Stuff I Liked

A Global Carbon Tax or Cap-and-Trade? Part 1: The Economic Arguments: A great initial look at the potential differences between the ideas. C&T certainly went up in my books after reading this.

Complexity, clarity, simplicity: Storytelling in global development: I’ve battled a lot with trying to strike the balance between complexity and simplicity, this article brings out some nice caveats to help transcend the dichotomy.

How to Prioritize U.N. Goals: The MDGs were criticised for leaving too many things out, are we in danger of overcompensating in the post-2015 goals?

Economist Jeffrey Sachs Says NO to TPP and TAFTA Trade Deals: Some robust analysis of what little we do know about the TPP without the usual sensationalism.

Ten of the best collective nouns: What would the collective noun for aid workers be? Of volunteers? Politicians?

Russia cries foul over Scottish independence vote: I know this isn’t meant to be funny… but, come on: “It is normally the sort of turnout you would expect in North Korea”.



Stuff I liked

I’ve realised that if I post ‘Stuff I liked’ weekly it’s probably going to account for 70% of the posts on this blog. So these links are from the last two weeks or so:

Exposing the great ‘poverty reduction’ lie: the counter-interpretation of poverty reduction stats that anti-poverty campaigners generally like to keep hushed.

If political parties were beer…: an entertaining and impressively accurate summary of NZ political parties.

Results for the Top 5 Aid Worker Tunes are in. You won’t believe what they are! Another great crowdsourced piece on WhyDev. Even my limited experience working abroad the world many of these ring true.

Is Everyone a Little Bit Racist? Nicholas Kristof has written a number of great pieces in the aftermath of the Ferguson shootings, this was one of my favourites by him.

Scared Scientists: A great little site by the Australian Climate Council to bring the humanity out from behind climate science.

Orphanages, Latrines & Soap Powder: Changing the #PovertyDiscourse: There’s plenty of criticism of the development discourse out there, here /TheRules clearly articulate some steps to improve it.

What stuff have you liked recently?

Representative Democracy and Climate Change

After bravely sticking to his guns in the Climate Voter debate last night, Hon Tim Groser mentioned that, as a centre-right government, they have to carry forward and take into account the views of sectors of the population who are instinctively against progressive climate policies (such as a price on carbon) and some of whom even consider anthropogenic climate change as a conspiracy.

For me, this highlighted the importance of having clarity around the way in which our democracy is ‘representative’. Are officials to elected to ‘represent’ us by acting as our direct proxy in government and passing legislation only in accordance with our wishes? Or are they elected to ‘represent’ us in trust that they will make decisions to benefit the country, accepting that not every single decision would be one we might make ourselves?

I think that in NZ it’s quite clearly the latter, with some referenda along the way to infuse things with a degree of direct democracy.

Groser’s comment, however, seemed to defy this. It sounded like he was justifying his party’s feet dragging on sensible climate policy because a select (albeit important) group who vote for his party would disagree with it.

If there was ever an issue that required governments to transcend such opposition, it would be climate change. Making the hard decisions that are in the long term good of our country and planet is the noble task with which our leaders are entrusted. Their litmus test is doing so in the face of (expected) pressures from those who have short-term profit interests at stake.

Groser claims to appreciate the seriousness of the challenge presented by climate change. If so, it’s high time he remember the nature of his role as a ‘representative’ and not bet the future of all New Zealanders on an enigmatic low-emission future sheep.

Stuff I liked

I’ve decided to take a leaf out of Chris Blattman’s excellent blog by doing a brief, regular roundup of some of the stuff I read / saw / watched / listened to during past week or so (and liked). See how Chris does it here.

This week I liked…

I’d love to hear what thoughts you have on these articles or issues, as well as what stuff you liked this week.