Democratic accountability

by David Week on 21 June 2014

This was originally published as a comment on this page. If you look at all the political economy of the aid industry, you’ll find that most NGOs and aid researchers are today servants of government. (Disclosure: me too.) Most of these governments—even those traditionally Labor or Social Democrat—now operate under a neoliberal intellectual regime. Most […]

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The Valparaiso Workshop on Economic Solidarity

by David Week on 15 June 2014

Please pass this on if you colleagues or friends who may be interested: On Saturday 21st June, I’ll be in Valparaiso, at a one day seminar organised by Michael Bier of DUC. If you’re interested in attending, please drop me a line at Topic Originally, the topic of the workshop was how new ideas of social […]


More wicked than you think

by David Week 28 May 2014

This post is inspired by a post by Duncan Green here, in which he invites comments on an ODI working paper by Ben Ramalingam, Miguel Laric and John Primrose, which is posted here: “From Best Practice to Best Fit: Understanding and navigating wicked problems in international development.” This post may not make sense unless you read that paper. The term […]

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The fantasy of development planning

by David Week 27 April 2014

Bent Flyvberg is a brilliant analyst of big-money infrastructure projects. He’s shown through his work how large public investment projects are systematically under-estimated; he’s uncovered corruption; and he’s written a nice tract on why social science, ever since it became involved with physics envy, has failed to produce anything all that worthwhile. I like his […]

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Lessons from OLPC

by David Week 2 July 2013

The news, finally, is that OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) is falling apart. The news come via this post on OLPC News, which cites: multiple failures on project delivery poor evaluation results top staff leaving in droves. I thought OLPC would fall apart about two years ago. There were two flaws in its business model: It […]

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Beyond moralising about “poverty porn” and “profit”

by David Week 25 June 2013

Over on “KM on a dollar a day” Ian Thorpe has posted an argument about The Perils of Fundraising. Though I agree with his arguments against poverty porn, I don’t agree with his solution: that fundraising “follow” mission. This is like companies who think that marketing follows product design, otherwise known as the myth of […]

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The “developing country” double standard

by David Week 14 April 2012

This is a guest post by three authors: Tom Murphy, Carol Gallo and myself. It came from a conversation. Carol put the words together reporting that conversation, below: Once upon a time, David Week read an article in The Washington Post which revealed that Washington lawmakers not only accepted donations from contributors with a stake […]

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by David Week 20 November 2011

Okay: we don’t really need yet another of those cutesie “4D = for development” labels, but for a blog post heading, it’s acceptable. In my last post, Fad Surfing in the Development Boardroom, I took issue with those (and there are many) who think that “development” is completely dissociated from the rest of the world. […]

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Fad surfing in the development boardroom

by David Week 25 October 2011

This is a response to J’s post on Tales from the Hood, entitled: “Fail“. The title of my post comes from a book I have on my shelf: “Fad Surfing in the Boardroom: Reclaiming the Courage to Manage in the Age of Instant Answers.” Note the subtitle, which proposes that the alternative to fad surfing is […]

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Reinventing the wheel (all over again)

by David Week 11 September 2011

Because I come to development from a professional background (architecture, and through architecture, project management) I’m familiar with a pre-existing knowledge base that lies outside that industry we call “development”. As a result, I often come across areas of development assistance which appear to me to be reinventions of the wheel—in complete apparent ignorance that […]

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Don’t knock aid

by David Week 7 September 2011

This post comes from a debate I became involved with on LinkedIn. You can find that debate here. Critiques vs knocking Critiquing aid is to take a specific aspect of aid practice which could be improved, showing comparatively that it could be better, analysing the problem, and proposing solutions. Knocking aid is to enter into […]

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The other SWEDOW

by David Week 18 August 2011

SWEDOW “SWEDOW” is an acroynm for: Stuff WE DOn’t Want. It was coined by @talesfromthhood, and has spread into the lexicon, to the point where it has its own wordspy entry. Up until five minutes ago, when I researched the term, I thought that the “we” in SWEDOW referred to the recipients, as in “please […]

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