Book review of Che Guevara: The economics of revolution (2010)

Helen Yaffe’s book demonstrates how good history can make a timely and valuable contribution to contemporary debates. The socialist thought of ‘Che’ Ernesto Guevara (on top of his heroic guerrilla and internationalist role) has special relevance for the current global economic crisis and the strong resurgence of socialist-inspired ‘alternatives’ in Latin America. Continue reading “Book review of Che Guevara: The economics of revolution (2010)”

Cuban health cooperation in Timor Leste and the Southwest Pacific (2010)

Cuban doctors and their large-scale medical training program came to Timor Leste in 2004, then to Kiribati, Nauru, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands over 2006-2008. By its size and focus, this ‘South-south’ program, more than any other, is transforming the health systems of those island nations. Cuba’s ‘solidarity aid’ in health and education is famous in Africa and Latin America, but only more recently spread to the Southwest Pacific. Continue reading “Cuban health cooperation in Timor Leste and the Southwest Pacific (2010)”

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)”

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)”

East Timor, Australia and regional order: Intervention and its aftermath in Southeast Asia by James Cotton (2006)

A book review of a collection of essays on the theme of Australian policy towards East Timor with specific reference to the “turnaround” of 1999. Continue reading “East Timor, Australia and regional order: Intervention and its aftermath in Southeast Asia by James Cotton (2006)”

Widening the ambit through a change to commons (2006)

As a latecomer to the IASC I have not had the benefit of the four years discussion over a name change, but perhaps I have some of the benefits of a fresh perspective. In political economy we constantly engage with the corrosive neoliberal notions of property and privatization, so a shift in emphasis to shared institutions, common property and the commons is very welcome. Now that the IASCP has decided to delete the ‘property’ from their name, comments have been invited. Continue reading “Widening the ambit through a change to commons (2006)”

Valuation and registration of customary land in Papua New Guinea (2006)

This paper considers what an opportunity cost valuation of customary land can tell us about the pressures for land registration in Papua New Guinea. The discussion here presents a historical perspective on land registration, introduces land disputes and land markets in PNG, explains an opportunity cost valuation of land, and then suggest ways in which such valuations can help us interpret the processes of land registration. Calculations on the economic value of customary land draws on data from pilot surveys of land use in two provinces (Madang and Oro). Continue reading “Valuation and registration of customary land in Papua New Guinea (2006)”

The Howard Government, Australian aid and the consequences (2006)

In 1997 the Howard Government gave Australia’s foreign aid program a ‘poverty reduction’ focus with a ‘national interest’ link, later developing ‘good governance’ as the principal program theme. This anticipated the IMF and World Bank’s 1999 abandoning of ‘structural adjustment’ in favour of ‘poverty reduction’ programs, and build on National Competition Policy established by the previous Labor Government. Most aid moneys are now contracted to private Australia (and New Zealand) based companies, and the total aid budget has grown considerably. Continue reading “The Howard Government, Australian aid and the consequences (2006)”

Marx, method and western political economy (2004)

This paper will consider the place of Marx and method, in an attempt to identify the main avenues of enquiry in western political economy. There is controversy over the nature of political economy, and to what extent it constitutes a distinct analytical approach. Liberals, realists, institutionalists and Marxists all lay claim to various parts of this grand 19th Century tradition. I will argue that, in a practical sense, political economy has enduring relevance more by identifying broad avenues of enquiry, than through received canonical knowledge. Continue reading “Marx, method and western political economy (2004)”

A grand deceit: The World Bank’s claims of good governance in Papua New Guinea (2003)

The World Bank has attempted to deceive the people of Papua New Guinea, by representing itself as dedicated to ‘good governance’. It is in fact a representative of large, private corporate interests, which are seeking market access and profitable opportunities. A collection of nice-sounding principles obscures this simple fact. Continue reading “A grand deceit: The World Bank’s claims of good governance in Papua New Guinea (2003)”