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

Mobile phones and magic bullets

The Economist continues its love affair with the mobile phone in a recent special report. Highlights: ‘In 2000 the developing countries accounted for around one-quarter of the world’s 700m or so mobile phones. By the beginning of 2009 their share had grown to three-quarters of a total which by then had risen to over 4 […]

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Can the law advance education and healthcare in poor countries?

I recently spent two weeks doing jury service in an inner London court – a grim experience of leaking municipal toilets, undrinkable coffee, frequently incompetent barristers and Dickensian judges, overseeing a squalid litany of petty crime. In between the alleged threats and beatings, I read Courting Social Justice, a new book on the use of […]

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Aid, growth and love; North Korea; people power; sleepless physicists; Afghan fudge and a warmer world map: links I liked

Owen Barder reports on a new paper that finds that on average, aid promotes economic growth. I share Owen’s doubts about the fixation with regressions, but it’s worth noting that the anti-aid battalions don’t own the maths. Talking of aid sceptics, Bill Easterly asks if aid is more like science or falling in love The […]

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100 indicators of well-being or just one? Stiglitz v Layard

The OECD conference I’ve been attending is winding down. Lots of banquets, but not much booze, so I never had to try the hotel’s tempting room service item ‘outer leaves of cabbage broth to chase a hangover.’ What’s the takeaway (ideas rather than food)? The key debate seems to me to be over complexity. The […]

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Joe Stiglitz addresses 'the movement' on well-being v GDP

I’m still surrounded by the world’s statisticians (not as bad as it sounds) at the OECD Measuring the Progress of Societies conference in South Korea, where yesterday Joe Stiglitz gave a great presentation. Rather than simply rehearse the findings of his commission’s report to President Sarkozy, he reflected on why criticisms of GDP, which have […]

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How could we measure well-being in a crisis? Some thoughts from Korea

I am currently in Korea’s second city, Busan, attending a big OECD conference on ‘statistics, knowledge and policy’, organized by its ‘Measuring the Progress of Societies’ project. The massive conference centre looks out on a consumerist paradise, including a giant Tesco’s supermarket (everything’s big here, giving you that sense of suddenly having shrunk that you […]

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Charter Cities – visionary, naive or bonkers?

Charter Cities are a proposal to build cities from scratch in the world’s poorest nations, outsourcing their design and government to rich countries. Visionary, naïve or plain bonkers? Probably a bit of all three. They are the brainchild of US economist Paul Romer, who explains his idea on this (20 minute) video. He’s serious – […]

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Rodrik on protectionism; Tories and climate change; my son's a blogger; medicine v aid; regulating the banks; good news on HIV and piano stairs: links I liked

Dani Rodrik, who has tragically abandoned his blog due to a combination of work pressures and spammers, takes aim at groupthink on protectionism and the crisis. See what a blogging subset of Tories think about David Cameron’s recent speech on climate change. Looks like he’s got his work cut out. Proud father time – son […]

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Forget Cannes – check out the Golden Poo Awards, 2009

OK, so Global Handwashing Day on 15 October may have passed you by, but take a minute (well, 3 minutes) to watch these two winning entries (less than two minutes each) for the accompanying Golden Poo awards.   Behind the humour is a very serious purpose of course. Handwashing with soap is among the most […]

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25 years after the Ethiopian famine, what have we learned?

It’s 25 years since the Ethiopian famine and the region is again being flayed by drought. Expect lots of media coverage, at least some of it along the lines of ’why did we bother? Nothing’s changed.’ Not so. Band Aids and Beyond, an Oxfam briefing paper published today, summarizes what’s been learned since then and […]

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Water, land, air, life: what is a safe environmental operating space for humanity?

Sorry guys, sorting out climate change is just the start. Their success in influencing climate change policy (if not practice) seems to have emboldened earth system scientists to initiate a wider debate about the earth’s limits. A recent issue of Nature journal tries to establish the ecological ‘operating space’ for humans, and could spark off […]

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Migration and development: how to improve on a feeble new Human Development Report

The Human Development Report, published by UNDP, is traditionally the best of the UN annual tomes. This year’s HDR, entitled Overcoming Barriers, discusses migration. It’s a critical issue in development – moving in search of work and a better life has always been a strategy for people living in poverty as most modern-day Americans and Australians can […]

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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.