Achilles v Ulysses and Complexity, according to the OECD

October 12, 2017
Just been browsing a new OECD book on what complexity and systems thinking mean for policy-making. It consists of ‘a compilation of contributions from a series of seminars and workshops on complexity issues over the past two years. It reflects the combined wisdom and perspectives of an internal and external network of researchers, academics and policymakers.’ The pieces are short

How Does the Aid System need to Change? Reflections from the OECD’s new aid boss

July 14, 2017
Charlotte Petri Gornitzka took over as chair of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee last October, and from her new vantage point, reflects on the necessary evolution of the aid system For the aid system, the SDGs call for transformation rather than “business as usual”. Everybody is talking the talk but how ready and willing are we to change our own

A new/better way of measuring the fragility of states?

June 12, 2015
Tolstoy opened Anna Karenina with the much-quoted line ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ Does the same apply to states? The OECD’s new report on Fragile States goes some way down that route. Instead of its past (much criticised) single dimension of ‘fragile/non fragile’, it assesses fragility across five dimensions: Violence, Justice,

Latest high level broadside on inequality – “In It Together…” from the OECD

June 5, 2015
Guest post from Oxfam inequality researcher Daria Ukhova Last month, the OECD published a new flagship report on inequality In It Together: Why Less Inequality Benefits All, continuing a series and building on the findings of the previous reports Growing Unequal? (2008) and Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising (2011). At Oxfam since the launch of our Even It

Why do countries need aid when the world is awash with capital? Latest thoughts from the OECD

October 14, 2014
I chaired the London launch of the OECD’s annual aid report last week (when it comes to flagships, the multilateral system is starting to look like the Spanish Armada – more on that tomorrow). We opted for a radical new model for such meetings: the chair keeps people to time, says where the toilets are (when he remembers) but otherwise

Reformers v lobbyists: where have we got to on tackling corporate tax dodging?

May 9, 2014
The rhythm of NGO advocacy and campaigning sometimes makes it particularly hard to work on complicated issues, involving drawn-out negotiations where bad guys have more resources and staying power than we do. Campaigns on trade, climate change, debt relief etc often follow a similar trajectory – a big NGO splash as a new issue breaks, then activists realize they need

How to fix fragile states? The OECD reckons it’s all down to tax systems.

February 25, 2014
‘Over-generous tax exemptions awarded to multinational enterprises often deprive fragile states of potential revenues that could be used to fund their most pressing needs.’ Another broadside from rent-a-mob? Nope, it’s the ultra respectable OECD in its Fragile States 2014 report. After years of growth, aid to fragile states started to fall in 2011, so the report centres around an urgent

Are international conferences getting any better? A bit – thanks to some sparky new tech

April 12, 2013
For a ‘club of rich countries’, the OECD spends a lot of time thinking about development. It’s Development Cooperation Directorate does the number crunching on aid; the OECD Development Centre publishes annual Economic Outlooks on Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, or Latin American revenue statistics. Last week I spent a couple of chilly days at its Paris HQ at

Are aid cuts inevitable and if so, what should aid campaigners do about it?

April 12, 2012

Agricultural policy, poverty and the role of the state: the OECD responds

March 17, 2012

OECD versus Ha-Joon Chang on agricultural policy and poverty reduction: I'm with Chang

March 16, 2012

Social Cohesion – there's a lot more to it than the OECD version

January 10, 2012