Preaching to the Converted and the Path to Unlearning: this week’s random conversations

Had some interesting if random discussions this week – I work from home a lot, and then get far too excited when I actually end up in a room with interesting people.  Two thoughts (among many) seem worth capturing: Preaching to the converted: This is something we’re not supposed to do – waste of time […]

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A 3-fold theory of social change (and some great quotes on complexity, ambiguity and dreaming)

Sometimes a paper is worth blogging about just for the quotes. Here are the best from a 2016 update of Doug Reeler’s ‘A Three-Fold Theory of Social Change’: “I would not give a fig for the simplicity on this side of complexity. But I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side.” […]

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Is the Anti-Politics machine still a good critique of the aid business?

Just been re-reading a great 6 page summary of James Ferguson’s 1994 classic critique of the aid industry, The Anti-Politics Machine. Read this and ask yourself, apart from the grating use of the term ‘Third World’, how much has changed? ‘Any question of the form ‘what is to be done?’ demands first of all an […]

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What is Fiscal Justice? A rationale and some great examples

What is ‘Fiscal Justice’? It’s one of those campaign buzzwords that appears every so often, and Oxfam is going big on it (you’ll hear plenty about it at the impending Davos meeting, provided the media cover anything other than Donald Trump’s inauguration that week). If you want to get a sense of what it means […]

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Book Review: Social Physics : How Social Networks can make us Smarter

My Christmas reading included a book called Social Physics – yep, a party animal (my others were Lord of the Flies and Knausgard Vol 3, both wonderful). Here’s the review: Airport bookstores are bewildering places – shelf after shelf of management gurus offering distilled lessons on leadership, change and everything else. How to distinguish snake […]

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How bad is my filter bubble problem? Please help me find out

In an idle moment over the Christmas break, I decided to run a twitter poll to assess the extent of my filter bubble. For any of you who’ve been on a different planet for the last few months, that’s the social media phenomenon whereby you like/follow/read only those sources that broadly agree with you, creating […]

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How many readers? Where from? What were their favourite posts? Stats for 2016 on FP2P

Hi everyone, Happy New Year and all that. Thought I’d kick off with the usual feedback post on last year’s blog stats: The blog passed a couple of milestones last year – since it started in 2008, it’s clocked up 2000 posts, 1.4 million words, and 10,000 comments (big thanks to everyone who takes the […]

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RIP Tony Atkinson: Here he is on our personal responsibility for reducing inequality

Tony Atkinson, one of the world’s great thought leaders on poverty and inequality, died on New Year’s Day. Combining intellectual rigour and a profound commitment to social justice, his life’s work epitomised the economics profession at its best. Here he is in the final chapter of his 2015 book ‘Inequality: What can be done?’ ‘I […]

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