Human development, the state and participation (2014)

Human development should be seen as a broad, emancipatory and social process, rather than the mere expansion of individual choices or ‘capabilities’. In post-colonial nations, a strong ‘human development enabling’ state is necessary to build basic human capacity, such as in health, education, shelter and nutrition; and then to promote popular participation. This requirement can be seen in a range of historical experience and is reflected in the declaration on the right to development. Continue reading “Human development, the state and participation (2014)”

Why inequality matters: From economism to social integrity (2014)

Sociologists tend to assume inequality matters, while economists often assume it does not, saying inequality generates dynamic incentives in competitive markets. Alternatively, other economists say inequality does matter; this is but mainly because it affects economic growth, which they claim to be the foundation of social progress. Meanwhile, sociologists disagree over whether inequality matters due do its violation of social justice principles, of some notional social contract, or whether it is actually undermining the foundations of a coherent and functional human society. Continue reading “Why inequality matters: From economism to social integrity (2014)”

Aid: Is it worth it? (2012)

Aid worldwide runs at more than $120 billion per year (World Bank 2011a), yet there is very little correlation between this expenditure and the often stated goal of poverty reduction. The failures of aid are legion. Yet this ‘development assistance’ has become a massive and semi-permanent global industry which in western countries is often erroneously equated with ‘development’. Nothing could be further from the truth. Aid programs, despite the stated good intentions, certain deserve some critical scrutiny. Continue reading “Aid: Is it worth it? (2012)”

Development Strategy (2012)

Since independence, Timor-Leste has formed its own hybrid development strategies, through a National Development Plan and the distinct practices of two different governments. These hybrids incorporate mixed ideas from economic liberal, developmental state, and human development traditions. Yet the language and practice of development strategy have not always matched, and both are changing. Continue reading “Development Strategy (2012)”

Economic crisis and reintegration: The emerging regional variants (2012)

What is happening to ‘globalisation’? The current multi-faceted crisis is transformational, driving deep structural changes. As Ghosh has pointed out, the growth of regionalism is one key outcome of the “contradictory dynamics of globalisation” (Ghosh and Guven, 2006). By this antithetical process, the post-war, US dominated economic order is being steadily replaced by a multipolar system with distinct trading norms, currencies and forms of integration. What will this new system look like? Continue reading “Economic crisis and reintegration: The emerging regional variants (2012)”

‘Humanitarian intervention’ in Libya (2011)

Compilation of imperial deceptions and ‘humanitarian intervention’ that led to the destruction of Libya, the country that once had the highest living standards in Africa. Continue reading “‘Humanitarian intervention’ in Libya (2011)”

Agricultural liberalisation and its ‘high risks’ for food security (2011)

Agricultural liberalisation has played an important part in preparing the ground for the sustained food crisis we face. The WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture helped increase food trade, but did not alleviate global hunger. Then, with strong food price rises, global hunger increased strongly. What responsibility is there for a process which has argued a ‘food security’ which opposes local production and promotes global exchange? Continue reading “Agricultural liberalisation and its ‘high risks’ for food security (2011)”

The case for an enhanced human development index (2009)

Twenty years after the UNDP published its first Human Development Report (HDR), it is plain that those ideas have been deeply influential and powerful. Yet, precisely because of that influence, the HDR’s Human Development Index now looks stale and in need of review. This paper argues the case for an Enhanced Human Development Index, to maintain a more coherent alternative to the Millennium Development Goals, or their successors. Continue reading “The case for an enhanced human development index (2009)”

Public vs private: Developing accessible health systems (2009)

There are two types of health systems in the world, public and privatised, though in practice virtually all national systems are some form of hybrid. Nevertheless, these two opposing models drive much of the dynamics of health systems. The best health outcomes (i.e. low preventible disease and low critical mortality rates) come from those countries which have (i) publicly funded and well coordinated systems Continue reading “Public vs private: Developing accessible health systems (2009)”

Australia’s regional interventions: The antinomies of ‘good governance’ (2007)

This paper examines the antinomies of Australian ‘good governance’: the logical nonsense of regional coerced democracy and carefully tutored economic ‘best practice’. The tension between intervention and independence in the region – particularly with respect to the recent experience of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste – is apparent in the recent Australian regional assistance missions and largely self-serving ‘good governance’ aid programs. Continue reading “Australia’s regional interventions: The antinomies of ‘good governance’ (2007)”