Joe Stiglitz and David Hulme on ‘What have we learned from 10 years of war on poverty?’

September 8, 2010
I’m spending a couple of days at a big development conference in Manchester. It’s called ‘Ten years of war against poverty – what have we learned?’ and it’s heaving – there are about 500 people here. It’s hosted by the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, and is both a review of 10 years’ work, and a moment of transition as its

Is Growth with Equity getting old?

December 1, 2009
Growth with Equity has been one of the development industry’s overarching economic narratives for over a decade (Oxfam published ‘Economic Growth with Equity: Lessons from East Asia’ in 1998). OK, it’s better than just ‘Growth’, and where it’s been achieved, it has an unrivalled impact on poverty, but thinking has moved on in a number of areas, and G+E is

100 indicators of well-being or just one? Stiglitz v Layard

October 30, 2009
The OECD conference I’ve been attending is winding down. Lots of banquets, but not much booze, so I never had to try the hotel’s tempting room service item ‘outer leaves of cabbage broth to chase a hangover.’ What’s the takeaway (ideas rather than food)? The key debate seems to me to be over complexity. The various presentations described literally hundreds

Joe Stiglitz addresses ‘the movement’ on well-being v GDP

October 29, 2009
I’m still surrounded by the world’s statisticians (not as bad as it sounds) at the OECD Measuring the Progress of Societies conference in South Korea, where yesterday Joe Stiglitz gave a great presentation. Rather than simply rehearse the findings of his commission’s report to President Sarkozy, he reflected on why criticisms of GDP, which have been around for almost as

GDP v Well-being – the Stiglitz Commission and other news

September 23, 2009
According to Otto von Bismarck, the father of modern Germany, ‘Laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made.’ Having skimmed the report of the ‘The Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress’, commissioned by President Sarkozy and released last week, I would say GDP (Gross Domestic Product, the standard measure of a country’s

Fire brigades or arsonists? A UN debate on the economic crisis

May 22, 2009
I spoke at an UNCTAD symposium on the global crisis in Geneva this week (Oxfam’s pre-conference submission is here). A laudable attempt to get a conversation going with civil society organizations, but a classically frustrating UN event – dozens of developing country delegates mingling with NGOs and others, but any real exchange was deadened by a format of interminable lists