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

How Change Happens: a framework, some case studies, and some reading

Why are ‘change studies’ not a recognized academic discipline? Politicians, social movements and NGOs think about little else, and portray themselves as ‘change agents’, but the intellectual basis for thinking about political and social change seems particularly arbitrary and threadbare. In discussions on this issue at various book launches and seminars, a few people have […]

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Health is social, not medical

It is often argued that municipal sanitation, rather than doctors, ended the periodic scourges of cholera and other disease that afflicted Victorian Britain (e.g. see here). Now the World Health Organization has adopted an even broader version of the argument in the new report of its Commission on Social Determinants of Health. It marks a […]

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3 crystal ball overviews on global security – not looking good

The futurologists (from NIC, ippr, and DCDC) have been busy, with varying degrees of success. The US Government’s National Intelligence Council has a good report out, ‘Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World.’  Media coverage has focussed on its predictions of US decline and the ‘rise of the East’, but it’s much richer than that. Here are […]

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So what do other people think of the book?

I’m nearing the end of the initial series of launches + discussions with NGOs in the UK (CAFOD, Christian Aid, World Vision, WaterAid, ActionAid) and at DFID (the UK’s development ministry). What’s emerging (apart from powerpoint poisoning)?

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Vietnam: really making poverty history

Today is ‘Blog Action Day’ (no, really) and this year’s theme is poverty, so I thought I’d write about a success story. Viet Nam, where I attended a conference last week, is arguably the greatest poverty reduction triumph of recent decades, changing so fast that it is actually visible, even to the casual observer.

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What needs to happen at the G20 summit on Saturday

Here’s my op-ed linked to today’s launch of a new Oxfam paper prior to the summit. See the end for some other good sources of policy ideas ahead of the meeting.

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Will we ever be able to talk about limits to growth?

Some challenging discussions on this on the New Scientist website. Here’s an extract from an article by Tim Jackson ‘The Ehrlich equation, I = PAT, says simply that the impact (I) of human activity on the planet is the product of three factors: the size of the population (P), its level of affluence (A) expressed […]

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A definitive overview of education in the developing world

My predecessor at Oxfam, Kevin Watkins, went off into the labyrinth of the UN system where he has produced a series of monumental reports. At UNDP he led (i.e. wrote) a series of landmark Human Development Reports on International Cooperation, Water and Sanitation and Climate Change. From there it was off to UNESCO where his […]

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I just read four novels in a row…

….. without a single interruption from development, economics, news, or the appositely named ‘grey literature’ of papers, reports and all the rest of the stuff that pours into my inbox every day. Yep, I’ve been on holiday. Actually, the supposed detox of reading fiction proved to be an unplanned exploration into the links between individual […]

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More good stuff to read on the meltdown

Paul Krugman argues in the New York Times that Obama has to think big on reflation: ‘Barack Obama should learn from F.D.R.’s failures as well as from his achievements: the truth is that the New Deal wasn’t as successful in the short run as it was in the long run. And the reason for F.D.R.’s […]

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aid pessimists v aid optimists: watch 'em slug it out

Last week’s ‘high level forum on aid effectiveness’ in Accra, Ghana (see here for a good NGO analysis of the results) has motivated some of the big beasts of the aid world to lock antlers in an intriguing debate on the pros, cons and limits to aid. Adrian Wood, former DFID chief economist kicked off […]

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Just when you thought the Washington Consensus was dead, along comes the G8…

with an alarmingly retro ‘Declaration on the World Economy’ from this week’s summit in Hokkaido. Look at these two excerpts.

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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.