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

Is British aid bad? Owen Barder locks antlers with Bill Easterly

Time for a little attention to the rising aid sceptic tide. A number of books (Dambisa Moyo, Jonathan Glennie, Michela Wrong), blogs etc have been trashing aid with both good and bad consequences. Good in that, as From Poverty to Power argues, there is lots wrong with the aid system that urgently needs fixing (and […]

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Food prices for poor people are not coming down – new data from the FAO

It’s been bugging me for months that we are still talking about a ‘food price crisis’ even though world commodity prices, including food, have come down a long way since their peak in mid 2008. Should we still be talking about 150m people being pushed below the poverty line by high food prices? Won’t they […]

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Vacuous declarations; carbon neutral Maldives; Dani Rodrik, heretic; the case for over-regulation and why watching soaps leads to fewer babies but more lovers: links I liked

The FT impales a vacuous G20 finance ministers declaration The Maldives becomes the first country to go carbon neutral. Unfortunately it’s everyone else who has to do likewise to save it from sinking beneath the rising seas. Dani Rodrik as heretical and original as ever, arguing for stronger national regulation, not the global variety, on […]

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IMF finally calls it – the world economy will shrink in 2009, and developing countries are hit harder than we thought

Every revision of global growth predictions has been heading towards zero, and now the IMF, in its report to the G20 finance ministers’ meeting last weekend,  has taken the next step. It predicts the world economy will shrink in 2009, (by minus 0.5-1%) for the first time in 60 years. It’s pretty safe to assume […]

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Want to reduce inequality? Look at Latin America!

I was at DFID again this week (I should be on a retainer) , presenting a paper on the impact of the global crisis on Latin America (it should be on the Oxfam website by the middle of next week). One interesting glass-half-full v glass-half-empty discussion was over income inequality: I said the region was doing well […]

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'Moving Out of Poverty': Outstanding new mega-study from the World Bank

One of the best books I have ever read on development was ‘Crying out for Change’, a summary of a massive late 1990s study by the World Bank called ‘Voices of the Poor’. So it was a delight to pick up the summary of its new and epic successor ‘The Moving Out of Poverty Study’ […]

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Is the UN missing in action on the global crisis?

Last week I attended two events that focussed on the crisis and its impact on development: a big DFID conference in preparation for its forthcoming white paper, and an NGO presentation to the UN ‘Commission of Experts’ on reforming the international financial system, which is chaired by Joe Stiglitz. Discussions at both events brought home […]

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The Millennium Development Goals: what have they achieved? What next?

Last week I spent a day closeted with statisticians, UN officials and academics reviewing the MDG phenomenon. Agreed off the back of the Millennium Summit in (unsurprisingly) 2000, the MDGs, setting out 2015 global targets on everything from health to education to poverty, have become a familiar part of the aid landscape, a reference point […]

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An intelligent debate on aid; watch as the world burns; why car-swapping aint green; the best newspaper on the crisis; how green is your stimulus? and how to blog at the G20: links I liked

Dambisa Moyo and her bizarrely timed anti-aid message (aid bad, markets good) get a polite but highly effective kicking on the BBC’s aptly named Hard Talk programme, courtesy of Alison Evans, the incoming director of the Overseas Development Institute. Top quality TV, with a well briefed chair pushing both participants hard. Alarming ‘Real-time’ stats on […]

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How badly is the crisis hitting the poorest countries? Here's what the IMF thinks

The IMF has a new paper out summarizing the impact of the global crisis on 78 ‘low income countries’ (LICs) – the world’s poorest, many of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its findings include:

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What happens when you give people money (rather than food or blankets) after a natural disaster? Some evidence from Zambia

When disaster strikes in the shape of floods or droughts, aid agencies traditionally ship in food and blankets, often over great distances. But increasingly, people are trying out a novel alternative – give people envelopes full of cash and let them buy what they need. I’ve just been reading an evaluation of two such exercises […]

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Building a Low Carbon Economy: How much will it cost? Where do we start?

Leaders like Obama and (increasingly) Gordon Brown seem to be gravitating towards the ‘green new deal’ argument that massive international spending in response to the financial crisis must also shift economies onto a ‘low carbon recovery’ path. Looking at the science, there’s little argument – we have to massively reduce the carbon intensity of production […]

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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.