Category Archives: development

GDP is rising: Why increase economic growth if you can manipulate the GDP?

  Some measures to stimulate “economic growth” don’t address underlying economic strengths and weaknesses. Instead they are skewed in order to manipulate – or “game” – the GDP indicator. The focus on GDP becomes a perverse incentive for short term … Continue reading

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Going for Zero

This is a repost from Uneven Earth, a conversation about environmental justice.   The current approach to COP21 is not realist or moderate, but quite extremist as it postpones effective action. If we consider the real facts of climate change, … Continue reading

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Thinking fast and slow about disaster preparedness

Book: Thinking, Fast and Slow Author: Daniel Kahneman Getting back to my notes from “Thinking Fast and slow” by Daniel Kahneman, I am still amazed by the diversity of new insights the book provides on how (most) humans think . … Continue reading

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Thinking, fast and slow and the transparency agenda in development

I was reading “Thinking, fast and slow” by Daniel Kahnemann. It is a very good book. It challenges conventional wisdom and is so full of meaning that it asks for a regular reread to discover more hidden treasure. He explains … Continue reading

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The hunger games, the Paris agenda and political sciences.

I read the 3 parts of the Hunger Games trilogy in only a few weeks. A book that captivates so well its readers cannot be all bad. What amazes me most  is how “fantasy”writers seems to be better at captivating the realities of the … Continue reading

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Busan Aid Effectiveness, Power Impact Analysis and the Rights Based Approach

The use of big words and capitals in capitals I just used a title where most of the words seem to call for capitalization. It just shows how the development bingo is still in full swing, and we take ourselves … Continue reading

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Geo-engineering: ready or not, here we go

Climate change is a reality, and it means humans are in charge of the climate now. Putting carbon in the air used yo be a simple process called cooking, now it is geo engineering, as we know it changes the … Continue reading

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Development: The dictator’s handmaiden; Is bad aid almost always good politics?

I have just finished reading the Dictator’s Handbook, by Bruce Bueno de Mequita and Alastair Smith. I immediately reread some chapters. The book gives you an insight you feel you have known all along, but you just could not act … Continue reading

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Planning for collapse: making development interventions too big to fail and vulnerable to systemic risk.

The financial collapse in 2008 following the collapse of Lehman Brothers was enthusiastically prepared by the political and economical decision makers. In the 70s and 80s, in the name of more efficiency and free marked, regulations were more and more … Continue reading

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Admitting Failure: Join the Posse (Only for real Men)

I am all in favour of evolution in development practice and thinking, where normally, it is more important to cull downright dismal failures than to select only the best, as evolution needs variability to work its magic. Admitting mistakes or … Continue reading

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Markets in everything: 2021: the secondary market for development products.

Francis Watanabe is project portfolio manager for the government. He acquires development interventions on the secondary market, to add to his portfolio on early child development. Innovators, like the Gates Foundation or Oxfam, or even local governments, start up their … Continue reading

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The Sphere Project: Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response and the Poverty Line.

The Sphere standards and humanitarian efficiency. The latest edition of the Sphere Handbook was presented on the 23rd of June, and the more I read it and think about it, the more relevant I find this standard. “The Sphere Handbook … Continue reading

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Is rent-seeking effective development practice?

I must admit, I only now read “The undercover Economist”. It made me look with new eyes to the set-up of my environment: development and humanitarian assistance. It made me also look again at some behaviour of development actors in … Continue reading

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Not longer, but deeper commitments for more aid predictability

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that one of the major problems in development is the unpredictability of aid. It is taken on face value that this can be reached by introducing long-term commitments, 3-4 years, and preferably beyond. It … Continue reading

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The Fragmentation of Humanitarian Aid: Market failure leads to planning and broken networks.

Is Fragmentation a solution or a problem? One of the main reasons the donor community pushes for reform in the humanitarian aid sector is the fragmentation of the services. As an antidote for fragmentation, coordination is proposed. The conventional narrative … Continue reading

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Mainstreaming revisited

Bottom Up Thinking blogs about a “development effectiveness officer“, a person who walks around to incite people to do what they should do if they would be doing their job. It is a recurrent problem with all “mainstreaming” issues. It … Continue reading

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The Armdroids are coming

There is an interesting article at the Harvard Business review on ” The fall of Wintel and the rise of the Armdroids” . It is interesting how history repeats itself. Only a few years ago, at the start of the … Continue reading

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Data warehouse for project proposals in humanitarian assistance

I posted the following at Opendata, please, if you are a programmer, contribute: Proof of concept: Data warehouse for project proposals in humanitarian assistance: For the moment nearly every donor and every UN-agency requires project forms to be filled according … Continue reading

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A new year, a new donor budget and the fallacy of additional resources

Donor budgets are annual and modular. The legislation ruling these budgets covers normally all expenditures in all departments. This means expectations on donor flexibility are often unrealistic. While the role of parliaments in poor countries might be taken into account, … Continue reading

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Sunday Paper – New Years’ edition

The Best Dishes of 2010 – NYTimes.com – The 15 best things The Times’s restaurant critic ate in New York City in 2010. Enjoy! Iraq Encounter – Watching a Faith Healer at Work – NYTimes.com : Patient-focused treatment impresses an … Continue reading

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