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How Change Happens, From Poverty to Power Lecture

How Change Happens, From Poverty to Power Lecture



Part of a series of lectures by Duncan Green, Head of Research at Oxfam GB on key issues raised in his book From Poverty to Power.

Part of a series of lectures by Duncan Green, Head of Research at Oxfam GB on key issues raised in his book From Poverty to Power.



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    How Change Happens, From Poverty to Power Lecture How Change Happens, From Poverty to Power Lecture Presentation Transcript

    • How Change Happens Lecture given by Duncan Green Head of Research at Oxfam GB Notre Dame University, September 2009Part of a series of From Poverty to Power lectures.
    • “There is nothing change permanent except ” Heraclitus 6th Century BC
    • A famous example:The abolition of slavery Half a million African slaves 1780 work on the sugar plantations of British colonies British Parliament bans the 1807 slave trade 1838 Slavery banned altogether: 800,000 slaves of the British Empire win their freedom
    • Dynamics of ChangeWaves of slave rebellion in America and Caribbean Haiti becomes first independent black republic in 1804 Individuals and Coalitions  The Anglican preacher Thomas Clarkson, MP William Wilberforce, Olaudah Equiano (ex slave). The Quakers build the abolitionist movement – the first modern campaignBritain at war with France, where Napoleonreintroduces slavery and oppose Haiti’sindependence; opposing slavery becomes part ofwar effort.
    • Some initial conclusions Many factors combine in any given change Path dependence – one change triggers another Coalitions and alliances (especially insider/outsider) can play crucial role External shocks (eg wars) often catalysts of change
    • 4 components of change Context – Technology, environment, demography, globalization Institutions – Culture, ethnicity, religion, attitudes and beliefs – Civil Service, judiciary, electoral democracy, essential services, Agents – Social Movements, elites, political leaders, private sector, media Events – Conflicts, natural disasters, political and economic crises
    • Dynamics and pathways Chaotic Cumulative and Sequential Events, tipping points and Path dependence lightbulb moments Demonstration Accumulation of effects forces
    • How Change Happens: The Chiquitanos
    • How Change Happens:The Chiquitanos 3 July 2007: The Chiquitanos win rights to 1 million hectares of traditional lands in Eastern Bolivia Until 1980 they lived in semi-feudal conditions How did it happen?
    • Components of change Context: Economic Crisis in the 1980s, leading to structural adjustment, rising inequality and crisis of legitimacy for traditional parties and trade unions Institutions: rise of indigenous identity; decentralization and agrarian reform Agents: New generation of indigenous leaders; ex-miners arrive in Sta Cruz Events: ‘lightbulb moments’ - breaking into the mayor’s office; marching to La Paz; the election of Evo Morales
    • Dynamics of change ‘Historical memory’ of colonialism and repression, but also of the 1952 revolucion Slow legal processes and move into formal politics, but punctuated by political moments and events Importance of alliances with altiplano Indians ‘Water wars’ and the fall of presidents lead to election of Evo Morales 2005
    • Is change predictable? Non-linear change = non-elephant animals at the zoo (weather, stock markets, social unrest) Planners v searchers Evolutionary change: differentiate/select/amplify a good model, but works better for markets than society Possible non-linear models of change for ’change agents’: – Solidarity – Venture Capitalism – US Marines (Afghan Solidarity Programme)
    • Final thoughts: Some problems with current thinking on change We fail to grasp or respond to the impact of shocks as generators of sudden change Focus on ‘above the waterline’ issues such as policies and laws, at the expense of attitudes, beliefs and relationships Reject (rather than understand/engage with) technology
    • Further Reading from the Blog The Global Crisis and technology long waves, www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/?p=293 Building women’s leadership: what works?, www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/?p=262 What can Economics learn from Evolutionary theory? www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/?p=115 Shocks and Change, www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/?p=8
    • Further Reading From Poverty to Power, Annex on How Change Happens, http://www.oxfam.org/fp2p How Change Happens, Roman Kznaric DFID’s Drivers of Change website, www.gsdrc.org/go/topic-guides/drivers-of-change