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

Has the IMF really changed? Academic arm-wrestling from Washington…..

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington DC tries to work out whether the IMF has really changed its thinking in response to the global economic crisis and the general perception that countercyclical responses (rather than belt-tightening austerity) are the right way to go in a recession. After a […]

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Ripples from the future; realtime climate change; food prices; throwing rocks; seduced by stories and why does she always guess right? Links I liked

‘Scientists at the £3.6bn Large Hadron Collider (LHC) found their plans to emulate the big bang postponed this week when a passing bird dropped a “bit of baguette” into the machine, causing it to overheat’ records the Guardian.  But there’s a much more sinister explanation from the whackier frontiers of theoretical physics: ‘ripples from the future […]

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Ha-Joon Chang uncovers what's worked in the history of agricultural policy

I vividly remember the impact of Ha-Joon Chang’s 2002 book ‘Kicking Away the Ladder’. At the time I was an NGO lobbyist on the WTO’s Doha round of trade talks, and Ha-Joon’s book showed how when they were still poor, today’s rich countries had systematically used the industrial policies and other forms of state management […]

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Which governments are best/worst at ending hunger?

League tables are a powerful weapon in the armoury of NGO advocacy. Politicians in the country that ends up in the top slot feel like they are getting some fleeting recognition for their efforts, while those at the bottom are annoyed and hopefully prodded into action. Newspapers love them too as they reduce a complex […]

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What have we learned from the Global Economic Crisis?

Last week we (Oxfam International) met to discuss a series of studies on the impact of, and response to, the global economic crisis (GEC). Partly because the discussion took place in Bangkok, the research (and therefore this summary) was very weighted towards East Asia and the Pacific, but here are some initial impressions. From studies […]

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Why has the Tobin Tax gone mainstream?

So the Tobin Tax finally went large at the G20 finance ministers’ meeting last weekend. Gordon Brown supported a financial transactions tax to repay some of the costs of the bailout and provide extra cash for development and climate change action, and a predictable backlash promptly consumed the finance pages. I won’t rehearse the press coverage […]

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Migration and Development: lead author of this year's Human Development Report responds to my review

Jeni Klugman responds to my fairly critical review of this year’s HDR: ‘It is good to see interest from Oxfam GB’s head of research in the migration and development debate — however, this blog about the 2009 Human Development Report (HDR) misses basic and important aspects of the report’s analysis and policy recommendations. In particular, […]

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Krugman gets tribal; Bank v Fund; new blogs for wonks; does Islamic rule boost women's education?; and an easier way to fetch water: links I liked

‘Which side are you on?’ Paul Krugman gets tribal on healthcare reform ‘The current crisis has yield a windfall gain for the IMF in terms of new resources and enlarged mandate. Where does this leave the World Bank? The Bank seems to be faltering in making its case. The initial reaction to calls for a […]

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Eight introductory powerpoints on development – please plunder

I recently gave a two week introduction to development (undergrad level) at the University of Notre Dame, consisting of eight 45 minute lectures – here are the powerpoints for anyone wanting to nick them. Each lecture includes a brief illustrative video clip of campaigns, social movements etc. Subjects covered are: Risk and Vulnerability; The Global […]

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Why demanding 'political will' is lazy and unproductive

I find myself getting increasingly exasperated by the term ‘political will’. Let me explain. The standard NGO shtick, whether on development, environment or pretty much anything else, is a three parter a) description of the problem b) clever proposal for solving the problem c) call for leaders to show ‘political will’ in adopting the proposed […]

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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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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.