Introduction to From Poverty to Power


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From Poverty to Power is essential reading for anyone involved in change processes around the world. A new take on development for the 21st century, Oxfam International’s new book provides critical insights into the massive human and economic costs of inequality and poverty and proposes realistic solutions.

This presentation was given by the author Duncan Green presentation at the CIVICUS World Assembly in Glasgow, June 2008.

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Introduction to From Poverty to Power

  1. 1. Book image<br />Introduction to <br />From Poverty to Power: How Active Citizens and Effective States Can Change the World<br />by Duncan Green, Head of Research at Oxfam GB<br />June 2008<br />
  2. 2. Introduction title<br />Introduction: <br />The Unequal World<br />
  3. 3. What is it?<br />A book (300+ pages)<br />Spin off print and web materials<br />A ‘reflection’, i.e. not a strategy, campaign briefing or agreed Oxfam International policy position<br />Comprehensive – a ‘state of the world’ publication<br />
  4. 4. Who’s the target audience?<br />Next generation leaders and opinion formers, North and South<br />Current development practitioners, policy makers, influencers<br />
  5. 5. What’s the vision?<br />“<br />Women and men in communities everywhere who are equipped with education, enjoying good health, with rights, dignity and voice - in charge of their own destinies<br />”<br />
  6. 6. So what’s the problem? Inequality<br />
  7. 7. These children’s life chances are already shaped by their:<br />Sex<br />Race<br />Nationality<br />Parental income<br />Parental education<br />
  8. 8. Inequality is falling in some countries…<br />0<br />-1<br />-2<br />-3<br />Annual % Gini Change<br />
  9. 9. …but rising in many more<br />4<br />3<br />2<br />1<br />0<br />Annual % Gini Change<br />
  10. 10. Global inequality is obscene<br />Ending poverty would cost $300bn – a third of global military spending<br />Top 500 billionaires earn as much as the 416 million poorest people<br />Average global income is $9,500 – 25 times more than that of the bottom billion<br />
  11. 11. What’s happening with inequality? <br />
  12. 12. The answer? Redistribution<br />Of Power<br />
  13. 13. The answer? Redistribution<br />Of Opportunities<br />
  14. 14. The answer? Redistribution<br />Of Assets<br />
  15. 15. What's needed:<br />Active <br />Citizens<br />
  16. 16. What's needed:<br />Effective <br />States <br />
  17. 17. The urgency of now<br />Climate change makes development more urgent than ever<br />It means dirty growth is no longer an option<br />We need to move poor countries onto a clean growth path as soon as possible<br />If we fail, and carbon becomes either forbidden or too expensive, poor countries and communities may be stuck outside the ‘carbon curtain’ in a new Dark Age<br />
  18. 18. The urgency of now<br />“<br />Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Over the bleached bones of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: Too late.<br />Martin Luther King, 1968<br />”<br />
  19. 19. Section 2<br />Power and Politics<br />
  20. 20. Main messages <br />Rights and dignity are a crucial part of development and well-being<br />Achieving these requires involvement in power and politics<br />Ability to exercise rights requires access to essential services, information and knowledge<br />Active citizenship, including civil society organization, is essential to development<br />Democracy is beneficial on both intrinsic and instrumental basis<br />Effective states play a central role in development<br />
  21. 21. And rights are about power - Picture <br />Development is about rights<br />
  22. 22. Development is about rights<br />Rights are long-term guarantees that allow right- holders to put demands on duty bearers<br />Capabilities = rights + ability to exercise them<br />Involves crucial shift from treating poor people as ‘beneficiaries’ to seeing them as active agents<br />Rights = lawyers and scholars; development = economists and engineers<br />
  23. 23. And rights are about power<br />Power over: the power of the strong over the weak <br />Power to: the capability to decide actions and carry them out <br />Power with: collective power, through organisation, solidarity, and joint action<br />Power within: personal self-confidence<br />
  24. 24. How change happens: the Chiquitanos<br />
  25. 25. How change happens: the Chiquitanos<br />3 July 2007: Chiquitanos win title to 1m hectares of traditional lands in Eastern Bolivia<br />Lived in near-feudal conditions up to 1980s<br />Activism began on margins of football league<br />Marches to La Paz forged links with highland Indians and built ethnic identity<br />Chiquitanos elected as mayors and senators<br />Evo Morales’ 2006 election, the turning point<br />
  26. 26. First build the people…<br />Education, healthcare, water, sanitation and housing are basic building blocks of a decent life<br />Education: need improvements in both quality and quantity (esp. for girls)<br />Health: maternal mortality as example of gender and wealth-based inequalities<br />Control over fertility is both a rights and health issue<br />The state must be central to provision<br />
  27. 27. Then ensure access to knowledge and information<br />Steady improvements in access to knowledge, e.g. radio, mobiles, internet<br />Technology holds enormous potential<br />But current incentives bias R&D against the needs of the poor<br />And intellectual property rules act as a barrier to technology transfer (pharmaceuticals, biopiracy)<br />
  28. 28. And the right to organise<br />Increasing range and complexity of civil society organizations<br />Role of CSOs as catalysts and watchdogs<br />Intrinsic and instrumental benefits of CSO involvement<br />Civil society activism waxes and wanes<br />Civil society is very involved in decentralization processes<br />
  29. 29. How change happens: winning women’s rights in Morocco <br />
  30. 30. How change happens: winning women’s rights in Morocco <br />2004: Moroccan parliament approves new Islamic family code that strengthens women’s rights<br />Changes driven by Union de l’Action Feminine, working within Islam, e.g. quoting Koran<br />Counterattack from conservative activists and clerics<br />Women’s movement used insider-outsider tactics - petitions and marches to fend off conservatives<br />King formed commission which led to law change<br />
  31. 31. Property rights matter<br />Property rights matter to poor people<br />Women often excluded from full rights to property<br />Many systems of property rights, e.g. customary law<br />Role of property rights in development: important but not a panacea (de Soto) and can have negative impacts<br />
  32. 32. The importance of land reform to equality and growth<br />
  33. 33. Democracy works<br />Spread of democracy was a feature of the 20th century<br />Democracies<br />Produce more predictable long run growth rates<br />Produce greater short term stability<br />Handle shocks much better<br />Deliver more equality<br />Democracy in many countries is ‘exclusionary’, with flawed party systems and patronage politics <br />But for most people remains the ‘least worst’ alternative<br />
  34. 34. Corruption is often linked to natural resources<br />Corruption is both a cause and effect of poverty<br />Impact on development varies (10% v 100%)<br />Active citizens can curb corruption, while rich countries and corporations must also put their houses in order<br />Natural resources can undermine the social contract between state and citizen<br />But some countries have managed natural resource wealth well (e.g. Botswana, Malaysia)<br />
  35. 35. States are at the heart of development (and growing in importance)<br />Nation states play a core role in providing essential services, rule of law, economic stability and upgrading<br />Weak or absent states are often worse than bad ones, but can be turned around, often after a ‘shock’<br />Looking at East Asian tigers, successful states:<br />Govern for the future<br />Promote growth <br />Start with equity <br />Integrate with the global economy, but discriminate <br />Guarantee health and education for all <br />Taxation is central to the citizen-state relationship <br />Globalization and orthodoxy make building effective states harder<br />
  36. 36. Dilemma: are Effective States compatible with Active Citizens?<br />
  37. 37. Dilemma: are Effective States compatible with Active Citizens?<br />Aka would you rather be poor in China or Bolivia?<br />Nation builders are often undemocratic<br />But selection bias excludes states that are now developed<br />Autocrats often fail and civil society is less tolerant of ‘benevolent dictators’<br />Democracies:<br />Produce more predictable long run growth rates<br />Produce greater short term stability<br />Handle shocks much better<br />Deliver more equality<br />
  38. 38. Section 3<br />Poverty and Wealth<br />
  39. 39. Main messages<br />Orthodox economics must be expanded to incorporate environment and unpaid work<br />Markets, and poor peoples’ involvement in them, are evolving rapidly, raising new threats and opportunities<br />Redistributing power in markets is essential to reducing inequality and overcoming poverty<br />Redistribution is not the only issue: effective states are needed to generate growth where it benefits poor people most, provide infrastructure, and build national technological capabilities<br />
  40. 40. Economics for the 21st Century<br />Orthodox economics and its indicators (income GDP etc.) lead to biased policies and blind spots in crucial areas of poverty and inequality<br />A new economics of human sustainability must address:<br />Environmental constraints and sustainability <br />Non-monetary economics, e.g. unpaid women’s work<br />Weighting policies and outcomes for equity<br />Focus on well-being, not just income<br />
  41. 41. Economics for the 21st Century<br />
  42. 42.
  43. 43. Making agriculture pro-poor<br />Small farmer based agricultural growth has led to take-off in Viet Nam, India, etc.<br />Requires both Effective States and Active Citizens acquiring power in markets <br />Active Citizens: producer organization, consumers<br />Effective States: access to credit, investment, pro-poor technologies<br />Good news: commodity prices, biofuels (perhaps) and shift to low carbon production<br />Challenges: supermarketization; outmigration<br />Dilemma: food v feed v fuel – can we have all 3?<br />
  44. 44. How change happens: winning ‘pond rights’ in India<br />
  45. 45. How change happens: winning ‘pond rights’ in India<br />Fishing ponds crucial to 45,000 families in Bundelkhand<br />Technology change (new fish varieties and stocking) prompted a new wave of seizures by landlords<br />Protests got support from state government for fishing cooperatives – basis for mobilisation<br />Dirty tricks and some violence were a turning point<br />NGOs brokered relations with police and politicians<br />100 ponds now under fishers’ control<br />
  46. 46. Decent work<br />
  47. 47. Decent work<br />Several trends are driving up inequality<br />Flexibilization and rise of the informal economy<br />Downward pressure on labour rights<br />Incorporation of women brings mix of costs and benefits<br />What needs to change:<br />Rebuild and change trade unions<br />Reform supply chain management<br />Recognize role of unpaid work<br />
  48. 48. Private sector, public interest<br />Private firms create jobs, buy and sell to the poor, pay taxes and generate externalities<br />The human impact of any firm is firstly determined by sector, but within that different firms can choose to be more or less pro-poor <br />TNCs differ from large national firms on linkages, technology, capital flows and employment<br />Active Citizens ensure the private sector benefits the poor (trade unions, consumer organizations)<br />Effective States need to regulate and refocus attention on SMEs and national capital<br />
  49. 49. Trade and development<br />Trade is booming<br />Trade can be a crucial tool in overcoming poverty<br />Rigged rules and double standards<br />Official story in conflict with evidence on trade liberalization:<br />Some liberalization-led take offs in agriculture<br />In manufacturing protection and state-led industrialization is the norm<br />Liberalization as an outcome not an initial condition<br />Rise of China could change the script, by overcoming commodity trap and kicking away the ladder from other developing countries<br />
  50. 50. Average annual growth 1990-2005<br />
  51. 51. Making growth work for development<br />Growth has always been central to development – redistribution on its own seldom works<br />But growth is becoming more disequalizing and less effective at reducing poverty<br />So how to make growth work for poor people? <br />
  52. 52. How change happens: Botswana<br />Should be a basket case: small, arid, land-locked and dependent on diamonds<br />Instead is Africa’s most enduring success story – GDP per capita is up 100x since 1966<br />Reasons include traditional inclusive governance system, leadership, hands-on role for the state, lucky timing on diamonds and good use of aid and technical assistance<br />
  53. 53. Section 4<br />Risk and Vulnerability<br />
  54. 54. Main messages<br />Risk and vulnerability are central to the experience of being poor <br />Shocks reinforce each other and have long-term impacts on health and well-being<br />Real (human) security lies through a combination of empowerment and protection by effective, accountable states<br />But the concept of security has been devalued by the war on terror<br />
  55. 55. Causes of vulnerability<br />
  56. 56. Causes of death worldwide<br />
  57. 57. Social protection is spreading<br />Social assistance and social insurance<br />One of most effective ways to reduce vulnerability, esp. for the chronic poor (elderly, disabled etc.)<br />Response to failure of targeted safety nets and food aid<br />Social protection bridges gap between emergencies and development – challenge to Oxfam<br />South Africa, Brazil arguing for universal basic income guarantee – could it work at a global level?<br />
  58. 58. How change happens: India’s employment guarantee scheme<br />
  59. 59. How change happens: India’s employment guarantee scheme<br />All rural Indians are now guaranteed 100 days work a year<br />Grew from activist legal campaigns in Rajasthan and spread of ‘rights consciousness’<br />Congress adopted scheme in 2004 election manifesto, not expecting to win<br />Sonia Gandhi and activism were crucial to ensure implementation after the election<br />
  60. 60. Finance and vulnerability<br />
  61. 61. Finance and vulnerability<br />Access to credit, insurance and savings are critical in coping with shocks<br />Microcredit is booming and going commercial, and is now being followed by other microfinance<br />8 out of 10 borrowers are women, with very high repayment rates (98% according to Grameen)<br />Has microfinance been oversold? Indebtedness, repayment burden and ‘forced borrowing’ <br />
  62. 62. Hunger and famine<br />
  63. 63. Hunger and famine<br />Until current price crisis, hunger stuck at 850 million, but famine deaths have fallen<br />Hunger reflects power and inequality - 400m people in developing countries are now obese <br />Undernourishment in foetus and infancy are particularly damaging<br />Dealing with hunger relies primarily on self reliance and effective accountable states <br />Current crisis driven by switch to meat, biofuels, climate change, oil prices, and possibly speculation<br />
  64. 64. Health and maternal mortality: one woman dies needlessly every minute<br />A woman’s risk of dying ranges from one in seven in Niger to one in 47,600 in Ireland<br />Children who have lost their mothers are up to ten times more likely to die prematurely<br />More progress on other health issues, e.g. access to water and sanitation, immunization, life expectancy<br />‘First world’ ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are on the rise<br />Answer lies in investing in public health systems<br />
  65. 65. Pandemics such as HIV will persist, but can be contained<br />Illness and death drives individuals and families into poverty <br />At societal level, pandemics can set development back decades<br />New ‘zoonotic’ diseases may follow HIV in years to come (e.g. avian flu, SARS)<br />Active Citizenship is particularly important for diseases that have no cure, like HIV<br />Political leadership can make or break response (Brazil v South Africa)<br />Global collaboration showed effectiveness in case of SARS outbreak of 2002/3<br />
  66. 66. How change happens: the Treatment Action Campaign<br />
  67. 67. How change happens: the Treatment Action Campaign<br />TAC is an organization of HIV positive people in South Africa<br />Led a campaign against big pharmaceuticals in court cases of 2001, then moved on to South African government, demanding access to antiretrovirals<br />Used legal challenges, official participatory structures, outsider tactics and alliances<br />Partial progress in changing government policy<br />
  68. 68. Natural disasters<br />Deaths have halved over last 30 years (to 200 a day) due to risk reduction such as early warning systems<br />Natural disasters highlight inequality– hit poor countries and communities hardest<br />Disaster preparedness and risk reduction require Active Citizens and Effective States<br />Improving ‘downward accountability’ is a priority<br />
  69. 69. Climate change is already hitting poor countries and people<br />Rich countries created the problem; poor countries/communities will be worst hit through drought, floods, disease and falling agricultural yields<br />Impacts already occurring (e.g. for pastoralists)<br />Helping victims adapt will be essential whatever happens on reducing GHG emissions (mitigation)<br />Will also mean ‘climate proofing’ existing development programmes<br />This requires technology transfer, self organization, diversifying livelihoods and effective state support <br />i.e. climate change means that good development becomes more urgent than ever<br />
  70. 70. Conflict is both symptom and cause of poverty and inequality<br />Violence, poverty and inequality are interwoven – against women, crime, abuse by authorities, civil war<br />Progress on gender-based violence through legislation and women’s organization<br />After bloody 20th C, post Cold War has left rump of 30 ‘poverty conflicts’ mainly in Africa<br />Conflict = failure of politics, but some have acquired economic logic of their own<br />Active Citizens: self organization to reduce conflict<br />Effective States: including providing livelihoods for ex-combatants<br />
  71. 71. Dilemma: shocks and change<br />History shows that shocks and their aftermath are crucial ‘moments of opportunity’ for change <br />But when shocks hit, outside ‘change agents’ like Oxfam either leave or go quiet!<br />How could we change our response to shocks in order to promote positive change as well as humanitarian relief?<br />
  72. 72. Section 5 <br />The International System<br />
  73. 73. Main messages<br />International system must do more of some things, less of others. This includes:<br />More attention to governance of global public goods and bads, including climate change, migration, taxation, and knowledge<br />‘Stop doing harm’ on issues such as trade, arms trade, corruption, climate change<br />Support national development processes, by backing Active Citizens and Effective States<br />Democracy and accountability in global institutions<br />
  74. 74. Global governance growing but no overall plan. Ideally, role includes:<br />Regulating the global economy <br />Co-ordinating big countries (e.g. via G8)<br />Redistributing wealth, technology, and knowledge <br />Averting environmental or health threats <br />Avoiding/managing war<br />Preventing powerful countries or corporations from harming weaker and poorer ones <br />Protecting the most vulnerable<br />Changing attitudes and beliefs <br />
  75. 75. World Bank and IMF<br />25 years of adjustment-based lending are coming to an end (thankfully). IFIs are at crossroads<br />Failure and eclipse of Washington Consensus, but<br />Bank has changed more than the Fund<br />Washington changed more than ‘the field’<br />New direction should involve:<br />Focus on global public goods<br />Separate policy advice from lending<br />Return focus to rich country policy failure<br />Reform institutions (starting with the bosses)<br />
  76. 76. Finance<br />
  77. 77. Finance<br />$3 trillion crosses borders every day (100 x trade)<br />Finance most volatile form of cross border flow and least suitable for rapid liberalization<br />Financial crises becoming deeper and more frequent, usually followed by massive bailouts, ratcheting up inequality<br />Capital controls can be useful tools, but are being pegged back by BITs, RTAs<br />International action is needed to reduce tax evasion/avoidance (est. $385bn per year)<br />International taxation (e.g. carbon, arms, Tobin) and global tax institutions could raise $, or agree global floor on corporation tax<br />
  78. 78. Trade: rigged rules and double standards <br />Prevalent in 5 areas: barriers, subsidies, forced liberalization, intellectual property, and migration<br />Global focus on WTO has hidden growing importance of RTAs and BITs with ‘WTO plus’ clauses<br />Paralysis of Doha is a symptom of shift to multi-polar world v mercantilist negotiating<br />Trade realities remain more important than trade rules<br />TNCs have imbalance of rights v responsibilities<br />
  79. 79. Intellectual property: knowledge protectionism<br />IP = patents, copyrights, and trademarks <br />A developed, innovating “North” and a developing, imitating “South” makes knowledge flows crucial<br />Balance between encouraging innovation and spreading knowledge destroyed by TRIPs<br />In 2005, developing countries paid out $17bn in royalty and licence fees<br />TRIPS keeps medicines expensive<br />Biopiracy is widespread<br />Replace TRIPs with an access to knowledge convention?<br />
  80. 80. Migration<br />A common and effective response to poverty<br />The last great protectionism (along with knowledge)<br />Those who do migrate face barriers and mistreatment<br />Current remittance flows to developing countries = $240bn – poverty reduction and protection against shocks<br />Objections are often misplaced, but a political minefield<br />Best option: enhanced temporary migration<br />Do we need a World Migration Organization?<br />
  81. 81. Harnessing the transnationals<br />Privileges and powers but few responsibilities<br />Growth driven by changes in business, technology, and politics<br />Concerns include value chains, labour rights, extractive industries, and corruption<br />Good progress at UN and sectoral level, e.g. anti-corruption conventions<br />Disputed progress on ‘corporate social responsibility’<br />Rise in southern TNCs e.g. in telecoms, mining, forestry, infrastructure<br />
  82. 82. Aid<br />Successes: Marshall Plan, take-off countries, EU structural funds<br />Altruism, hubris, and self interest<br />Turnaround since 2000, but donors backtracking on promises and serious quality problems <br />How can aid support development?<br />Do: fund watchdogs, fund long-term, support state capacity, put government in the driving seat, ensure downwards accountability<br />Don’t: impose conditions, support parallel systems, and poach staff<br />
  83. 83. How change happens: the Gleneagles agreement<br />
  84. 84. How change happens: the Gleneagles agreement<br />2005 G8 a high point for aid campaigners: leaders agreed to raise aid levels by $50bn by 2010 and deepen debt write-off<br />Despite subsequent backsliding, still an important statement of intent<br />Combination of government (e.g. Commission for Africa) and civil society activism (Make Poverty History and celebrities)<br />Repetition important at G8 (cf. climate change)<br />Tsunami and London bombings were factors<br />
  85. 85. Dilemma: is aid like oil? <br />Impact on <br />Policy (conditionality) <br />Institutions (transaction costs, paying the piper) <br />Politics (severing the social contract)<br />How big is the political deficit, and how can good aid overcome it?<br />
  86. 86. International NGOs<br />Growth and shift from project to advocacy, and from national to global<br />3 main functions: implementers, catalysts, partners<br />Major challenges: <br />Accountability<br />Relationship to local activists and NGOs<br />Funding/profile driven<br />Relationship to the state<br />Make the UN look streamlined…<br />Being sucked into service delivery<br />Too cautious<br />
  87. 87. Climate change: a global problem needs global solutions<br />Mitigation involves combination of standards, subsidies and taxes<br />Kyoto II = key global governance event in coming years<br />Adaptation funding also vital, Oxfam estimates $50bn a year needed<br />Concerns on carbon trading as main response<br />
  88. 88. Adaptation funding responsibilities<br />
  89. 89. Dilemma: are there environmental limits to growth?<br />Increasing environmental constraints on growth have profound implications for economic policy and the battle against inequality <br />Carbon intensity of growth and its efficiency in reducing poverty and inequality will become more critical <br />Can the system achieve a low carbon growth model and if not, what has to change?<br />
  90. 90. Carbon intensity: falling too slowly, and has now gone into reverse <br />
  91. 91. 15 Wedge Strategies in 4 Categories<br />Billions of Tons Carbon Emitted per Year<br />16<br />Current path = “ramp”<br />16 GtC/y<br />Fuel Switching (1)<br />CO2 Capture & Storage (3)<br />Renewable Fuels<br />& Electricity (4)<br />Forest and Soil Storage (2)<br />Energy Efficiency & <br />Conservation (4)<br />Nuclear Fission (1)<br />Eight “wedges”<br />Goal: In 50 years, same<br />global emissions as today<br />Historical<br /> emissions<br />8<br />Flat path<br />1.6<br />0<br />1950<br />2000<br />2050<br />2100<br />What level of technology transfer is required?<br />
  92. 92. The humanitarian system<br />Only 6% of total aid<br />Improving but still a mess. Main failings:<br />Too little too late, but CERF is hopeful<br />Distributed according to CNN or geopolitics, rather than need<br />Too many organizations. UN particularly byzantine<br />Humanitarian aid warped by food aid – expensive, demeaning and can undermine local agriculture<br />
  93. 93. Peace and peace-keeping<br />‘Responsibility to Protect’ – an important UN achievement<br />Force should only be last resort<br />UN blue helmets up 6 x since 1998<br />Rich countries give $, poor ones give soldiers<br />Does UN need a standing military force?<br />Arms Trade Treaty needed<br />War on terror undermines peace-keeping/R2P<br />
  94. 94. How change happens: the landmines ban<br />
  95. 95. How change happens: the landmines ban<br />1997 ban treaty has led to a sharp fall in deaths. In 2005 only Myanmar, Russia and Nepal acknowledged using them and producer countries were down from 50 to 13<br />Ban rode post Cold War wave of optimism<br />International Campaign to Ban Landmines worked closely with a handful of governments, e.g. Canada, Norway, Austria, and South Africa<br />Gained momentum by moving outside UN system and insisting on total ban – no watering down<br />
  96. 96. Conclusion<br />A New Deal <br />For A New Century<br />
  97. 97. Elements of a new deal<br />Active Citizens<br />Effective States<br />A new economics<br />What role for rich countries/institutions?<br /><ul><li>Do no harm
  98. 98. Solve global problems that need global solutions
  99. 99. Support Active Citizens and Effective States</li></li></ul><li>The last word:<br />“<br />Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Over the bleached bones of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: Too late.<br />Martin Luther King, 1968<br />”<br />