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

Putting numbers on happiness – new efforts to measure well-being

GDP and income have long been criticized as extremely limited measures of well-being. When I asked my long-suffering 16 year old son Finlay over breakfast what makes people happy, he suggested a playstation (consumption), having kids (parental alarm bells), and a combination of friendship groups – a small tight-knit inner circle, and a wider group […]

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Why my wife is half-right on the Tobin Tax

I’ve always been a bit of a Tobin Tax sceptic, which made for interesting domestic dynamics when my wife Cathy was director of War on Want, one of the main TT advocates in the UK (she’s since moved on to become a psychotherapist – I say it’s a natural progression from NGOs; she doesn’t think […]

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Nicholas Stern’s new paper on Climate Change: 8/10 on economics; 3/10 for politics (and the science is pretty questionable, as well)

We’re looking for a climate change researcher (interested? – applications by 15 July), so I’ve been mugging up a bit by reading Nicholas Stern’s new paper, Key Elements of a Global Deal on Climate Change. His university, the London School of Economics, has just set up the ‘Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the […]

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What’s Kerala’s Secret?

In a recent academic roundtable on From Poverty to Power in Canberra, Robin Jeffrey, professor at the Australian National University and dean of its College of Asia and the Pacific, had a stab at applying the ‘how change happens’ framework to the cause celebre of Kerala in South India. Here are my notes on his initial […]

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Chronic Poverty Report, published 8 July

This is the second report by the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, a consortium of universities and thinktanks led by the Overseas Development Institute. It builds on many of the themes in the first (2004-5) report, but adds some important new issues and twists. Not an easy read, but there is real meat in here and […]

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Meltdowns compared: Financial v Climate Crises

Some highlights from a thought-provoking exchange with my colleague Sarah Best, who works on private sector and climate change issues. Similar causes · The roots of the financial crisis lie in a failure to properly assess risk (e.g. of sub-prime loans), an absence of proper oversight and regulation (e.g. of complex financial instruments) and consumption beyond […]

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Killer facts: a user's guide

‘Killer Facts’, are those punchy, memorable, headline-grabbing statistics that are picked up by the media and politicians and have immediate impact. In influencing terms, the right killer fact can be more effective than dozens of well-researched reports.

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It's G8 time again

In Hokkaido, Japan, this week, staff from across Oxfam International will be lobbying governments, talking to the press, and periodically donning the ‘big heads’ – giant replicas of the G8 leaders, which we lug around from conference to conference. Dreaming up stunts for the big heads is one of the more fun bits of summitry, […]

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Can we measure inequality of opportunity? The World Bank has a go.

The World Bank has come up with a ‘Human Opportunity Index’ which pulls together in a single composite indicator both how many opportunities (e.g. overall access to primary education, clean water etc) are available in a given country or region, and how equitably those opportunities are distributed between rich and poor. The idea is to […]

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Wales in the World: what can a small country do on climate change, trade etc?

I’ve just got back from promoting the book in Wales – the universities in Aberystwyth and Swansea, followed by a launch at the National Assembly of Wales. Since the Assembly was established in 1999, it seems to have galvanized a sense of nationhood – Welsh is much more widely spoken these days and more schools […]

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The changing understanding of poverty; the latest on growth diagnostics – 2 new papers to read while you’re awaiting the US election result……

I was saddened to see that the wonderfully named Post Autistic Economics Review has presumably succumbed to political correctness in renaming itself the Real-World Economics Review, but the quality is still great and email subscription is still free. The latest issue has a very handy guide by Paul Shaffer of the University of Toronto to […]

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Does Grassroots Activism Work? Two new collections of case studies

NGOs talk a lot about empowerment, voice, agency, grassroots mobilisation etc but it sometimes sounds a little woolly and you can’t help wondering if it actually amounts to much more than talk. Still those doubts. Two new collections of case studies, from the Institute of Development Studies and Oxfam, provide a gold mine of real […]

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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.