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…

By admin December 24, 2008 Off

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…

By admin December 7, 2008 Off

What's the development debate like in Australia?

I’ve just finished a week of debates, seminars and book launches in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. My overall impressions include firstly the huge importance of policy debates over Australia’s Indigenous peoples on wider development thinking, not least because meetings in government, academia and NGOs now begin with the chair intoning variations on the formula ‘I…

By admin December 2, 2008 Off

A youtube's worth a thousand words

My kids introduced me to youtube, mainly through happy family moments watching unfortunate things happen to cats. But now Oxfam’s amazing audiovisual team have boiled down 500 pages of ‘From Poverty to Power’ into a 2 minute video. The team is led by film maker Sandhya Suri, who made an award-winning documentary about her family,…

By admin December 1, 2008 Off