‘Odd but Interesting’: Clare Short reviews How Change Happens

Clare Short was DFID’s first minister (1997-2003) and a force of nature (for example she was one of the originators of what became the Millennium Development Goals). Great when she agreed with you, pretty brutal when she didn’t. Which in the case of NGOs, was quite a lot of the time – she had the traditional Labour Left dislike of middle class, self-appointed, self-righteous dogoodery …

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When scientists protest, their placards have footnotes [h/t Bill McKibben] Are economists partly responsible for the rise of populism? Dani Rodrik argues that by abandoning evidence to become cheer leaders for globalization, they helped contribute to the backlash The Digital Divide is serious: Fewer than half of all Africans have phones; 3/4 don’t use the internet. Here’s one reason why that matters. From 2008-14, 2% …

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When scientists protest, their placards have footnotes [h/t Bill McKibben] Are economists partly responsible for the rise of populism? Dani Rodrik argues that by abandoning evidence to become cheer leaders for globalization, they helped contribute to the backlash The Digital Divide is serious: Fewer than half of all Africans have phones; 3/4 don’t use the internet. Here’s one reason why that matters. From 2008-14, 2% …

On webinars, prayer and ‘transformational development’: an hour with World Vision

I’m becoming a big fan of webinars. I can slump in front of the computer at home, slurping a coffee, give a presentation on the book (Open Access helps – no need to try and get people to buy copies, just download the pdf after the session), then sit back and listen to the ensuing conversation. On Wednesday it was 50 or so World Vision …

Why is Africa’s Civil Society under Siege?

Oxfam’s Ross Clarke (Governance and Legal Adviser ) and Desire Assogbavi (Resident Representative & Head of Office, Oxfam International Liaison Office to the African Union) introduce a new analysis of the threats to African civil society After years on the margins of the mainstream development agenda, addressing civic space is finally getting the attention it deserves. If the number of policy initiatives, conferences and campaigns …

Why is Africa’s Civil Society under Siege?

Oxfam’s Ross Clarke (Governance and Legal Adviser ) and Desire Assogbavi (Resident Representative & Head of Office, Oxfam International Liaison Office to the African Union) introduce a new analysis of the threats to African civil society After years on the margins of the mainstream development agenda, addressing civic space is finally getting the attention it deserves. If the number of policy initiatives, conferences and campaigns …

Why is Africa’s Civil Society under Siege?

Oxfam’s Ross Clarke (Governance and Legal Adviser ) and Desire Assogbavi (Resident Representative & Head of Office, Oxfam International Liaison Office to the African Union) introduce a new analysis of the threats to African civil society After years on the margins of the mainstream development agenda, addressing civic space is finally getting the attention it deserves. If the number of policy initiatives, conferences and campaigns …

What can Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and the Matrix teach us about how change happens?

Chatting to academics in the US last week, we swapped notes on the merits of using shared cultural references to convey some of the key ideas around how change happens. They act as a short cut, allowing subtle, nuanced ideas to be discussed on the basis of a large pool of common knowledge. You need to avoid the pitfalls of cultural imperialism, of course (so …

On theories of change, what are the differences between playing offence and defence?

Unsurprisingly, in this year of Brexit and US elections, I’ve been thinking about how to stop bad stuff happening. While they are doubtless desperately looking for silver linings in a year of defeats, progressive movements are likely to spend a good part of the next few years defending good things from political assault. So what is the same/different about defence and offence when it comes …

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Social Wealth Funds, publicly owned, that pursue social good & reduce (rather than exacerbate) inequality. A smart proposal from Stewart Lansley Talking of wealth, you can always rely on the FT magazine’s ‘How to Spend It’ column to answer the really pressing questions of the age: ‘when your superyacht is too small, you are no longer expected to buy a bigger one. Instead, you just …