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 Daewoo the new East India Company?

Last week the South Korean multinational Daewoo announced it had secured a 99-year lease (i.e. more or less bought) for 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of Madagascar’s land, mostly in the Indian Ocean island’s arid west. Daewoo aims to grow 5m tonnes of corn (maize) a year by 2023, and produce palm oil from […]

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New UN update on the Least Developed Countries

UNCTAD’s 2008 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Report, was published last week. Given 7% average annual growth rates in the 50 LDCs over the last 3 years, the report is surprisingly downbeat, arguing that even these levels of growth are failing to make a dent on poverty (as of 2005, 36% of the LDC population lived […]

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Publication day

That was a long day. Oxfam launched the book on Monday, so I head off for BBC radio’s Today programme at 6.15 in the morning, and finish with Al Jazeera TV news at past 10pm. The interviews are interspersed with interminable debates with the London media’s wonderfully globalized (and opinionated) cab drivers: the BBC guy […]

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So what does the World Bank's new chief economist think about development?

Following our recent conversation (see July 4 post), I’ve been digging into the views of Justin Lin, the World Bank’s first ever developing country chief economist. Check out his Marshall lecture on development, delivered in Cambridge in November 2007, shortly before he got his new job. It gives a fascinating insight into how Lin’s interpretation […]

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How can NGOs influence states? Promoting education reform in Vietnam

From Poverty to Power argues that effective states and active citizens between them hold the key to unlocking development, but are states just too big and remote for NGOs to influence? I had some fascinating discussions on this at a workshop in Viet Nam a couple of weeks ago.

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Remember the development round? Belated reflections on the WTO Doha collapse

I was on holiday when the Doha round ran into the sand at the end of July (for more see here), but reading the reports brought back memories of previous collapses (a WTO speciality) in Seattle and Cancun. If you can get past the thickets of tradespeak, the subtexts to the latest collapse carry some […]

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Signing off with some Inspiration for Christmas and a big 2009

I’m taking a two week break from the blog over Christmas, (should be long enough to get over any withdrawal symptoms). This blog was originally designed to help launch From Poverty to Power. That is largely done now – the book is in its 4th printing and doing fine, the Spanish edition is out, with […]

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It's Doha déjà vu (all over again)

Back in April, I spoke at a workshop on the WTO’s Doha round of trade negotiations where the EU negotiator Peter Mandelson got a laugh by saying ‘we have six weeks to get a deal… and I really mean it this time.’ Three months on, Mandelson will doubtless really mean it again, along with about […]

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Can states be built?

Do you read Prospect magazine? If not, why not? I don’t always agree with it, but it gets the intellectual juices flowing. The current (June) issue includes a counterintuitive piece on food prices (high prices do not increase global hunger – I disagree), a brilliant essay arguing that video games foster collaboration, not individualism, and best of all, a great, angry blast on how the wrong kind of aid has failed to build effective states, and has in fact often undermined them.

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Do development agencies need to look more like the private sector?

NGOs and others in the development sector spend a good deal of time beating themselves up about their many failings (listed in loving detail in the book). Recently, however, the private sector has picked up the baseball bat and got stuck in – arguing that all we need to do is adopt lean, efficient market […]

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Reshaping Economic Geography – the latest World Development Report

A helpful summary from my colleague Richard King of this year’s World Development Report – the World Bank’s flagship publication. The title is ‘Reshaping Economic Geography’ and Richard found it ‘exciting’. But then he’s a geographer – I found it hard going and fell asleep several times, but maybe that’s the jetlag…..

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What did Poznan mean for progress on climate change?

I didn’t attend last week’s climate summit, but I’ve talked to a few Oxfam staff who did, and got to thinking about how the talks compare with other negotiations, especially on trade. (For a more specific debrief on the Poznan outcome see here).

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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.