8 men now own the same as the poorest half of the world: the Davos killer fact just got more deadly

Duncan Green - January 16, 2017

It’s Davos this week, which means it’s time for Oxfam’s latest global ‘killer fact’ on extreme inequality. Since our first calculation in 2014, these have helped get inequality onto the agenda of the global leaders assembled in Switzerland. This year, the grabber of any headlines not devoted to the US presidential inauguration on Friday is that it’s worse than we thought. Last year it was …

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Preaching to the Converted and the Path to Unlearning: this week’s random conversations

Duncan Green - January 13, 2017

Had some interesting if random discussions this week – I work from home a lot, and then get far too excited when I actually end up in a room with interesting people.  Two thoughts (among many) seem worth capturing: Preaching to the converted: This is something we’re not supposed to do – waste of time all agreeing with each other, right? We need to get …

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A 3-fold theory of social change (and some great quotes on complexity, ambiguity and dreaming)

Duncan Green - January 12, 2017

Sometimes a paper is worth blogging about just for the quotes. Here are the best from a 2016 update of Doug Reeler’s ‘A Three-Fold Theory of Social Change’: “I would not give a fig for the simplicity on this side of complexity. But I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side.” Oliver Wendell Holmes “Whosoever wishes to know about the world …

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Is the Anti-Politics machine still a good critique of the aid business?

Duncan Green - January 11, 2017

Just been re-reading a great 6 page summary of James Ferguson’s 1994 classic critique of the aid industry, The Anti-Politics Machine. Read this and ask yourself, apart from the grating use of the term ‘Third World’, how much has changed? ‘Any question of the form ‘what is to be done?’ demands first of all an answer to the question, ‘By whom?’ The ‘development’ discourse, and …

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What is Fiscal Justice? A rationale and some great examples

Duncan Green - January 10, 2017

What is ‘Fiscal Justice’? It’s one of those campaign buzzwords that appears every so often, and Oxfam is going big on it (you’ll hear plenty about it at the impending Davos meeting, provided the media cover anything other than Donald Trump’s inauguration that week). If you want to get a sense of what it means on the ground, check out Oxfam’s ‘Fiscal Justice Global Track …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - January 9, 2017

The World Economic Forum tweeted a rather silly list of ’14 things successful people do before breakfast’. Paul Kirby reckoned ‘The secret of success must be to have breakfast in the evening’. As for trying this at home, when I try and ‘spend quality time with my family’/’connect with my spouse’ before breakfast, they turn pretty nasty……. Lots of great commentaries on the zeitgeist – …

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Book Review: Social Physics : How Social Networks can make us Smarter

Duncan Green - January 6, 2017

My Christmas reading included a book called Social Physics – yep, a party animal (my others were Lord of the Flies and Knausgard Vol 3, both wonderful). Here’s the review: Airport bookstores are bewildering places – shelf after shelf of management gurus offering distilled lessons on leadership, change and everything else. How to distinguish snake oil from substance? My Christmas reading, based on a recommendation …

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How bad is my filter bubble problem? Please help me find out

Duncan Green - January 5, 2017

In an idle moment over the Christmas break, I decided to run a twitter poll to assess the extent of my filter bubble. For any of you who’ve been on a different planet for the last few months, that’s the social media phenomenon whereby you like/follow/read only those sources that broadly agree with you, creating an echo chamber that can lead to you mistakenly thinking …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - January 4, 2017

A few links from either side of the Christmas break, to provide some initial distractions in 2017 How much does $10m in large banknotes weigh? Carrying bags of cash is (luckily) easier on the back in Davos than Caracas (h/t The Economist) Great (long read) interview with inequality guru Branko Milanovic The focus on better communicating certain ‘truths’ is misplaced: academics must improve their emotional literacy …

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How many readers? Where from? What were their favourite posts? Stats for 2016 on FP2P

Duncan Green - January 3, 2017

Hi everyone, Happy New Year and all that. Thought I’d kick off with the usual feedback post on last year’s blog stats: The blog passed a couple of milestones last year – since it started in 2008, it’s clocked up 2000 posts, 1.4 million words, and 10,000 comments (big thanks to everyone who takes the time to add theirs). Only a matter of time before …

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