Poverty to Power- Talk by Duncan Green - Oxfam GB's Senior Strategy Adviser

I was invited to attend Duncan's talk at Chester University on the 29th January 2013. The lecture room was packed with a good mix of 50 people of different ages and backgrounds, and people from local environmental groups. Duncan's book From Poverty to Power contains 25 years knowledge of researching and writing about reducing poverty and combating injustice and, as he says, trying to “do justice to the complexity of the world, while still believing there is a story about how it can be changed for the better.”   He spoke about the first publication in 2008 and how he reflected on what has happened since then, when updating the book for re-publication in late 2012. I have only provided a snap shot of the talk, so do read more on the Oxfam web site.   Poverty to Power   Huge events have taken place since the first book was published, as we are now in an age of scarcity. He talked about the financial shock, food shocks and the Arab spring.  Since the last boom we have had the world financial crisis which was primarily in Europe and North America. He feels this has drawn attention to the fact the financial system is too big.   In Bangladesh families are spending 70% of income on food; his experience has found that families are living on a poorer diet rather than necessarily on less food. The climate that has traditionally been more favourable to farmers has changed, making it more difficult to produce food around the world.   He cited a trend of people on the move, the young moving into the cities. The money which migrants are sending home to support their families in developing countries is much higher than aid today. The wave of new technologies could have a huge impact on some families, for example newly developed fabrics that are stain resistant but feel like natural fibres could become more widely used than cotton in the future- this could wipe out a whole industry and the people working in it.   The income of 100 richest people would alleviate poverty 4 times over.   The IF Campaign   Duncan also asked that we consider supporting the IF Campaign. This is a huge coalition of UK-based organisations, including Oxfam, who share the vision of a world where everyone has enough to eat. The campaign has a huge ambition: to reach 20 million people across the UK with the message and inspire 5 million of them to get involved. By Helen Tandy SMHTBLOG/050214

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