- Rory Dillon – Development Management MSc 2012/2013
I have been wondering if our (the wider interested development community) remonstrations with UN agencies over how they could improve their projects have simply fallen on deaf ears. We have found these new approaches to measuring impact – randomised control trials or community participation – that would revolutionize the way they operated if only they would get involved. Are the UNDP, FAO and UNIDO (or for that matter Oxfam and ActionAid) simply smiling and nodding and trying to get on with ‘the job at hand’?
Posted by: March 7, 2014
Tagged with: ActionAid, aid, aid agencies, charity, Development, FAO, Food and Agriculture, impact assessment, OXFAM, UN, UNDP, UNIDO, United Nations
Faguet, J.P. 2013. Publius: The Journal of Federalism. doi: 10.1093/publius/pjt020
Bolivia is well known internationally for two things: President Evo Morales, the first indigenous president in its 188 year history, and its place at the base of the cocaine trade. But in policy circles it is also well known for something less controversial but possibly more important – a radical, sincere decentralization programme that has deepened over time as it was taken up enthusiastically by citizens at the grass-roots, and in the process appears to be transforming the country.
One of the strongest arguments in favour of decentralization is that it will deepen democracy and strengthen public accountability by taking government “closer to the people”. Bolivia recently implemented new reforms that deepen decentralization, granting further devolved powers and resources, known as “autonomy”, to departmental, regional, municipal, and indigenous and rural governments. With ample information now available from the first round of decentralizing reform beginning in 1994, and the new reforms now getting under way, it is a good time to ask: Can decentralization strengthen democracy in Bolivia? Continue reading
La historia del Estado débil, la sociedad rebelde y el anhelo de democracia
Moira Zuazo, Jean-Paul Faguet y Gustavo Bonifaz (editores)
(Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 2012)
It must be more-or-less obvious that a department specializing in international development must work in a number of languages. But the extraordinary dominance of English today in the academic, policy, and business worlds may obscure the fact that there is a great deal of thinking and research going on in developing countries today in languages other than English, and so a number of us publish in non-English languages as well.
En mi caso, español – lengua materna e idioma principal de los países en que he concentrado mi actividad de investigación. Por tanto, es un gusto especial presentar mediante este foro un libro co-editado con dos colegas y grandes amigos bolivianos, Moira Zuazo y Gustavo Bonifaz. Se trata de un trabajo de equipo con algunas de las máximas autoridades de las ciencias sociales e historia bolivianas. Analiza el tema de la descentralización, similar a otro libro publicado en inglés el mismo 2012, pero con una vista histórica mucha más profunda y detallada, con más evidencia empírica cualitativa y menos estadística que el segundo. Continue reading
Posted by: February 13, 2014
Tagged with: anhelo, Bolivia, débil, democracia, democratizacion, descentralizacion, Estado, historia, rebelde, sociedad
Alaa Tartir is a Palestinian writer and researcher who is working on a PhD at the Departent of International Development, LSE. He is also the program director of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network.
Since May 2013, there has been intense debate about US Secretary of State John Kerry’s economic plan for the occupied Palestinian territories. The plan – known as the Palestine Economic Initiative (PEI) – aims to develop the economy of the West Bank and Gaza over the next three years, as a prerequisite for a political settlement to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. However, very few of those welcoming or criticizing the plan know anything concrete about it. Hence I call it the ‘invisible plan’. On a trip to the West Bank in December 2013, I met Palestinian and international officials and diplomats who are involved directly or indirectly in the PEI. Their message was that there will not be, as many expect, a third intifada (uprising), but something very different: an ‘investment intifada’. Continue reading
Posted by: February 10, 2014
Tagged with: Area C, Development, economic plan, economics, EU, Gaza, investent, Israelm Security, John Kerry, Occupied Palestinian Territories, PA, palestine, Peace, PEI, settlement, US, West Bank
Professor Jean-Paul Faguet
Programme Director MSc Development Management
Welcome to the LSE. I don’t care what you think.
Or maybe, to be a bit more accurate, the fact that you think something is not itself very convincing. I am interested – indeed very interested – in what you think, because in some respect it is bound to be wrong. I’m here to teach and you’re here to learn. Identifying those mistaken assumptions, informational gaps, and incorrect mental models is one of our most pressing priorities. Along the way we will also identify the many correct assumptions, informational assets, and insightful mental models that you also have.
But it is important that we both understand this from the start: your opinions do not have some irreducible merit because they are yours. Nor do mine, nor do any of my colleagues’ (yes, not even that one). What does have merit is the product of our intellectual sweat, founded on solid theory and well-chosen evidence, leading to insights about how the world works that are both non-obvious and true. We’re pretty sure we have some of these at the LSE – otherwise we wouldn’t be here. But we’re equally sure that there’s a great deal that we, and the rest of the world, do not yet understand. The main point of academia – especially at the postgraduate level – is to distinguish what we know from what we don’t know, and to improve the tools we have for pushing back the darkness. In the latter especially, your help is crucial, because you are not invested in the tools and models that we currently have, and so are more likely to come up with creative new ones.
Welcome to the LSE. It’s going to be intense and frustrating at first. And then it’s going to be exhilarating. We’re delighted that you came.
Megan Dold, MSc Development Management 2012
After completing the Development Management programme in August 2012, I started a full-time job as a communications officer at the Thomson Reuters Foundation in London.
The Foundation was created in 1982 to support journalists from developing countries. Today we run a number of services – including free legal assistance, media development, and in-depth coverage of the world’s under-reported stories – to benefit diverse audiences from aid workers to social entrepreneurs. As the charitable arm of the Thomson Reuters corporation, the Foundation is somewhat unique in the development space. Instead of giving grants, it leverages the skills and expertise of the company to improve human rights, governance, transparency, and the rule of law. Continue reading
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) are pleased to offer the second LSE-UCT July School in July 2014. This innovative two-week programme provides students, graduates and professionals from across the globe an exciting new opportunity to study important social sciences issues relevant to Africa today. The programme is taught by outstanding faculty from the University of Cape Town and LSE, two of the world’s leading institutions for teaching and research
If you are interested in gaining a global perspective on the study of Africa, at the continent’s top university, in a beautiful, cosmopolitan city, we hope that you will consider applying to the LSE-UCT July School, and look forward to meeting you in Cape Town in July 2014.
For more information see the LSE Summer School page here.
What books are the International Development department staff looking forward to reading in 2014?
As the new year starts I am trying to find time to read two books published last year. The first is The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths by Mariana Mazzucato (Anthem 2013). In the recent past Mazzucato has often appeared on BBC Newsnight offering what seemed to me to be eminently sensible ideas about the condition of the British and European economies and how to get beyond the effects of the financial crisis. She is an economist at Sussex and the book looks to be a fascinating Schumpeterian take on the role of the state in making markets work in the most developed countries.
The second book, which has been in my in-tray since before Christmas is China Goes Global by David Shambaugh (OUP 2013), which is one of the most recent attempts to get a handle on China’s new thrust outward in the world, written by a leading China scholar at George Washington University.
For my bed time reading, I am very slowly enjoying Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography – a very old book, but one that provides a bit of relief from the social sciences. Continue reading
Why are land rights a growing source of tension in Africa? Professor Catherine Boone explains the complexities and discusses her latest book, Property and Political Order: land rights and the structure of politics in Africa, with Syerramia Willoughby.
Property and Political Order in Africa
Land Rights and the Structure of Politics
By Catherine Boone
Syerramia Willoughby: Why are land rights in Africa so important?
Catherine Boone: One reason is that in most African countries, between 50 and 80 per cent of the people depend on land for their livelihood and a place to live. Secondly, land rights and the rules of access and control and allocation of land are really a template for all kinds of social and political relationships in an agrarian society. Finally, many observers have observed that there is an upsurge in land-related conflict across much of sub-Saharan Africa. There is a small debate about how an increase or decrease in conflict is measured, but what we do know is that there seems to be a dramatic upsurge in visible forms of land conflict. Continue reading
Professor Danny Quah
Asia may be thriving, but it still faces real economic constraints and governance challenges. Danny Quah argues that the region needs to be understood as a whole if these issues are to be addressed.
Two-thirds of humanity is Asian. This includes the populations of not just the world’s only two-billion-people economies – China and India – but also tiny nation-states like Singapore, Bhutan and Mongolia.
As Asia is large and diverse, integrated thinking on its economic development is difficult and relatively scarce. At the same time, the continent faces both risks and opportunities that are common across its constituent nation-states. Many of these challenges can be effectively addressed only through joint effort, open discussion and co-ordinated diplomacy – and so require a shared understanding of the forces driving those risks and opportunities. Continue reading