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

Should emergency relief be used to build mosques and churches?

Should Oxfam’s emergency relief money be used to build mosques? That was the fascinating question that cropped up in a recent internal discussion on faith and development. And it’s not a purely academic one. In Aceh after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, Oxfam said no to one request.  But two years later, after the big Java […]

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UK foreign policy; that volcano; First World in need; philanthrocapitalism debunked; when the Irish were black and remember Haiti? Links I liked

Foreign Policy was largely missing in action in the UK election, but how might it change under a Tory-Lib Dem government? If you’re in London on Monday 17th May, come and find out as the Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman, Ed Davey, debates with Daily Mail commentator Peter Oborne and Oxfam’s boss, Barbara Stocking. The […]

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Successful Green Industrial Policy – Brazilian biofuels

The highly polarized debate on the role of industrial policy in development is dominated by discussions of the East Asian tigers, so good to see a discussion from another continent on what makes for successful state intervention – Brazil and biofuels. Here’s the highlights from a recent article by Tarun Khanna of the Harvard Business […]

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Why do people vote? Don't ask a micro-economist.

Britain went to the polls last week, and a right mess we made of it, in terms of choosing a government (four days on, and the parties are still negotiating). Normally, pundits lament the long term decline in voter turnout (though it went up a bit in last week’s close contest, to about two thirds of […]

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Randomized Controlled Trials: panacea or mirage?

Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) are all the rage among development wonks at the moment. Imported from medical research, they offer the tantalizing allure to social scientists of finally overcoming the Achilles’ heel of real-world research – the counterfactual (aka ‘how do we know what would have happened if we hadn’t lobbied the government/ employed the […]

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Alcohol in Africa – more illegal, but not more deadly

Today is election day in the UK, so there’s a fair chance that politically active people of all stripes will be hitting the bottle in celebration or regret this evening – or just drowning their sorrows at the prospect of weeks of haggling/constitutional crisis over a hung parliament. So spare a thought for the boozers […]

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Active citizenship in the North: how does Citizens UK compare with developing country versions?

The South in the North? Citizens UK Grill the next Prime Minister On Monday I attended an exemplary demonstration of active citizenship: a rally of 2,500 community organizers in central London, gathered to hear and interrogate the three main party leaders in tomorrow’s UK general election. It was organized by Citizens UK, an extension of […]

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World War Two on Facebook; global trends quiz; hating meetings; and powerpoint; billionaires and diseases; bad aid and T shirts; Greek lessons; the worlds' worst immigration laws

Whatever happened to the language of Churchill, let alone Shakespeare? World War Two according to Facebook  [h/t Matt Griffith] A Foreign Policy quiz on global trends (I bombed) An enjoyable tirade against the bane of NGO life – meetings Hypnotizing chickens with powerpoint [h/t Chris Roche] In the light of Bill Gates’ semi-conversion in the […]

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The IMF pronounces on the Robin Hood Tax

Yesterday, I discussed the IMF’s fascinating new proposals for two international taxes on the financial sector  – a ‘financial stability contribution’ (FSC) and a ‘financial activities tax’ (FAT). But the leaked interim report to the G20 also discussed the financial transactions tax (FTT), better known as the Robin Hood Tax. What did it say? First […]

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A global taxation system, as proposed by the IMF

IMF suggests Global taxes on all banks History is made What have they put in the water supply at the IMF? First they see the light on capital controls, and now they’re putting out ground-breaking ideas on the international taxation of banks. I’ve been reading the supposedly confidential (but available on the BBC website – […]

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Free the data; the purpose of aid; a geopolitical beauty contest; China in Africa; the Backward Classes Bureau; Colonialists through African Eyes and the ultimate metaphor: links I liked

Owen Barder celebrates the World Bank’s decision to set its data free (including World Development Indicators – formerly charged for) as part of the International Aid Transparency Initiative. More detail on Aid Watch. Owen also ponders the evidence for, and links between, the two big ubernarratives for aid and development: aid helps transform the institutions […]

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The World Bank breaks its promises on Africa's voting power

The World Bank went backwards in Washington last week, when it announced a set of reforms on ‘voice’ (the different countries’ share of voting power at the Bank) that reversed many of the gains for African countries from the previous voice reform, at the Bank’s last Annual Meeting in Istanbul in September 2009. In last […]

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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.