05 February 2010

Development "Dream Manifesto"

Duncan Green, Head of Research at Oxfam presents his "dream manifesto" for the upcoming UK elections, restricting himself to "things that don't require big dollops of government cash." Here is my attempt at a coherent summary:

1. UK Aid - New money for climate adaptation, improve predictability and quality, untie it.

2. International action - push for Eurozone Financial Transactions ("Tobin") Tax, push for International Arms Trade Treaty, Raise development at G8 and G20, reform World Bank + IMF

3. Domestic Regulation - Increase reporting requirements for multinational companies in UK tax havens, regulate UK company behaviour abroad

4. Debt - Outlaw "vulture funds"

5. Rights - consistently condemn abuses of.

Migration is apparently a write-off.

And here's my "dream manifesto" drawing heavily from CGD's Commitment to Development Index and some recent Collier-Venables work on trade preferences.

1. Migration - Massively scaled up guest worker programme

2. Trade - Push for reform of "Everything But Arms", the EU's preferential trade policy for the least-developed countries, so that it does not include current restrictive "Rules of Origin" clauses (which mean poor countries can't just be part of the global economy and jump into the value-chain, they have to create an entire product from scratch)

3. Security - Stop exporting arms to corrupt dictatorships with poor human rights records. Britain has the highest export/GDP ratio of any rich nation.

4. Technology - Get rid of overly restrictive copyright rules which prevent the transmission of technology

5. Aid - Let's have some serious experimentation in giving aid directly to individuals. Do it with vouchers, do it via mobile phone, whatever, just do it.

Three of these; on trade, security and technology, are only difficult because they take on the interests of some major companies. And major companies have lobbying power. Who else has lobbying power? That's right. NGOs.

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