How Buddhist Tax Accountants and Whistle Blowers can change the world

Duncan Green - June 10, 2016

Max Lawson is back again (he seems to have more time to write now he’s Oxfam International’s policy guy on inequality) to discuss tax morality and a bizarre encounter with a Buddhist accountant A few years ago I went on a hiking holiday with a number of people I didn’t know, and ended up befriending a tax accountant.  He was a very nice man, who had been …

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Where have we got to on adaptive learning, thinking and working politically, doing development differently etc? Getting beyond the People’s Front of Judea

Duncan Green - June 9, 2016

Props to Dave Algoso (left) and Alan Hudson at Global Integrity for making the effort to compare and contrast 9 different initiatives that are all heading in roughly the right direction in reforming aid Aid, development, and governance practitioners increasingly recognize that change happens through iterative processes (trying, learning, adapting the approach taken, and trying again) as opposed to the linear assumptions that underpin much of …

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How does Change Happen in China?

Duncan Green - June 8, 2016

The honest answer is of course that I have no idea. Given China’s size, complexity, opacity and the language barrier created by being a non-mandarin speaker, a week of meetings and conversations can only leave a string of vague and often contradictory impressions. But here they are anyway: Is China’s development complex or complicated? The standard account of China’s extraordinary transformation is of a triumph …

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What’s happening to inequality in China? Update from a visit to Beijing

Duncan Green - June 7, 2016

Spent a fascinating few days in Beijing last week, at the invitation of Oxfam Hong Kong. The main topic was inequality, including a big seminar with lots of academics (NGOs are very research-based in China – it was a graphtastic, PhD-rich week). Here are some of the headlines: Income Inequality in China is changing fast. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Gini index …

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First inequality, now neoliberalism: how many statues are left to kick over outside the IMF?

Duncan Green - June 6, 2016

Max Lawson, now Oxfam International’s policy guy on inequality, shares his newfound love for an old foe Last week the IMF published an article in its magazine that caused a considerable stir around the world.  Entitled ‘Neoliberalism: oversold?’ the short piece by Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri, all from the Fund’s Research Department, questions whether the economic approach of neoliberalism has been taken …

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The 2016 Multidimensional Poverty Index was launched yesterday. What does it say?

Duncan Green - June 3, 2016

This is at the geeky, number-crunching end of my spectrum, but I think it’s worth a look (and anyway, they asked nicely). The 2016 Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index was published yesterday. It now covers 102 countries in total, including 75 per cent of the world’s population, or 5.2 billion people. Of this proportion, 30 per cent of people (1.6 billion) are identified as multidimensionally poor. The …

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Community Philanthropy: it’s a thing, and you need to know about it

Duncan Green - June 2, 2016

  Guest post from Jenny Hodgson of the Global Fund for Community Foundations It’s almost always the same argument. Or excuse. Governments joining the accelerating global trend of restricting civil society at home like to claim that they are protecting their country against meddling “foreign powers”. No one has to like, or agree, with that point of view in order to take it seriously, and …

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Conference rage and why we need a war on panels

Duncan Green - June 1, 2016

Today’s post definitely merits a vlog – apologies for quality (must get a decent camera) With the occasional exception (see yesterday’s post on Piketty), my mood in conferences usually swings between boredom, despair and rage. The turgid/self-aggrandizing keynotes and coma-inducing panels, followed by people (usually men) asking ‘questions’ that are really comments, usually not on topic. The chairs who abdicate responsibility and let all the speakers …

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Thomas Piketty on inequality in developing countries (great, but still not enough on politics)

Duncan Green - May 31, 2016

I heard econ rock star Thomas Piketty speak for the first time last week – hugely enjoyable. The occasion was the annual conference of the LSE’s new International Inequalities Institute, with Piketty headlining. He was brilliant: original and funny, riffing off traditional France v Britain tensions, and reeling off memorable one liners: ‘meritocracy is a myth invented by winners’; ‘It’s difficult to be an honest …

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Links I Liked

Duncan Green - May 30, 2016

The grim power of data: heat map of migrant deaths and cemeteries in the Mediterranean since 2014 [h/t Max Galka] The IMF (or at least its more thoughtful parts) continues to startle old lags like me used to denouncing it as irredeemably ‘neoliberal’. The latest issue of its flagship magazine, Finance and Development, includes a glowing profile of Dani Rodrik (uber critic of the Washington Consensus) …

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