An all male panel at the Global Summit for Women

The Pledge

I have resolved not to participate in a panel that does not contain at least one woman (not including the chair of the panel). Read the full post »
A Google Driverless Car

Google and the Trolley Problem

Driverless vehicles will be guided by algorithms programmed in advance. How should they weigh up the risks to the lives of other road users and the passengers in the car? A blog post in which Philippa Foot meets Isaac Asimov. Read the full post »
The roots of the Banyan Forest

Is ‘the struggle’ the baby or the bathwater?

If there is value in the process of iteration and adaptation that people and organisations go through, then might development cooperation which tries to bypass that struggle do more harm than good? Read the full post »
Boy with smallpox on his face

Is aid a waste of money?

If you add up all the aid that all OECD countries have given since they started counting it in 1960, and then assume that the only thing that this aid has achieved was the eradication of smallpox, then the whole thing would still be a bargain, costing less than half what the UK National Health Service spends on average to save a life. Read the full post »
Depressed man by a laptop, white background

Take control of your email in 2013

At the request of some of my colleagues I have written a short guide explaining how I manage my emails. If your new year's resolution for 2013 is to work a little smarter, there may be something in here which helps. Read the full post »
A young man on his way to school in Gojam, Ethiopia. 2002

Complexity and development [presentation and podcast]

My 2012 Kapuściński Lecture considered the implications of complexity thinking for development economics and development policy. This post presents an updated version as a narrated online presentation which lasts about 45 minutes. Read the full post »
Nine month old Emabet is about to receive her measles vaccination, in Ethiopia's Merawi province

What is GAVI’s business model, and what should it be?

I like GAVI (the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) a lot. Childhood immunization is a hugely cost-effective way to help people in developing countries, and GAVI does very good work helping to get vaccines to children in developing countries.… Go to to read the rest

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Spitting Image puppets of the Royal Family

Six reasons to oppose the monarchy

Most intelligent people who are not royalists also do not spend much time worrying about the monarchy. On the whole, we reckon that this is not the system that we would have chosen, but there is little to be gained … Go to to read the rest

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