Why is Latin America Going Backwards?

July 26, 2018
Simon Ticehurst, Oxfam’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, delves into the background of some worrying times for Latin America Just a few years ago Latin America was being lauded as a success story, with stable economic growth, political stability and historical progress in addressing poverty and finally tackling the structural and historical inequality that has stymied development in

Coalitions and Compliance: The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Patents in Latin America. Book Review.

January 18, 2018
Back in the early noughties, I was an NGO trade wonk, prowling the corridors of the WTO and having a fun time at a series of highly theatrical biannual ‘ministerials’ (Seattle 1999 (collapse), Doha 2001 (trade talks launched), Cancún 2003 (another collapse)). Over the course of those campaigns, we grew increasingly vociferous about the need for developing countries to retain

How introducing electronic votes in Brazil saved lives and increased health spending by a third

February 24, 2017
Just came across a paper which overcame even my scepticism about what often seems excessive hype around technology’s impact on poverty and human rights. Check out ‘Voting Technology, Political Responsiveness and Infant Health: Evidence from Brazil’ by Princeton’s Thomas Fujiwara. He has stumbled across one of those wonderful natural experiments that allow you to try and pin down the causal

This Sunday, Brazilians decide between two progressive women presidents. How do they compare?

October 2, 2014
Oxfam’s  country director, Simon Ticehurst (right), fills in the background ahead of this weekend’s election Some colleagues asked me this week, what is going to happen in the elections and who should I vote for? First up, prediction is not my forte. Last year in June I sent an optimistic briefing on Brazil to Oxfam´s CEO, saying that poverty was

Is Brazil’s social/economic miracle running out of steam just as the World Cup arrives?

June 4, 2014
Is Brazil’s shambolic preparation for the World Cup a symptom of a deeper malaise? Oxfam researcher Katherine Trebeck (@ktrebeck) reflects on a recent visit I bandy about the term ‘economic model’ quite a lot, usually prefaced by the word ‘broken’ in reference to the UK’s purported economic recovery. But the UK is not alone in meriting a derogatory descriptor.  In a

What do Protests in Turkey, Brazil etc have in common? Six surprising facts

June 27, 2013
Nice reflection from Moises Naim in El Pais. It was published in Spanish, so this is brought to you c/o Google Translate – took about 15 minutes to tidy up the rough edges. V impressed. “First it was Tunisia, then Chile and Turkey. And now Brazil. What do the street protests in such different countries have in common? Several things

Brazil v South Africa: what can the BRICS tell us about overcoming inequality?

March 20, 2013
The blog’s inequality week here in South Africa continues with some thoughts on inequality and the BRICS. An edited version of this post appeared earlier this week on the FT’s Beyond BRICS blog The acronym may have been cooked up in far-off New York, but the BRICS grouping of countries is starting to generate some interesting life of its own.

Is food the new oil? Fertiliser wars and Brazil as food superpower

August 30, 2010
In the Financial Times, Javier Blas gives us the back-story to the attempt by the world’s largest mining company, BHP Billiton, to buy its largest fertiliser company, PotashCorp. Suddenly fertiliser is big business: in the first eight months of the year, deals valued at $61bn have been announced by companies in the industry, a high that more than doubles the peak

Brazil’s boom; Africa’s pentecostals; food fears and more reasons to invest in health: highlights from this week’s Economist

July 6, 2010
Another bumper issue of the Economist this week. Here are some snapshots from my four favourite articles: Politics: A three page feature on Brazil, as its election campaign kicks off today. Constitutional term limits means that Lula is stepping down, despite 75% approval ratings (amazing, after eight years in office), but the country’s success means his chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff,

Successful Green Industrial Policy – Brazilian biofuels

May 11, 2010
The highly polarized debate on the role of industrial policy in development is dominated by discussions of the East Asian tigers, so good to see a discussion from another continent on what makes for successful state intervention – Brazil and biofuels. Here’s the highlights from a recent article by Tarun Khanna of the Harvard Business School and Santiago Mingo of

What can the BRICS teach us about reducing poverty?

November 19, 2009
An excellent new paper from the prolific Martin Ravallion, head of the World Bank’s research department, compares the successes in poverty reduction in three of the biggest beasts of the developing world: China, India and Brazil. Between them, these countries are home to a bit less than half the world’s poor people, but it used to be a lot more.

Brazil is top of the world on an environmental issue – recycling

January 21, 2009
I’m mugging up on green jobs as part of the research for a forthcoming paper on the need for a ‘global green new deal’ and came across this great and (to me) unexpected example from Brazil. It’s drawn from UNEP’s ‘Green Jobs’ paper. Brazil is the global leader in aluminium can recycling — some 10.3 billion cans were collected in Brazil