimists, often citing the same evidence, […]

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Health is social, not medical

It is often argued that municipal sanitation, rather than doctors, ended the periodic scourges of cholera and other disease that afflicted Victorian Britain (e.g. see here). Now the World Health Organization has adopted an even broader version of the argument in the new report of its Commission on Social Determinants of Health. It marks a […]

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So what do other people think of the book?

I’m nearing the end of the initial series of launches + discussions with NGOs in the UK (CAFOD, Christian Aid, World Vision, WaterAid, ActionAid) and at DFID (the UK’s development ministry). What’s emerging (apart from powerpoint poisoning)?

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Vietnam: really making poverty history

Today is ‘Blog Action Day’ (no, really) and this year’s theme is poverty, so I thought I’d write about a success story. Viet Nam, where I attended a conference last week, is arguably the greatest poverty reduction triumph of recent decades, changing so fast that it is actually visible, even to the casual observer.

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What needs to happen at the G20 summit on Saturday

Here’s my op-ed linked to today’s launch of a new Oxfam paper prior to the summit. See the end for some other good sources of policy ideas ahead of the meeting.

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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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