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Date: 2022-05-25 Page is: DBtxt001.php bk005M0000
Burgess Manuscript
Hundreds of Issues
From the book 'Hundreds of Issues that Impact Relief and Development'
Section MMM

Issue
Macro economic measurement
Basic observation
Macro-economic measurements are commonplace in the relief and development arena.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has many macro-economic measures, but while these measures give some indication of how the economy is performing, the information is totally insufficient to make informed decisions about what is best to do.
A better response
Macro-economic measures need to be supplemented by management information, and linkages identified so that policy makers can be clear about the link between relief and development expenditures and the expected progress in relief and development as indicated by macro-economic measurement.

Issue
Malaria
Basic observation
Malaria is a killer disease, one of the top three worldwide. Perhaps 500 million cases a year and about 3000 deaths of children every day. Yet it is a disease that can be significantly reduced with integrated mosquito and malaria control (IMMC).
Prevailing response
It is not clear why the international relief and development sector has failed to make malaria reduction a top priority. Though places like Florida in the USA and Darwin in Australia have been successful in controlling mosquitoes and malaria, this has not even been attempted by the RDS organizations in most poor countries.
A better response
A comprehensive integrated mosquito and malaria control initiative for Africa is one way in which a lot of health progress could be made. Reducing the death and debilitation caused by malaria has a value many times greater than the projected costs of running a modern IMMC program.

Issue
Management
Basic observation
Management is about decisions making and getting good results. Management is the organizational element that explains the difference between things that work and things that do not.
Prevailing response
Management is not much in evidence in the relief and development sector. Decisions are mainly based on bureaucratic processes with almost no concept of performance and value for money A typical behavior is to avoid responsibility and confuse rather than clarify.
A better response
Good management is about decision making that delivers high performance and sets the stage for better performance in the future. By improving management information it will be easier for management decisions to be made and for management to improve.

Issue
Management information
Basic observation
Management information is the least amount of information needed to make a good decision reliably. More information is rarely much more valuable than good, quick focuses initial information.
Prevailing response
Most data in the relief and development sector is highly aggregated data that does little to help make decisions. In the RDS, there is a low level of expertise about management information and how effective it can be in improving performance.
A better response
Management information is the information needed to make good decisions, and to ensure that performance is to an expected high standard. It is accurate, timely and low cost. It is foundation for good performance now and better performance in the future.

Issue
Market behavior
Basic observation
Market behavior is complex and rarely well understood. It is very helpful in getting a better understanding of the dynamic of the economy.
Prevailing response
There is a lot of dialog in the media about the market, but rather less discussion of the way a market behaves beyond the simple concepts of Economics 101.
A better response
In fact market behavior explains a lot of what happens within the economy of any community, and especially the behavior of individuals around economic events. Everything has its price, and this price is determined by the way a market, and supply and demand behaves.

Issue
Market economy
Basic observation
A market economy is one where market behavior is the dominant economic driver.
Prevailing response
In the relief and development sector, the market is talked about as the driver of economic activity, but it is not used much in the practice of relief and development intervention which are almost exclusively driven by some sort of administrative process with various forms of conditionality rather than economic incentives.
A better response
The market is a very powerful driver of economic decisions, and difficult to work against. A market economy with no oversight and corrective processes is unlikely to produce stable outcomes with even and just economic progress, but using market incentives and some careful intervention there can be both economic progress and high performance in the economy.

Issue
Markets
Basic observation
Markets are places where buyers and sellers come together to do transactions that are satisfactory to both. Increasingly the mechanism uses electronic information, but behavior is similar in both physical and electronic markets.
Prevailing response
In the relief and development sector there is little interest in the market, except in various narrow ways. Some institutions insist in allowing the market to be the determinant of prices, while a lot of RDS interventions require a pricing that cannot work in a market without operational subsidy.
A better response
The power of market should be used so that people are able to choose how their economic resources are used, and to give people incentive. Socio-economic progress can be built on top of market decisions, but only if the nature of the market is understand and there is adequate information.

Issue
Maternal health care
Basic observation
Maternal health is a part of women's health and especially important since it has impact on both mother and children.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector uses the emotional dimension of issues in order to attract pubic support. Maternal health has been a visible priority for RDS intervention for many years.
A better response
A singular focus on maternal health care may well be counter-productive. There are too many linkages and interactions for any tightly focused interventions to have sustainable value. In itself it is important, but solution is likely to be a multi-line intervention.

Issue
Measurement
Basic observation
Measurement is the key to good management information. If it seems to be important, make sure it is measured and then learn how it behaves.
Prevailing response
An enormous amount data in the relief and development sector are macro-data, based on surveys and statistics, but there is almost no data at the micro level based on solid accounting and performance records..
A better response
The relief and development sector needs a system of metrics that relates costs and the value of outcomes at all the various levels and entities involved with RDS. Of particular importance are metrics at the community level, and metrics throughout that address the value adding associated with RDS interventions.

Issue
Micro finance
Basic observation
Micro finance has become a positive intervention to support very small business entrepreneurs in poor economic areas.
Prevailing response
The main performance metrics for the micro finance sub-sector are number of people having loans, the repayment performance and the total money involved. These are all showing good results.
A better response
More measurement of results would be of great interest. Micro finance is only one part of the range of financial products needed for broad based sustainable development of any community. In order to get the best performance from micro finance there needs to be measures of the added value realized both for the individual and the community.

Issue
Middlemen
Basic observation
Middlemen have a critical role in any economic society. As society becomes more complex, the need for the middlemen function increases rather than decreases.
Prevailing response
Middlemen are generally described unfavorably in economic literature, but they are a big part of the economic landscape. Ironically, while RDS experts criticize middleman, the vast organizational structure of the RDS is almost totally operating in a middleman role.
A better response
By building management information that includes the value chain information, both the costs and the value of middlemen services will be more visible, and perhaps more decision making can be based on realistic information about middleman performance.

Issue
Migrant workers
Basic observation
Migrant workers have existed in various forms for thousands of years. The current migrations are in many ways more difficult than in previous years because of laws and border controls.
Prevailing response
Economic migration is very powerful. Because of the economic failure of much of the world, there is a tremendous pressure to move for better opportunities. There is also an argument that in rich countries, migrants can do the work that the more prosperous residents do not want to do.
A better response
In a free world and a market economy, then there will be migrants seeking work, and where there are low cost workers, there will be employers that will seek to use them. The challenge is to keep these situations legal and visible so that abuse does not grow in the shadows.

Issue
Migration
Basic observation
Migration has been a part of the human condition for thousands of years.
Prevailing response
Migration used to be constrained by the technology and cost of travel. This is not longer the main constraint. Now the constraint is law and restrictions on movement from one country to another.
A better response
Migration can bring cultural problems, but the problems are best resolved by attention to the situation in the countries of departure more than by legal obstacles in the destination countries.

Issue
Military
Basic observation
Military expenditures are a big source of budget crisis in the “south”, and are generally off limits for analysis and discussion.
Prevailing response
Military expenditures serve to strengthen ties between “north” and “south”, but often for the wrong reason. It is not easy to see what the “south” loses as a result of these relationships.
A better response
The value destruction associated with military activities of all sorts can be systemically analyzed and put on the record. Military power in a “south” country also delivers local political power.

Issue
Military government
Basic observation
Military government is not automatically bade government, though it is difficult for it to be democratic in character.
Prevailing response
International support for military governments has happened when it has been convenient, and some views of military government have been based on judgments that have had nothing to do with reality.
A better response
The form of a government should be less important than the performance of a government. Some military governments have operated with good respect of the people, though not all by any means. Good information about government performance should be available and this used to make judgments.

Issue
Mineral rights
Basic observation
Mineral rights ought to be a source of great value to communities where there are natural mineral resources.
Prevailing response
In most cases mineral rights have been removed from the community and now reside in the hands of either private organizations or remote government organizations controlled by the rich and powerful. The right to these mineral rights is most often of dubious provenance.
A better response
There needs to be a lot more information about the community and the minerals involved. It is a taboo subject in most places because the rich and powerful elites are prospering at the expense of the rural and un-empowered poor. International corporations are willingly implicated in these arrangements and benefit from them.

Issue
Minerals
Basic observation
Minerals are one of the drivers of the modern global economy
Prevailing response
Minerals are serving to enrich people and organizations controlled by the local and international elite, often with little or no benefit to the communities where the minerals are located.
A better response
A lot more public access to management information about the minerals sector will show how the generally prevailing value chain is detrimental to value adding in a local community and the basic fairness to all the stakeholders.

Issue
Misinformation
Basic observation
Misinformation is as powerful as good information, and much more dangerous.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector, and the world's journalists are involved a lot in misinformation, some viciously intentional, and some merely because the parties do not know any better.
A better response
In a strong information system, there are controls and there are routine validations so that wrong information is identified and flagged. An information system that has a lot of information is easier to maintain well by using cross checking. With limited information, misinformation is easier to propagate without correction.

Issue
Money
Basic observation
Money is a store of value and a medium of exchange
Prevailing response
Money has been one of the many things that has gone seriously wrong in the international relief and development arena. The money of poor countries has declined in value and aggravated already dreadful economic basics.
A better response
The basic definition may be less valid now than in the past. Money is increasingly like any other commodity, though it does have an unusual capacity to facilitate leverage in the economy and create conditions that might not otherwise prevail. But this is only true in countries where the ability to print money is allowed ... which raises questions about money having any intrinsic value.

Issue
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)
Basic observation
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is a very limited management tool even though widely used in the relief and development sector.
Prevailing response
M&E is frequently used as a key part of the management process, but it never can serve as an alternative to good accounting and management oversight systems. While donors may want independent reporting, the external M&E study and report is an expensive and ineffective way of satisfying the need,
A better response
Much of the M&E analysis done once at the end of a project should be done at the end of every month as a routine part of the management and oversight process. Key performance indicators should be understood by field staff and the organization hierarchy in time to take management action, and to pass on to donors who are interested.

Issue
Monopoly
Basic observation
Monopoly exists when one entity controls a part of the economic system. A single company supplier a critical product is in a powerful monopoly position and is able to exert undue economic power.
Prevailing response
The economic literature makes it clear that monopoly power is almost always anti-social though advantageous to the monopoly organization. It is ironic that the relief and development sector itself has been organized in a similar way with dominant monopoly organizations having a lot of control over relief and development activities an any single sector.
A better response
The challenge of monopoly and the concentration of economic power needs to be taken seriously, and strong management information developed so that monopoly behavior can be identified and the appropriate accountability established. The depth of management information easily available for this has not yet been developed, but it could be and should be.

Issue
Mosques
Basic observation
Mosques are the worship places for Muslims. Some are great landmarks of religion and architecture. Others are small. All are important.
Prevailing response
Religion and all its facets needs to be included in the analysis of relief and development performance. The RDS has tended to be economic and materialistic, and tending towards government and governance rather than also taking into count the spiritual and religious dimension.
A better response
Almost every community has a significant commitment to some form of spiritual connection. In areas that include muslins, the mosque is a center of prayer and community activity, and is normally a focal point for a lot that is good in life. These dimensions of the quality of life should never be ignored.

Issue
Multiplier effect
Basic observation
In Keynesian economic thinking, the multiplier effect is a mechanism that strengthens the economy as expenditures increase, and weakens the economy when they decline.
Prevailing response
Very little of the relief and development sector interventions have much of a link to the sort of thinking that considers multiplier impacts beyond perhaps a passing reference. Independent objective analysis of project performance shows that the end of a project results in serious negative multiplier effects.
A better response
The multiplier effect should be a key piece of relief and development sector analysis, and interventions specifically designed so that the multiplier effect is maximized. The Tr-Ac-Net community centric relief and development metrics help to make thinking about multiplier effect simple and explicit.
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From 'HUNDREDS OF ISSUES THAT IMPACT RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT'
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