Categories
Development Economy

Extremely ridiculous extreme poverty lines (WFP)

In a previous video post, we discussed uncertainty in World Bank data and methodology measuring extreme poverty (see What is happening to poverty? (Rammelt and Surace)). The Bank (and the UN) overestimate progress towards reaching the first Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty. In our video, we made the point that the $1, $1.25 or $2 poverty lines are extremely low (especially considering the rise in food prices). Here is a simple illustration of this point. Melese Awok, World Food Programme Public Information Officer in Ethiopia, finds out what he can buy for a dollar at a food market in Addis Ababa.

Note that Melese is using the official exchange rate ($1 = Br16 in 2011, when the video was made). However, $1 buys a lot more in Ethiopia than it does in the US. For the purposes of comparing international poverty levels, this difference in purchasing power has been accounted for in World Bank estimates of global poverty (We explain this in our video, and in our article for AIDWATCH here). In 2011, $1 adjusted to purchasing power in Ethiopia was not Br16, but less then Br6 a day (see conversion factors here). Melese should have asked: “what can I buy for $0.37?”

Categories
Development Economy Technology

How Cooperatives Show Resilience to the Crisis (CECOP-CICOPA)

In Europe, 1.5 million workers co-own their enterprises. They are called worker cooperatives, social cooperatives or participative enterprises. The documentary reveals why those enterprises show resilience to the crisis through four examples (in Poland, France, Italy and Spain).

Categories
Development Economy

The way we think about charity is dead wrong (Dan Pallotta)

A thought-provoking talk from Dan Pallotta about the profit versus the non-profit sectors. A personal reaction to his position: large charities are not always per definition better charities.

Categories
Development Economy Environment

Challenging our measure of progress (Robert Kennedy)

In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy challenged the basic way progress and well-being is measured through Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This has only become more relevant since then. See similar arguments here Economists must learn to subtract (Adbusters). An alternative to GDP is proposed here The Genuine Progress Indicator, an alternative to GDP (Ron Colman).

Categories
Development Economy

No One Eats Dollar Notes (Medha Patkar)

Categories
Development Economy Environment

Caring Economics (Riane Eisler)

Eisler discusses the need for an economic system that gives visibility and value to two life-sustaining activities: (1) the work of caring and care-giving in families, and (2) the life-sustaining activities of nature.

Categories
Development Economy Environment Technology

Debate: Food – Who Pays the Price? (TVE, BBC World, IFAD)

Food – Who Pays the Price? (October 2008) raises important questions about who produces the food we eat and how. Urbanization, climate change, changing diets in emerging economies and the impact of supermarkets are putting new pressures on the land and changing the face of farming. Meanwhile small farmers around the world are leaving the land in increasing numbers.

Categories
Development Environment Technology

Development in Bad Waters (AMRF)

A 60-minutes video documentary of an action research programme on drinking water and public health in Bangladesh, in collaboration with the Arsenic Mitigation and Research Foundation (see also an earlier documentary The Largest Mass Poisoning in History (AMRF) and a shorter 8-minutes version Arsenic Mitigation and Social Mobilisation in Bangladesh (AMRF))

Categories
Development Economy Technology

Open source hardware (Marcin Jakubowski)

Some questions that came up while watching this: Could open source hardware help achieve a greater global distribution of the means of production, for example in agriculture? Or is it going to lead to further mechanisation for the benefit of the owners of the technology, with further displacement of landless labourers? It will all depend on how they are implemented. Here are some other thoughts on an older, but in my view stronger concept, appropriate technology: Tools of Change (Amulya Reddy) and Appropriate Technology (Ernst Friedrich Schumacher).

Categories
Development Economy

The food speculator (Kees Brouwer, VPRO)

Assuming the role of a speculator, Kees Brouwer tries to find out whether he is merely taking advantage of the opportunity offered to investors by the food scarcity, or that, through this abstract world of financial products, he is drastically interfering in poor people’s lives. Here are some other videos I collected on the use of food for financial speculations: Financial speculations and the Mexican tortilla (Ecologist Film Unit)Financial speculation in food markets (The Real News)Food Speculation (OXFAM)Food Speculation (WEEDnetz). And here a reminder of what food is really for: A new future for small farmers (Paul Enkelaar, Jan Paul Smit and Manuel Reichert).