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

Two top authors compared: Hossain on Bangladesh and Ang on China

OK, so this week I’ve reviewed the two important new books on the rise of China and Bangladesh. Now for the tricky bit – the comparison. The books are very different in their approach. Where Yuen Yuen Ang focuses on the ‘how’ in China, Naomi Hossain is more interested in the ‘why’ in Bangladesh. Hossain […]

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Book Review: How China Escaped the Poverty Trap, by Yuen Yuen Ang

Update: this review is now available in Chinese Following on from yesterday’s book review on an account of Bangladesh’s success, here’s a great book on another developmental superstar – China. The macro-story on China is well known, but always bears repetition. Emerging from the carnage of the Mao era, China in 1980 had a GDP […]

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Book Review: The Aid Lab: Understanding Bangladesh’s Unexpected Success, by Naomi Hossain

Over the summer I read a few absolutely brilliant books – hence the spate of book reviews. This week I will cover two new studies on development’s biggest recent success stories – China, but first Bangladesh. How did Bangladesh go from being a ‘basket case’ (though ‘not necessarily our basket case’ – Henry Kissinger, 1971) […]

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Links I Liked

Handy acronyms for online reviews (h/t Shit Academics Say)  The awesome Gates Foundation lobby machine went into overdrive to defend aid budgets last week, with a report on past progress in 18 areas now in peril, Bill in the Guardian saying they are lobbying Congress rather than wasting breath on the President and Melinda talking […]

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Can the UK become a Human Economy?

Rising inequality is a global problem. Oxfam inequality guru Deborah Hardoon appraises a new report on its manifestations in the UK. Last week the IPPR, a progressive policy think tank, published a new report, ‘A time for change: A new vision for the British Economy’, which argues that “the economy we have today is creating […]

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Complexity v Simplicity: the challenge for Campaigners and Reformers

Had a few thought-provoking conversations on this last week. I increasingly see most problems (social, political, economic) as complex, i.e. arising from multiple causes in interconnected systems, often highly dependent on the specific context and history of any given place/population. My campaigner friends generally hate such talk, because their gut feeling is that it makes […]

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Book Review: The Road to Somewhere, by David Goodhart

There was a moment a few years ago when I was walking through Brixton with my son, Calum. I was tediously droning on about how much I loved the cultural and ethnic kaleidoscope, compared to the plain vanilla places where I grew up. Calum suddenly turned on me – ‘you’re just a tourist; you visit […]

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DFID is 20 years old: has its results agenda gone too far?

DFID just turned 20 and Craig Valters (right) and Brendan Whitty (left) have a new paper charting its changing relationship to results  Focusing on results in international development is crucial. At this level of abstraction, how could one argue otherwise? Yet it matters how development agencies are managed for these results. We know that with proper management systems, […]

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Links I Liked

Shock revelation – our kids are ‘Anarcho-Communists’ ‘We need no more marchers. We need more mayors’. Great reflection/book review by Nathan Heller on modern protest Bollywood’s hot new topics: open toilets, menstrual hygiene and erectile dysfunction What Guatemala’s political crisis means for anti-corruption efforts everywhere. Backgrounder on UN’s ground-breaking work in Central America Oh dear. […]

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Living in interesting times: one year in the life of Oxfam’s Women’s Rights Director

Nikki van der Gaag looks back on her first year as Oxfam’s Gender Justice and Women’s Rights Director. ‘May you live in interesting times’ is a Chinese saying that could equally be a promise or a curse. In the past decade, there can’t have been many more interesting times to be working on women’s rights […]

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Book Review: Norms in the Wild: How to Diagnose, Measure, and Change Social Norms, by Cristina Bicchieri

Alice Evans was raving about this book on twitter, so I scrounged a review copy and read it on holiday (that’s just how I roll). Verdict? A useful resource on an incredibly important topic (see my previous blogs), but sorry Alice, no cigar. Why important? Because norms are the neglected heart of development and social […]

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From Starving Greece in 1942 to Yemen and Nigeria in 2017: Why Total War is still Wrong

Ed Cairns worries that, 75 years since Oxfam was founded, we have returned to an era of heartless total war When a group of people met in Oxford’s University Church on 5 October 1942, they talked about the dire shortage of food in Nazi-occupied countries, and how to raise money and get relief through the […]

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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.