Jeff Sachs = marmite; how to make aid workers read; big beasts 4 Robin Hood; money 2 mobiles (randomly); Tories 4 Africa; Ugandan land grabs: links I liked

‘Jeffrey Sachs is Marmite. Some love him…..’ Nice update on the Millennium villages Project (and its critics) from the Guardian’s marmiteMadeleine Bunting

Martin Ravallion takes time off from supplying research to worry about the demand side. How to get can-do development workers to also be can-read (preferably before doing)? Answer: mandatory literature reviews before taking any action. Sounds good to me.

‘A financial transaction tax would actually increase the efficiency of the allocation of capital: it would improve the functioning of capitalism, rather than undermining it.’ Robert Peston, the BBC’s weird-but-influential Business Editor, comes out in support of the Robin Hood Tax and adds some good ideas for making it harder to avoid. Avinash Persaud, another financial heavy hitter, also gets behind the proposal.

A mobile phone version of chucking money out of helicopters. Give Directly transfers your donation straight to the mobile phones of ‘people likely to be poor.’ A more progressive alternative to quantitative easing?

I was all ready to be rubbish this as just a public relations stunt, but it really is rather impressive. The ruling British Conservative Party (yes the one once led by Margaret Thatcher), decided to turn its one free TV slot over to an appeal for East Africa. Any chance of the Democrats (let alone the Republicans) doing the same thing in the US? Or sending a group of party members to do voluntary work in Rwanda every year?

A 6 minute video on the Uganda land grab story I covered a couple of weeks ago

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4 Responses to “Jeff Sachs = marmite; how to make aid workers read; big beasts 4 Robin Hood; money 2 mobiles (randomly); Tories 4 Africa; Ugandan land grabs: links I liked”
  1. Alice Evans

    Hi Duncan,

    I really liked the Conservative video – extremely surprising. Thank you for sharing this.

    But I’m equally surprised to hear you describe someone as ‘weird’. That’s beneath you isn’t it? Sure, he takes a very long time to get the words out on radio (something I find quite infuriating), but that hardly makes him deserving of the epithet. His book ‘Who runs Britain’ is interesting. Don’t be mean, please.

    Duncan: OK, OK, I stand corrected Alice (although personally, I quite like being called weird…..), and just to do the fair and balanced thing, here’s Robert Peston launching a really great initiative to get high profile speakers into state (rather than private) schools.


  2. Adriana RIbeiro

    Dear Mr. Duncan Green,

    Thanks for all your work in attempting to inform us on international issues.

    May I be so free as to share my opinion?

    For the famine aid issues: would it be worth to pursue efforts of digging wells by the locals – manually, such as it was always done. No the artificial, with toxic substances such as plastic,cement or aluminium, etc. It may be in the form of puts with surrounding drainage systems (such as has been done for thousands of years), wells or the building of small dams – not large ones that may risk future rupture when not cared for due to wars of other related issues – as to receive the rains when they finally come? It would be a payment for aid that would be received and also a reward for all involved. It would also avoid tumult/depression so pervasive under these circumstances, as consequence of inactivity. Finally, it could avoid future similar problems – as these would be receiving the water when the rains finally would come and would better prepare the region against future droughts.

    On claiming land for reforestation:
    Could we make a point that the company could pay local farmers for planting on their land? Local trees – not a monoculture of imported seedlings that alter completely the biosystem! As these may cause further damage to ecosystem; such as in the case of the import of a type of pinus in Brazil, where the polinization of local fruit trees was affected due to the contact of bees with the resins from the imported trees? Whole jam industries where wiped out!
    The farmers could border their land by the acre with these local trees. They could even trim them individually for better and more ‘straight’ growth and less shade on crops that need more sunshine. This would create a local fence, protect crop from excessive sun and wind damage and if alternating trees, inclusively with local fruit trees – where the excess of fruit could also be food for their animals and fertilize the soil further as more birds and other small animals would add nutrients to the soil! This would be a win-win situation for both farmers, factory and country.

    Many thanks for you attention,

  3. James

    Sorry to slightly burst the bubble with the Tories and their being all nice and cuddly and stuff… But as one who met the people who came over to Rwanda this summer, I can pretty much emphatically state that it is purely and simply a ‘detoxify the brand’ (with maybe a bit of naive ‘we can go to that poor country and change things in a week’ thrown in). The group I saw were largely chinless 18 – 24 year old kids, and this was either a pre or post ‘gap yaah’ for most of them.

    But its good of the Government to draw the attention of its otherwise difficult to engage populous to the famine in East Africa.

  4. Pete Hennessy

    James, surely it is excellent if political party activists at an impressionable age are exposed to the reality of life in a country like Rwanda? Whatever their motives for going there, I hope you managed to show them the truth of how different life is and what might be done about it.

    I was young once and did a few months voluntary work in Ecuador. I always knew that I would benefit more than the community I was living with. I saw it as part of my education and I think it is great if a time like this is experienced by people who aspire to have influence here in the UK. (I never made it to being influential!)

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