Global Development Institute Blog

Global Development Institute Blog

We’re the Global Development Institute at The University of Manchester: where critical thinking meets social justice.

Measuring social injustice under climate shocks to persons with disability

Measuring social injustice under climate shocks to persons with disability

Gindo Tampubolon, Lecturer in Poverty, Global Development Institute

In his treatise on justice, The Idea of Justice (2009), Amartya Sen explains that from Hobbes through Kant to Rawls, the theory of justice is concerned principally with the task of elucidating the hypothetical social contract or ideal social arrangement under which people of diverse world views and persuasions can live together with justice. Separately, from Smith through Marx to Sen, diverse ideas abound, which share concerns with comparing how people live under different institutions and social determinants. Those ideas can then be harnessed to eliminate injustices and enhance justice.

While Rawls’ theory of justice famously leaves the discussion of disability to a later stage, the situation of persons with disabilities animates Sen’s ideas of justice, building on concepts of functionings and capabilities. The achievement of functionings such as being nourished, or being mobile or appearing in public without shame, should be the basis for comparison of how people live instead of simply relying on the accumulation of incomes or wealth. In his example, “a person with severe disability cannot be judged to be more advantaged merely because she has a larger income than her able-bodied neighbour.” Harnessed with the concepts of functionings, I shall use these ideas to measure social injustice under intensifying climate shocks to persons with disability in Indonesia. read more…

Can celebrities influence how we understand poverty?

Can celebrities influence how we understand poverty?

Isis Barei-Guyot, PhD researcher, Global Development Institute 

Influencing development

The connection between celebrities and development may not be immediately apparent, but celebrity philanthropism has come to occupy an increasingly accepted role in the field of international development. For example, it is well known that Angelina Jolie was granted the status of Special Envoy for the United Nations. Events such as Band Aid and Comic Relief have normalised celebrities being the platform through which we become aware of humanitarian issues around the world. The media is an effective way to bring the suffering we cannot see or may not have experienced to our attention, and the increasing use of the word “influencer” to describe celebrities who use social media as a platform highlights the power celebrities and the media have to shape people’s behaviour, attitudes and choices, including when it comes to issues of development. read more…

Climate change, birth weight and smartphone: handsome digital dividends

Climate change, birth weight and smartphone: handsome digital dividends

Gindo Tampubolon, Lecturer in Poverty, Global Development Institute

Climate change threatens the next generation, as young activists around the world tell world leaders insistently. The unborn are not exempt. Secular temperature rises, covering pregnancy period, have led to babies born with low weight (less than 2.5 kilograms) in America, while in India, changing rainfalls have led to increased deaths among infants under two. Mitigating this are programmes such as government workfare and community health workers supporting vulnerable young families with incomes and healthcare. Personal actions, however, can help mitigate the harm climate change visits on pregnant mothers. I look at the effects of temperatures and rainfall, daily, during pregnancy on weights of nearly 50,000 births in Indonesia in 2017 to 2019. Then I examine whether mothers’ use of smartphones modifies the effects of climate on the probability of giving birth to a baby with low weight. read more…

Insecurity and care in the time of Covid-19

Insecurity and care in the time of Covid-19

Gindo Tampubolon, Lecturer in Poverty, Global Development Institute

Brazil tops the rank of Covid-19 deaths in Latin America due, in no small measure, to the government’s response to the pandemic. The president dallies while the toll tallies. On the other side of the region, Chile, responded with some rigour. Sharing no borders with Brazil, Chile shared no hesitation in vaccinating her population at first opportunity. How does the region of Latin American fare in the aftermath of the initial wave of the pandemic? read more…

Hakainde Hichilema’s first 100 days: Continuity and change in Zambia’s New Dawn

Hakainde Hichilema’s first 100 days: Continuity and change in Zambia’s New Dawn

Hangala Siachiwena, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Cape Town, Kate Pruce, ESRC Research Fellow, Global Development Institute, and Marja Hinfelaar  Director of Research and Programs at the Southern African Institute for Policy and Research, SAIPAR

Hakainde Hichilema was sworn in as Zambia’s seventh president on 24 August 2021, after winning a landslide victory in an election held two weeks earlier. Hichilema’s party – the United Party for National Development (UPND) – also secured a majority in the National Assembly after defeating Edgar Lungu’s Patriotic Front (PF). After ten years of PF rule, Zambia’s economic and democratic credentials had been significantly eroded. Amid the Covid-19 crisis, the PF government had defaulted on a Eurobond payment after accumulating unsustainable debt. Corruption was on the rise, and democratic space had closed. Hichilema’s victory was, therefore, welcomed by many Zambians as a ‘New Dawn’: an opportunity for economic recovery and to restore democratic ideals. read more…

Building welfare states in Latin America. What about the workers?

Building welfare states in Latin America. What about the workers?

Armando Barrientos, Emeritus Professor, Global Development Institute

Welfare institutions are the product of social forces – social movements, political parties, worker organisations and their interactions. Who will build welfare states in Latin America? read more…

Building welfare states in Latin America, but which type?

Building welfare states in Latin America, but which type?

Armando Barrientos, Emeritus Professor, Global Development Institute

In response to the impact of Covid-19 on poverty and inequality in the region, ECLAC has called Latin American countries to build a welfare state, described expansively as a “welfare state that, among other things, ensures universal access to health, redistributive taxes, increased productivity, better provision of public goods and services, sustainable management of natural resources and more substantial and diversified public and private investment.” read more…

Developing Fiscal States in Africa

Developing Fiscal States in Africa

Antonio Savoia recently took part in an online panel discussion hosted by UNU-WIDER and the OECD Development Centre. The event explored Developing Fiscal States in Africa bringing together academia, policy practitioners and development partners. The panel discussion featured Kunal Sen, UNU-WIDER, Marina Nistotskaya, University of Gothenburg, Mick Moore, Institute of Development Studies, Rose Ngugi, Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis and Yuen Yuen Ang, University of Michigan

The event explored Antonio and Kunal Sen‘s ongoing research into fiscal states and builds on their earlier research into state capacity and progress towards the MDGs. read more…

Why did Rawls reject welfare state capitalism?

Why did Rawls reject welfare state capitalism?

Armando Barrientos, Emeritus Professor, Global Development Institute

In response to the impact of Covid-19 on poverty and inequality in the region, the Economic Commission for Latin America ECLAC has called for Latin American countries to build welfare states. Is this the right call?

This blog, and two that will follow, considers whether this is the right objective for Latin American countries. We begin with a critical perspective on welfare states. read more…

Corruption and innovation II: green innovations around the world

Corruption and innovation II: green innovations around the world

Gindo Tampubolon, Lecturer in Poverty, Global Development Institute

The Conference of Parties (COP) 26 and its Glasgow Pact to phase-down coal remind the world once again of the need to come up with innovative technology to adapt and to mitigate the effects of our changing climate. This amplifies the original call from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development (1987), Our Common Future, to invent new technologies as well as to innovate global institutions such as this Conference of Parties series.

Much like the Pact, which concluded with a snag (replacing phasing-out with phasing-down coal), green technology to tackle climate challenges can also be restrained in its gestation. Based on the experience of 206 European regions, I wrote in a 2018 blog that corruption hinders green technology innovations as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The evidence suggests that less corruption allows more green technology innovations in Europe. read more…

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