Welcome to From Poverty to Power

This platform explores the latest thinking and action on international development, highlighting issues of power, politics, hope and justice. It is curated by Duncan Green and Maria Faciolince.

 

Latest Posts

Can we say climate change 'causes' extreme weather events?

Every time a flood, cyclone or drought makes it into the media, my colleague John Magrath is asked whether climate change is to blame. In a valiant attempt to avoid the researcher’s reflex but annoying ‘it’s more complicated than that’ response, he has produced this briefing. ‘There’s a natural tendency to blame major disasters solely […]

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Portfolios of the Poor – a great new book

Portfolios of the Poor gave me the same feeling of excitement as the World Bank’s epic ‘Voices of the Poor’ study. Both of them are the fruit of intense scrutiny of the real lives of poor people that uncovers insights and destroys stereotypes. Poor people are most definitely not financial illiterates, but often sophisticated managers […]

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How to write; why big goals are stupid; capital v governments; origins of the IPCC; the end of oil and a vision of President Blair: links I liked

The Economist is a model of clear writing (if not always of clear thinking) – find out how they do it on the Economist style guide (h/t Chris Blattman) ‘Set a Big Goal. Give All to Meet It. This is Stupid.’ Bill Easterly rehearses his consistently useful planners v searchers distinction on aid (and everything […]

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Jasmine Rice in the Weeping Plain: successful adaptation to climate change

Lured by its wonderful title, I’ve just been reading a new briefing about some successful adaptation work in Northeast Thailand. Here’s a summary: In 2007, farmers in Yasothorn Province, north-east Thailand, experienced the longest dry spell during a rainy season in decades. Yasothorn, one of the 10 poorest provinces in the country, is part of […]

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What comes after the MDGs?

Gave a presentation on this last week. I’ve blogged before on the strengths and weaknesses of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but if you want more,  ‘Promoting Pro-poor Policy after the MDGs’ a recent conference organized by EADI, ActionAid, IDS and others has dozens of background papers (prize for most world-weary title goes to Pietro Garau […]

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What happens when negotiations fail to prevent 2 million deaths? Not much, apparently

Suppose weapons of mass destruction had taken 2.1 million lives over the last three years. International diplomacy would surely be at fever pitch, the UN would be in constant session, leaders would be shuttling to and fro trying to bring a halt to the slaughter. Wrong. Conventional arms have, directly or indirectly, killed that number […]

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Faith and development – what's the connection?

I’ve worked in and with many faith-based organizations over the years and have long argued that development organizations can’t afford to be blind to the importance of faith. Research shows that people living in poverty trust their churches more than any other institution, and faiths are vital in forging the attitudes and beliefs that underpin […]

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Climate cassandras; World Bank good and bad; Martin Wolf on the perils of liberalization; map madness: links I liked

Paul Krugman wonders why ‘climate scientists have, en masse, become Cassandras — gifted with the ability to prophesy future disasters, but cursed with the inability to get anyone to believe them.’ World Bank President Robert Zoellick takes a step back to provide a world tour of the new world order emerging from the crisis, concluding: […]

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Sensibilist or Swivel Eyed? Weighing the arguments for greater radicalism in NGO advocacy

At what point does an advocacy NGO cease being ‘ahead of the curve’, ‘visionary’ etc (choose your own cliché) and instead become simply bonkers, a prophet ranting in a wilderness uninhabited by anyone with a smidgeon of decision-making power? This subject kept cropping up at an Oxfam internal discussion the other day. Unfortunately, I framed […]

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Is financial independence for the IMF a good thing?

Ngaire Woods, a veteran IMF watcher, came and briefed us on the Fund and the crisis, based on her recent paper for the European Parliament. Here are some highlights: There is a gulf between public perceptions that the IMF is helping the poorest countries, and the reality, that it’s main role has been sorting out […]

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Do we need to ration growth, and if so, who gets what's left?

Spoke at a Quaker conference on the ‘zero growth economy’ at the weekend. Quaker meetings are different: when I finished speaking to an audience of 350 people, there was total hear-a-pin-drop silence. Instead of clapping, people reflect, eyes closed, on what they have just heard. And no, even though it was after lunch, they weren’t asleep (well, […]

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What happened at the Pittsburgh G20?

I didn’t attend the G20 summit in Pittsburgh last week, but I’ve been poring over the communiqué. Here are some initial thoughts on what it all means (numbers in square brackets refer to paragraphs in the original), incorporating analysis and intel from the Oxfam team at the event. Headline: Pittsburgh formally enshrined the rise of […]

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Managed and curated by

Duncan Green

Duncan is strategic adviser for Oxfam GB, author of ‘How Change Happens’ and Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics.

Maria Faciolince

Maria is an anthropologist, activist - researcher and multimedia communicator working with Oxfam GB.