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June 2013

Can States Empower Poor People? Your Thoughts Please

Duncan Green's picture

I’m currently writing a paper on how governments can promote the empowerment of poor people. Nice and specific then. It’s ambitious/brave/bonkers depending on your point of view, and I would love some help from readers.

First things first. This is about governments and state action. So not aid agencies, multilaterals or (blessed relief) NGOs, except as bit players. And not state-as-problem: here I’m looking at where state action has achieved positive impacts. The idea is to collect examples of success and failure in state action, as well as build some kind of overall narrative about what works, when and why.

Here’s where I’m currently at:

Empowerment happens when individuals and organised groups are able to imagine their world differently and to realise that vision by changing the relations of power that have been keeping them in poverty.

The current literature suggests a neat fit with a ‘three powers’ model first proposed by our own Jo Rowlands (I think). According to this reading, power for excluded groups and individuals can be disaggregated into three basic forms:

To Boost Job Creation, Fix the Skewed Financial Sector

Christopher Colford's picture


Will any government be brave enough to let a big bank fail? (Credit: Ian Kennedy, Flickr Creative Commons)

Five frightening years after the meltdown of the global financial system – with the world’s advanced economies stuck in a painful slump – policymakers are still struggling to reinvigorate job growth. If the unemployed were awaiting some tangible initiative from this summer’s G8 summit, they were surely disappointed: Last week’s G8 summit communiqué offered only boilerplate assertions that “decisive action is needed to nurture a sustainable recovery and restore the resilience of the global economy.”

The financial fiasco of 2008 left human wreckage in its wake. An additional 120 million people worldwide were plunged into poverty at the nadir of the crisis, wiping out years of development progress. According to the World Bank's most recent World Development Report, there are now about 200 million unemployed worldwide; 1.5 billion only marginally employed in tenuous jobs; and 2 billion dropouts from the workforce.  

Media (R)evolutions: African Facebook Users in 2013

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very differently from today's, and will have very little resemblance to yesterday's.

This week's Media (R)evolutions: African Facebook Users in 2013


 

Growing role of diaspora in development discussed at the Ministerial conference in Geneva

Oksana Pidufala's picture
On June 18 -19, I attended the Diaspora Ministerial Conference on the theme “Diasporas and Development: Bridging between Societies and States” organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva. The conference was the first of its kind to serve as an international platform for diaspora ministries and representatives to discuss the role and contribution of diaspora in development policy.  The event brought together some 55 high level government officials from 115 countries with about 500 participants in total.

Is Urban Planning Necessary?

Chyi-Yun Huang's picture
During the South Asia Region workshop on "Promoting Access to Land and Housing", one underlying thread that ran through the discussions was on effective urban planning. Often, we encounter doubts on the usefulness of urban planning. While urban planning manifests in various forms, perhaps the most questionable one is comprehensive long term planning.

Prospects Daily: Developing-country stocks bounce back, US home prices continue to rise, China announces measures to ease cash crunch

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Financial Markets…U.S. Treasuries extended their losses in volatile trading on Tuesday, erasing earlier gains, after better-than-expected U.S. durable goods orders in May added to signs that the U.S. economic recovery is gaining momentum. The benchmark 10-year note yields fell 6 basis points to 2.48% in earlier trading, but they climbed back to 2.53%. 10-year yields climbed to 2.66% yesterday, the highest level since 2011.

Electric Car Craze

Nebojsa Borkovic's picture

Electric car charging in AmsterdamThe future of road transportation needs a change from the conventional system as societies move towards better resource use, driving the idea of sustainability. The future demands a move from gasoline and diesel powered cars to something more sustainable. As this reality becomes more evident, electric vehicles (EV) are sure to be a major catalyst to this movement. Getting from point A to point B is no longer as simple as hopping in a car, stepping on the gas pedal and having the pleasure of carefree driving. We are now living in a very different world where global warming and depleting oil reserves are at the forefront of many discussions and drive new technologies. The electric car could be the answer that people are looking for. Despite being on the market for many years, EVs have not been well integrated because of the lack of infrastructure and their lack of appeal to the average consumer.

3 Innovative Ways to Manage Rural Water Supply

Meleesa Naughton's picture
With 70% of the world's extreme poor living in rural areas, and improved water access still lacking for close to 768 million people around the world, investing in safe and sustainable drinking water for rural populations is important to our goal of eradicating extreme poverty within our generation.

When compared to urban water supply, rural areas present a different set of challenges:

Often, the cost per capita of constructing water systems is higher in rural than in urban areas, due to a smaller population which is scattered over a large area. This, in turn, leads to high operating costs, to be recovered by fewer users.

Most importantly, there may not always be an obvious institution to take the responsibility of managing and operating the system after construction. This institutional vacuum leads to poor collection of water fees, and ultimately to poor operation and maintenance of the rural water systems.

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