The study and practice of international development has generally referred to the differences between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries. Growing inequality between developed and developing states during the 19th and 20th centuries presented a clear task; to address the challenges faced by a relatively synonymous poor people living in poor countries.
But for the last 30 years inequality between countries have been steadily reducing, yet our development challenges remain greater than ever. Our analysis of the new geographies of 21st century development (recently published in Development and Change ), highlights the need for a shift away from the idea of ‘international’ development, recognising a new form of ‘global’ development. read more…
GDI Lecture Series: Political economy approach to collective action, inequality and development with Prof Bill Ferguson
On Wednesday, 29 November, Prof Bill Ferguson, Grinnell College, delivered a lecture entitled ‘a political economy approach to collective action, inequality and development’. This lecture was the Annual Adrian Leftwich Memorial Lecture presented with the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre.
You can watch the livestream below. You can also listen to the podcast below read more…
Effective States and Inclusive Development’s Dr Pablo Yanguas engages Grinnell University’s Professor Bill Ferguson in a thought-provoking discussion about the role of economics in both creating and addressing collective action problems. Bill, the Gertrude B. Austin Professor of Economics, delivered this year’s Adrian Leftwich memorial lecture on a Political Economy approach to collective action, inequality and development. Having begun his career as a neighourhood community organiser in Seattle, Bill believes that, “Economics is fundamentally a social science. It’s fundamentally an attempt to understand human behaviour,” and is a strong advocate for rethinking the way the discipline is understood and taught – in order to deepen its contribution to addressing social ills like poverty and inequality. read more…
The fact that I have written a grand total of 7 posts for my own blog in the entirety of 2017 is a testament to the madness that this year has been. Good madness, I must say. None of that Lovecraftian “things-man-was-never-meant-to-see” stuff. But madness anyway. And as I emerge from a cocoon fashioned out of draft chapters and reports, taking up blogging again seems like the perfect New Year’s Resolution for the month of December.
So I will start with my main takeaway from 2017: writing about the politics of development for different audiences is not an easy thing to do. I have always prided myself in being able to talk politics with almost anyone, anywhere. But writing semi-cogently is a different challenge altogether, as this year has shown me with the clarify of a punch to the face. Here are four translation tasks that I have had to deal with, and the realization that has come out of the experience. read more…
Prof Diana Mitlin spoke to Jack Makau (Director of Slum Dwellers International in Kenya) and Joseph Muturi (community leader, activist and Coordinator of the Kenyan Slum Dwellers Federation) when they were visiting Manchester to guest lecture on GDI’s innovative “Citizen Led Development” course. They discuss the challenges faced by slum dwellers, such as the lack of secure tenure rights, access to basic services and threat of violent evictions – and how community organising and activism is allowing people living in informal settlements to effect change and make their voices heard. Jack and Joe also talk about building partnerships with city and national government, collaborating with researchers to quantify the ‘poverty penalty’ in Mukuru, and not putting too much hope in politicians.
The United Nations has a specialist unit to measure and monitor progress on provision for water, sanitation and hygiene, the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP). JMP’s regular progress reports are an essential stocktake that enables us to assess the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. Unfortunately they are often congratulatory rather than critical, leading to complacency rather than action. This is particularly true of the 2017 report and its discussion of affordability.
To recap, the Millennium Development Goal 7 called for halving (by 2015) the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. It did not mention affordability. SDG 6 mandates the world to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water, and access to adequate and equitable sanitation by 2030. Affordability is mentioned in the context of water, and implied for sanitation. But sadly, the goal’s indicators do not require measurement of the costs and access. In the context of extreme poverty and commodified basic services, consideration of affordability is critical. Adequate access without affordability is meaningless and risks making us believe that SDG 6 has been achieved when it has not.
She was cited for “challenging established premises in economics and the social sciences by using an innovative gender perspective; for enhancing the visibility and empowerment of rural women in the Global South; for opening new intellectual and political pathways in key areas of gender and development.”
Last month, Dani Rodrik, Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University, paid a visit to Manchester to talk about his most recent work and share his views on the current state of affairs in the world. The Harvard professor had a busy few days at the Global Development Institute, delivering the GDI Annual Lecture, a Masterclass for PhD students, a workshop with our academics and was interviewed for the GDI Podcast. Dani Rodrik has been contributing to Project Syndicate for almost twenty years and has had his own blog for more than ten, so I am surprised he wasn’t also asked to write this blog!
The Ford Professor (and Twitter celebrity) touched on several topics that are worth discussing in depth: how globalisation gave rise to the welfare state and fuelled protectionism, how right and left wing politicians have taken advantage of ethnic and social class differences to promote populism, how economists seem to have contributed to tensions arising from globalisation even when economic theory predicted such tensions, and why the premature transition from manufacturing to services in a number of developing countries is likely to stunt their recent spells of economic growth.
In a new, open access article published in Global Networks, we argue that Southern actors and Southern end markets have more prominent roles in global trade, requiring greater attention to the existence of multiple different value chains (VCs) serving different end markets – including domestic, regional and global. A growing portion of the global South’s trade is now beyond that of the global North, as a pattern of what we call “polycentric trade” has emerged.