How is the G20 shaping up as the new global steering committee?

The G20 summit takes place in Seoul today and tomorrow, the first such gathering in a non-G8 country. I’ve been following the G20 process from a distance and it’s fascinating – here’s a few reflections. The moment: the financial crisis of 2008/9 saw the G8 publicly hand over the reins of international coordination to the G20.…

By admin November 11, 2010 1

What's different about the current spate of land grabs in poor countries?

This week’s Economist has an excellent overview of the issues surrounding what it calls ‘outsourcing’s third wave’ (the first two were manufacturing and services) – deals in which foreign investors are buying up huge tracts of land in poor countries to produce food to ship back home (see map). Some highlights: Saudi investors are spending $100m…

By admin May 27, 2009 7

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

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.

By admin December 21, 2008 Off