Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Development and economic justice

Some children I met in a village in southern Malawi
As I pass the half way mark of my PhD, I decided it was time to set up a blog as an outlet for my thoughts on the issues that I focus on in my work. This way I can also hopefully respond to others who are working on similar topics elsewhere in the world. While sometimes it can seem quite daunting, I often find that it is through writing, debate and discussion that we really get to know what our true thoughts are.

It was during my undergrad that I realised I the only sector I wanted to work in was that which we call "international development". I think a range of things led to that decision, including the courses I'd taken in International Political Economy, African Politics and a particularly inspiring course on Ethics in World Politics by Prof. Nick Rengger. It was in this latter module that I started reading work by Peter Singer, Thomas Pogge and John Rawls. I still challenge people to read Singer's work, such as The Life You can Save, without being moved by the power of his simple logic. On an aside, this has since got me interested in the work of organisations such as Giving What We Can and The Life You Can Save.

Back to the story... After my undergrad I realised that the only job that would keep me satisfied would be one in the realm of international development. After working for a few years in a African development charity, I then decided that I wanted to pursue a career in "development policy" (whatever that meant).

Since then, I have been doing things to build up the skills and knowledge to one day be able to say something useful and informed about difficult decisions that politicians have to make it low-income countries (you'll note if you follow this that I have a big problem with the continued use of the term "developing country", though more on that at a later date). I'm still not entirely sure where I'm heading, but at least for now I know that I'm on the right track.

So, what to expect in these blogs? Well, I'm aiming to avoid any updates about what sandwich I had for lunch. However, you may get posts on books I've read and think worthy of mentioning. I don't envisage posting very often but I just wanted to create a place where I can put together my thoughts on issues of relevance to the title of this blog. Those and also things relating to sub-Saharan Africa - the region that has captivated my interest for the past 10 years or so.

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