Transforming Humanitarian Aid with Cash Transfers: High Level Panel Report

A High Level Panel on Humanitarian Cash Transfers, which I chaired, has concluded that much more humanitarian aid should be provided as cash, rather than as vouchers or in-kind; and that this change should be used to bring about broader reforms of humanitarian aid. Read the full post »
A picture of Thomas Piketty in front of a bookcase

Why are taxes on capital income lower than taxes on labour income?

If we want to raise the share of national income going to labour, we could start by not taxing labour income more heavily than capital income. 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 »
A pair of headphones wrapped around the globe

Giving what we can [Development Drums podcast]

My guest in the latest Development Drums podcast is the moral philosopher Toby Ord.Toby has made a commitment to give away the majority of his lifetime income to charities working in the poorest countries. Read the full post »
A person in a beanie writes "never again" on a coat hanger

Doonesbury on abortion

This Doonesbury cartoon is causing some American newspapers either not to run the series, or to move them to the op-ed pages.

Doonesbury on Abortion

Go to to read the rest

Read the full post »
PALO ALTO, CA - OCT 5: Apple website pays tribute to founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, who passed away on October 5, 2011, with a photo of him on their home page. October 5, 2011 in Palo Alto, California.

Don’t waste your time living someone else’s life

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner

Go to to read the rest Read the full post »
The three "precogs" in a tank from the film Minority Report

Imprisoning people for crimes they might commit

I suspect most people in Britain think that detention without trial is a problem limited to dodgy dictatorships and Guantanamo Bay.  In fact more than 3,000 people are being held in prison in Britain on the basis that they might … Go to to read the rest

Read the full post »

How should development workers live?

Ravi Kanbur has written an interesting paper (pdf) about how he feels as someone who makes a good living from analysing and writing about poverty. Here is an extract, but it is worth reading the whole, thoughtful piece:

What is

Go to to read the rest Read the full post »

Google gets its mojo back

When Google decided to set up a censored version of its search engine in China in 2006, I was among those who criticised the company for its decision (here and here).

As well thiking it was the wrong … Go to to read the rest

Read the full post »

Is a wall to keep people out better than a wall to keep people in?

Martin Wolf in the Financial Times says he is calling for “a debate” about immigration but his article is, in truth, a thinly-veiled diatribe against immigration on the grounds that it harms the economy, the environment and society.

The most … Go to to read the rest

Read the full post »

Transplants and free riders

I’ve just watched Steve Jobs at the Apple event today. I was glad he paid tribute to the man whose liver he received, and that he called on others to register as organ donors.

But it is  less impressive to … Go to to read the rest

Read the full post »

Abortion by amateurs

The New York Times describes what happens if women do not have access to safe abortions:

Worldwide, there are 19 million unsafe abortions a year, and they kill 70,000 women (accounting for 13 percent of maternal deaths), mostly in poor

Go to to read the rest Read the full post »

Bold vs risky

Reich on Palin:

while Ms. Palin is perfectly entitled to believe that evolution is a myth, that women should be barred from choosing to have abortions, and that global warming has yet to be proven, these views all run counter

Go to to read the rest Read the full post »

One of Mr Blair’s successes

I’ve just heard Jack Straw tell the Today programme that one of Mr Blair’s great successes was to persuade the United States at Gleneagles to increase aid to Africa.

The transcript of the briefing by US officials on Air Force … Go to to read the rest

Read the full post »

Back from Lanzarote

Owen running

Two weeks in Club La Santa in Lanzarote. Feeling fitter, more tanned, and (oddly) a little heavier than when we left.… Go to to read the rest

Read the full post »

Get the wristband: I buy goods from poorer countries

I buy goods from poorer countriesFrom the Adam Smith Institute.

Brilliant.  I've asked for some.

Hat tip: Tim

Update: they arrived. Proving that even if there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is such a thing as a free wristband. … Go to to read the rest

Read the full post »

Aid works for redistribution

Much of the literature about the effectiveness (or otherwise) of aid revolves around whether aid accelerates economic growth.

But there is another purpose to giving aid: to redistribute income and consumption from rich to poor.  If aid is taken from … Go to to read the rest

Read the full post »

Are the planned increases in aid too much of a good thing?

From the Center for Global Development website:

Donor countries have committed themselves to increase aid to developing countries by 60 percent over the next five years; and larger increases would be needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals. But there

Go to to read the rest Read the full post »

The future of the internet hangs in the balance

The US Congress is currently discussing an issue which sounds rather technical and dull but which could have profound implications for the future of the internet.  If you care about whether the internet remains innovative, vibrant and open you should … Go to to read the rest

Read the full post »