Posts Tagged

development economics

On January 28, a freezing day in Bucharest, hundreds of Romanian citizens protested against a government-approved gold mining project in Rosia Montana by a Canadian corporation, Gabriel Resources Ltd. It was not the first protest against the project: as I mentioned in a previous post, anti-governmental sentiment has swept the country since mid-January, and the row over Rosia Montana is a key issue. But despite the protesters’ warnings about the environmental, cultural and economic consequences of the project, Romanian authorities seem disinterested. The project’s opponents criticise the use of cyanide (a common technique used to leach gold from extracted material) which would have a devastating and irreversible impact on the region’s biodiversity. Moreover, the mine would lead to the destruction of over …

At the end of the 19th Century, Lord Curzon, the then British Viceroy of India, described Iran and its Arab neighbours as “pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a game for the domination of the world”. The geostrategic importance of the Middle East, with its immense oil wealth, has shaped the policies of colonial empires, secured the longevity of autocratic regimes and given rise to religious elites. The ‘game of chess’, as described by Lord Curzon, promises great riches and influence for the players involved, but has often come at a huge cost for the majority of the Arab people. Indeed, oil wealth, so narrowly shared between the region’s ruling minorities, has historically presented a barrier …

Last week, Professor Rehman Sobhan, Chairman of the Center for Policy Dialogue in Dhaka, Bangladesh, visited the UN Development Programme in New York City to discuss his most recent book. I had the opportunity to speak with Professor Sobhan about the motivation behind his work and learn about the years of field research that preceded it. Challenging the Injustice of Poverty: Operationalizing an Agenda for Inclusive Development Across Southeast Asia is a culmination of Professor Sobhan’s efforts to understand the roots of economic exclusion across 5 countries over the past 4 years. At its core is Sobhan’s uncompromising insistence on identifying the source, as opposed to merely addressing the symptoms of poverty. According to Sobhan, poverty is not a social …

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a talk given by Mike Bonnano, one of the Yes Men (self-proclaimed social justice pranksters famous for impersonating the CEOs of Dow Chemical, General Electric and similar corporate giants in the international media). Bonnano spoke about the need for a “post-ideological revolution” in which we rethink the existing inequalities in income and opportunity and return to the values we all learned when we were children: simple ideas such as sharing, respecting others, and fairness. These words stuck with me, and retained their salience as I listened, a week later, to Dr. Thomas Pogge speak on the topic of  “Globalization, Inequality and the State.”  Dr. Pogge is a renowned expert on …