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Date: 2019-06-20 Page is: DBtxt001.php bk005A-Z



T.P.BURGESS MANUSCRIPTS
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Issue
Academia
Basic observation
The academic community can be a valuable source of research, analysis and understanding. They are also associated with the lack of practical performance in the relief and development sector.
Prevailing response
The academic agenda is implicated with the lack of performance in relief and development. To a great extent study of humanitarian relief and development has been framed by an academic mindset and little seems to have emerged that gets tangible equitable results.
A better response
The academic community, particularly in the global south, is a huge resource. There needs to be effective vehicles that translates what is known into practical results. The academic community in the “south” can catalyze the global academic community to everyone's benefit.

Issue
Accelerator effect
Basic observation
Keynes described the accelerator effect in macro-economic analysis. Changes in investment impacts economic performance, especially employment and productivity.
Prevailing response
Relief and development sector strategy reflects little thinking about the accelerator effect and its impact on socio-economic performance. This is an indicator of the selective analysis and lack of rigor that pervades RDS analysis.
A better response
The accelerator effect can be very valuable in “jump starting” community development. Development investment should plan for the impact of accelerator both as period investments grow and also as they decline.

Issue
Account codes
Basic observation
Account codes are the foundation for easy powerful analysis. They should be absolutely logical and reflect sound accounting principles.
Prevailing response
Accounts codes are not on the leadership agenda anywhere, even though they are critical to building powerful and easy analysis capability. The IMF work in this area is academic more than it is practical and not easy to use.
A better response
Increasingly a standard set of analytical codes should be used for accounting and socio-economic development analysis. The development of standards should be an organic process and the result absolutely logical.

Issue
Accountability
Basic observation
Accountability is the process that holds people in an organization responsible for their decisions and the results being achieved. It is key to management and high performance in organizations.
Prevailing response
There has been huge growth in the dialog about accountability over the past 20 years, but the underlying systems to deliver meaningful accountability have changed little. The systems produce very little data can be used for accountability and performance analysis.
A better response
Accountability is a key USE of accounting. Accountability - holding decision makers and management “responsible” for their decisions and their actions is needed to improve performance. It will be most easily achieved in partnership with the public and all the legitimate stakeholders.

Issue
Accounting
Basic observation
Accounting is the most basic of management tools, but also one of the most powerful. It is simple accounting that provides the definitive measure of financial performance, especially in corporate organizations.
Prevailing response
Accounting in the Relief and Development Sector (RDS) is weak. There is little use of analytical accounting for RDS management and accounting systems are incapable of being used for much meaningful analysis.
A better response
Accounting is the most basic management tool. Pre-1960, modern analytical accounting was rare, but it is now so commonplace that it is taken for granted. The norm should be for good accounting to be everywhere, with organizations readily sharing their performance information for the guidance of the public.

Issue
Accounts
Basic observation
Every organizational entity and every activity should have accounts. They can be simple, but they must be complete.
Prevailing response
Accounts in most of the ORDA community are based on cash based systems, which usually incompletely reflects the accounting transactions, and the reporting is weak.
A better response
Accounts are an essential and basic foundation. They should be complete recording all value transactions, and should be the basis for good analysis and good reporting.

Issue
Adult education
Basic observation
Adults should have the opportunity to learn, either to catch up or to learn incrementally.
Prevailing response
The ORDA community recognizes the need for and the value of adult education, but it has rarely been adequately funded.
A better response
A sustainable community can integrate adult education into the portfolio of priority activities that are funded within the community. In general adult education can be expected to have a high return.

Issue
AIDS
Basic observation
See HIV-AIDS
Prevailing response
A better response

Issue
Air Pollution
Basic observation
Air pollution has been a bad bye-product of industrial economic development and the use of energy.
(see also global warming)
Prevailing response
Tremendous resistance to reducing air pollution because of its cost and the profit impact. Horrible pollution allowed where automobiles clog city streets in the “south”
A better response
A broader advocacy for air quality is needed, including air quality ratings in “tourism” advertising. The link between air pollution and global warming should be more on display in the media

Issue
Agricultural inputs
Basic observation
Ready supply of agricultural inputs: fertilizer, seed, insecticides, etc. as well as labor and energy are needed for agricultural success.
Prevailing response
In most of the poor rural areas of the global “south”, agricultural inputs are in short supply. Farmers cannot afford them, and the present productivity of agriculture does not justify their use. A typical catch 22 of failed development.
A better response
Techniques for facilitating use of adequate inputs must be developed. This might best be done within the community and with community based organizations. A systemic approach is needed to get out of the catch 22 of failed agriculture.

Issue
Agriculture
Basic observation
Agriculture is highly productive in the “north” and mainly subsistence in most of the “south”. Without improving productivity in agriculture there will always be relative poverty in rural communities in the “south”.
Prevailing response
In many places there has been “investment” in support of subsistence agriculture. A lot of actions have removed initiative from the farmer and the community to organizations that have cost a lot and then failed to deliver anything of value.
A better response
The farmer and the community have a vested interest in success. Many small initiatives that are priority from the community perspective can change performance and productivity. Community needs efficient access to resources that are needed to improve performance and their results.

Issue
Airports
Basic observation
Airports are critical infrastructure.
Prevailing response
Airports are expensive and often a drag on the economy. Airports get funded in part because of the “prestige” and the willingness of donors to be associated with them.
A better response
Airports are needed, but the cost of the airport is not justified for the limited use that is normal and its role in the local economy. How can the airport be used to drive more economic activity like, for example, tourism, conference business, fast freight and so on.

Issue
Armed intervention
Basic observation
Armed intervention ought to be a last resort, but it should be an option.
Prevailing response
The use of armed intervention has rarely come at the right time ... it is usually too late and is needed because all forms of governance have failed and violence is already dominating society. Too often, armed intervention is used clumsily and without adequate cause.
A better response
A modest show of force before violence and chaos has taken over is a better way ... but to support the goals of society rather than to suppress the freedom of society. Armed intervention should be more possible where there is abusive government and leadership and the rights of the population have been totally ignored.

Issue
Arms trade
Basic observation
The scale of the modern international arms trade is huge. It serves to destroy value in a lot of counties while enriching the organizations that design and produce the equipment.
Prevailing response
The arms trade puts on display a massive failure of leadership and business ethics. “National Security” is used to justify expenditures on development and production of weapons and ammunition, but it is more about making money and playing politics and the consolidation of power and control.
A better response
The arms trade is difficult to stop because many powerful political and corporate people benefit. Much more information about the arms trade needs to be easily accessible so that leadership and the decision makers can be held accountable, especially as it relates to the killing and mayhem that military systems facilitate.

Issue
Assets
Basic observation
Assets are things of value that are recorded on a financial balance sheet according to generally accepted classifications.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector mainly uses government type cash basis accounting that is very weak in its accounting and control of balance sheet items. Public institutions that use cash based accounting have poor control over their assets, and overall financial control is sadly weak, which facilitates corruption.
A better response
Assets are a critical metric in a good comprehensive management information system. The purpose of economic activity is usually to increase the value of the assets in the company or community. Understanding assets and economic behavior that increases the value of assets is a key to socio-economic development performance.

Issue
Audit
Basic observation
Audit is a process that confirms that an accounting system is working right and the reports are correct.
Prevailing response
Audit does little more than to provide a check on the accountants, the accounting system, and the financial reporting. It is a limited exercise, and totally unsuited to be used as a substitute for good accounting. Few of the senior people in the relief and development sector seem to understand an audit cannot substitute for good basic systems and analytical accounting. Audit merely confirms that leadership failed to take accounting seriously and did not do its job.
A better response
The effort being used on audit after the fact should be put into improving the underlying accounting and the routine reporting, both internal and external. Audit should simply ascertain and then certify that everything is OK. If the audit cannot do that, then all responsible leadership within the project, the implementing organizations and the disbursing institutions should be called to account.

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Issue
Balance Sheet
Basic observation
A balance sheet, together with profit and loss account and cash flow statement comprises a basic financial statement set.
Prevailing response
Balance sheet accounting does not exist in the cash basis accounting used by most governments and the relief and development sector. As a result, it is very difficult to get useful financial information about relief and development performance.
A better response
The balance sheet is a very powerful tool for the measurement of relief and development performance, just as it is vital in the financial analysis of corporate performance. Balance sheet concepts can be used as a major metric for the accounting of relief and development performance at various levels from the family and community to organizations, sectors and nations.

Issue
Banking
Basic observation
Banking services are critical in the economy and have been from early times. Money, in particular, facilitates economic transactions.
Prevailing response
The banking and financial services sector has not been a priority in the relief and development sector. There has been development neglect and private market driven services have largely withdrawn from most of the poor communities. Meanwhile, major international banks do service the elite and the corporate community and facilitate the movement of large amounts of money with little constraint, oversight or transparency. The banking sector has become very profitable while its level of service to all but its richest clients has deteriorated.
A better response
Banking services need to be everywhere. Transaction costs need to be low enough so that affordable pricing is profitable. This is possible with modern ICT based financial systems. The banking and financial sector needs external public accounting and analysis so that its value chains are better understood, and there may be a need to introduce regulatory controls to limit banking institutions from profiting at the expense of the clients and the public.

Issue
Big “pharma”
Basic observation
The pharmaceutical industry has scientific strength, but the business model that has evolved seems to favor stockholders over society.
Prevailing response
There are a lot of critics of the “big pharma” corporations because of the appearance of putting profit ahead of people. There is a huge polarization between the critics and the corporations, and very little appreciation of the totality of the issues.
A better response
Better knowledge about the investments being made by “big pharma” in research, and the costs that have to be incurred to bring a product to market would result in more appreciation for the corporate position on pricing ... but also the corporations need to be held accountable for their lack of interest in using their available knowledge to solve major health problems in developing countries.

Issue
Bill of Rights
Basic observation
In a modern civilized society, people can reasonably expect that a set of “rights” exist and will be respected.
Prevailing response
Too often, however, “rights” are limited to an elite group of people rather than ALL people. Instead of resulting in a better world, the result is exactly the reverse.
A better response
Rights are talked about as applying to all people, and this needs more and more to be made a reality. Information systems should be mobilized to make this a reality. The government and leadership in countries where peoples' rights have been seriously abused should be sanctioned in an effective way, such as be losing all international recognition and having national sovereignty suspended.

Issue
Bio-diversity
Basic observation
The planet is a complex ecological system, and its biology is amazingly diverse.
Prevailing response
Leadership has bio-diversity low in its priorities. Yet loss of habitat and the encroachment of development means species are disappearing at an increasingly rapid rate.
A better response
Development needs to be accelerated but in ways that also help maintain bio-diversity. Community level development may be a way to encourage socio-economic progress and implement programs to protect bio-diversity, as for example, thorough eco-tourism.

Issue
Book-keeping
Basic observation
Book-keeping is the basis of good accounting, but is usually relegated to a back room with little attention from the organization's leadership.
Prevailing response
Book keeping is not highly regarded nore understood by experts in the relief and development sector. The failure of World Bank experts to appreciate the critical work done by accounting clerks and book-keepers helped to make corruption endemic in many poor countries. High level discussions about planning, financial management, computerization, etc. completely missed the critical support needs.
A better response
Leadership needs to make a big deal about the quality of book keeping and ensure that it is done well. Good accounting is the best line of defense against financial mis-management in all its forms. Getting record keeping done on time with all transactions recorded correctly is the best way to solve the problems of bribery and corruption and will also produce better management information.

Issue
Bribery
Basic observation
Bribery is the practice of paying for favors or influence. The recipient is often an official with some ability to speed up the process or otherwise be helpful. It is practiced at both the petty level where amounts are small, and on a grand scale where the amounts are very large.
Prevailing response
The issue of bribery and corruption has been identified for years. Until the late 1980s, the issue was not admitted at all by the major actors in the relief and development sector. At the World Bank, in the 1980s, it was impossible to talk or write about corruption. “Officially” ... bribery and corruption did not exist. It was only later, around 1990 that the World Bank and others started to talk about the problem.
A better response
But the relief and development sector needs to go a long way further. It is not sufficient just to talk about bribery and corruption. There have to be strong actions to make bribery and corruption and unacceptably expensive alternative to fair and honest political and business transactions. For this to happen there needs to be strong efforts in both the accounting and in the legal enforcement areas.

Issue
Budget (in private business or an NGO)
Basic observation
The budget as more a piece of the planning system.
Prevailing response
In the corporate world the budget is part of a process that helps to optimize profit performance. In the NGO community the budget is the funding available for a relief and development intervention and frequently driven by donor limits.
A better response
The budget can be a very powerful tool for performance in any organization, but only when it is designed for planning and subsequent measurement and feedback and includes both the income, revenue or benefits as well is simply the costs.

Issue
Budget (in government)
Basic observation
The budget in government is the authorization by the legislature to spend funds. It is a result of a process of planning and negotiation that culminates in a legislative act.
Prevailing response
The ORDA community and its development experts have paid little attention to the “budget” situation in poor countries where the resource flows are insufficient for the country's government to function
A better response
The budget of a poor “south” country should be a key information element for development analysis, and easily accessible. Government level programs should all be consistent and compatible with the budget.

Issue
Business abuse
Basic observation
Abuse in the business world is not new, it has existed in one form or another for a very long time. It is a product of greed and human nature.
Prevailing response
It is possible that business abuse has increased in scale during the past fifty years. In part this is because the scale of economic activity has increased, but it is also a result of singular attention to “numbers” without paying adequate attention to the underlying ethics of the organization.
A better response
Business leadership sets the tone, and where it is clear that ethics in the organization are secondary to making the numbers, abuse will flourish. Good leadership and good accounting are strong antidotes to business abuse. Also real transparency serves as a catalyst for sound corporate behavior.

Issue
Business education
Basic observation
Business education has grown over the past several decades. As a result more business managers understand the financial dimension of business than in past years.
Prevailing response
A business education in conjunction with a technical or professional training is very valuable. A business education that is not grounded in other specialties is limited, and business education without ethics is potentially dangerous.
A better response
A business education can be very powerful in conjunction with other disciplines such as engineering, accounting or law. It is also of reat value when aligned with strong ethical values. But business education should go beyond the corporate result and also address the social issues and the value dimensions of social investment.

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Issue
CBOs
Basic observation
Community Based Organizations (CBOs) are organizations where the main stakeholders are part of the local community.
Prevailing response
For several years there has been a euphoria over CBOs and a simplistic view that CBOs would be the silver bullet that would improve relief and development sector performance.
A better response
A CBO has the potential to be a very useful piece of a relief and development framework that is cost effective and effective, but this potential will only be realised if the CBO has good goals and is well managed. A CBO also needs appropriate support and oversight. Steps also are need to ensure that a CBO is not used to faciltiate unethical conduct.

Issue
CCMs
Basic observation
Country Coordinating Mechanisms have been invented to facilitate the management of resources of the GFATM
Prevailing response
The CCMs were set up to facilitate the planning of health interventions for funding by GFATM. The methodology was invented by GFATM in response to the need for better transparency and accountability. This was a bad idea reflecting ongoing reluctance to use national systems for decision making and for resource management and control.
A better response
There is a Ministry of Finance for the management and control of government resources, and a Ministry of Health to coordinate health interventions. Fix the system and use it, and make sure that the system works by appropriate internal and independent oversight. Find out where there are good people, and chase out the bad.

Issue
Capacity
Basic observation
Capacity is a challenge, but the problem aggravated because of faulty strategy, planning and priorities rather than being a fundamental problem. Organize to use the capacity that is available.
Prevailing response
Capacity as a constraint has been addressed by massive programs of technical assistance and training over many years, but almost all in the government, the public sector and in marginal SMEs.
A better response
Capacity as a constraint needs to be addressed by recognizing what works and building on it. The culture and the economic environment require hard thinking about how best to do things with the people who are available and the training and experience they have.

Issue
Capital
Basic observation
Capital is an essential element of any economic system.
Prevailing response
Capital has been demonized by both adherents of communist ideology and by many not for profit advocates. Meanwhile owners of capital have used capital to become more powerful than is healthy.
A better response
Capital should be brought into the mainstream of development activity so that profit derived from capital can be used to improve the wealth not only of an elite but also the poor at the bottom of the pyramid.

Issue
Capitalism
Basic observation
Capitalism and the capitalist system has proved to be a system that creates wealth.
Prevailing response
The present global system is allowing capital to create wealth, but in ways that have a marginal impact on the world's poor at best, and in some cases have a damaging impact.
A better response
A global relief and development strategy can be established that makes wealth for everyone. The system already works for the wealthy and highly skilled. The poor also must get opportunities to make their own wealth doing things that are needed in their own communities, and are within their capacity to do.

Issue
Capital investment
Basic observation
Capital investment is, arguably, a big determinant of future economic performance. It is expenditure that has a lasting value, a value that last several periods.
Prevailing response
Capital expenditure is not specially accounted for in the normal accounting of cash basis government accounting, and the sort of analysis that would identify durable value is not at all commonplace.
A better response
Capital expenditures should be clearly accounted for using generally accepted principles of accrual accounting. Capital expenditures should be encouraged and should be expected to deliver a long term flow of benefits to the society and the economy.

Issue
Capital Markets
Basic observation
Capital markets are where capital can be accessed. Many different financial instruments have been created to makeit possible for wealth to finance development.
Prevailing response
Capital markets have done rather little to facilitate relief and development. The system has been used by World Bank and the regional development banks to help finance development, but it is on a small scale compared to the funding of global corporate enterprise. The creation of local capital markets has been cosmetic and marginal.
A better response
Capital markets need to be given the opportunity to invest in relief and development and to have success. A start must be made to document success in relief and development so that decision makers in capital market want to become involved and make money building a sector of the global economy that presently has no economic status at all.

Issue
Cash Flow
Basic observation
Cash flow is essential to pay bills on time and to keep any operation functioning.
Prevailing response
In too much of the relief and development sector cash flow is derived from donations (grants) that do not have to be economically justified. Sustainability is ofter thought of in cash flow terms that are at odds with value adding sustainability.
A better response
A strong management accounting framework integrates balance sheet, operating accounts and cash flow into a comprehensive whole. Cash flow must be adequate to keep the bills paid, but it is the value equation that truly is the determinant of sustainability.

Issue
Change
Basic observation
Change is not easy, and much change is not progress. Changing a name is cosmetics, not change.
Prevailing response
From time to time there has been big and important change. The end of “empire”, the advent of the internal combustion engine, flight, antibiotics, micro-systems for information, and a host of others. Good change is often delayed because it is not easy, and the powerful want to control it.
A better response
Change can be facilitated by using what technology makes possible to make benefit for people at all strata of the global economy. But changes is always opposed by groups that are challenged by change, and especially the powerful who may lose their positions of influence.

Issue
Child Labor
Basic observation
Child labor was a feature of economic life everywhere until the modern industrial era emerged in the 19th century.
Prevailing response
Child labor has been reduced in rich countries and is illegal, but it is commonplace around the world where poverty and hunger and failed society and economics prevail. It is probably growing as a global problem, but is being substantially ignored.
A better response
Child labor facts should be cumulated and reported so that there can be action and accountability. A lot of low cost products and services depend on child labor, but the facts are kept out of the media. The problem needs information transparency and increased ethical responsibility on the part of business and society.

Issue
Children's Rights
Basic observation
In modern civilized society children have rights, that should be sacrosanct.
Prevailing response
But children in the modern world of failed development are often the object of all sorts of abuse. They are an economic asset and are used in many ways that are obscene including sexual exploitation, child labor, as child soldiers. Some children get opportunities, but not by any means all.
A better response
Children should be able to grow up in communities where it is possible to have a decent life, with access to health and education, social institutions and economic opportunity.

Issue
Church
Basic observation
The Christian Church has become a big ethical factor around the world in 2000 years ... not all good, but better than a non ethical world might have been.
Prevailing response
There are many dimensions to the Christian Church, and too much the Church has emerged as a divisive factor in the organization of society.
A better response
There is a huge potential for the Church to embrace a culture of peace and love and to encourage an ethical basis for society and the global business economy. The idea of peace and goodwill to all people is central to Christian behavior, and would be good for everyone.

Issue
Civil Society
Basic observation
Civil society is a relatively new term, referring to the public, NGOs, etc.
Prevailing response
There is a clamor for civil society to have a greater role in determining the policy of organizations such as the World Bank, UN and others. Civil society has emerged as a new forum for advocacy.
A better response
Civil society has the potential to be the driver of relief and development by being the facilitator of a people centered process for relief and development activities.

Issue
Clothing
Basic observation
Clothing is one of the basics of human society
Prevailing response
The textile industry is an early piece of the industrial revolution and in many countries the first industry to emerge as development progresses. A lot of overcapacity and a lot of competition and global regulation.
A better response
Textiles, and clothing are both basic and the foundation for a fashion industry. Manufacturing and trade in textiles has a lot of potential to be a valuable part of sustainable development progress.

Issue
Cold chain
Basic observation
Many modern medicines need to be transported and stored at a low temperatures in order to maintain their safety and effectiveness.
Prevailing response
Trained medical personnel around the world know about the need for a cold chain to preserve the low temperatures of medicines, especially vaccines. But in spite of this most poor countries have dysfunctional cold chains and drugs are compromised.
A better response
The cold chain problem cannot be solved in a vacuum. It should have a high priority within a broader reform of the economic foundation for the health sector. Almost everything needed to have success in the health sector is at risk because of the underlying financial constraints and poor allocation of scarce resources.

Issue
Communications
Basic observation
The modern technology of communications is one of the wonders of the world. It is amazing and continues to develop.
Prevailing response
There is a big infrastructure need to support modern communications technology, and this is being provided mainly using a model that maximizes profit for decision makers, investors and regulators.
A better response
Communications infrastructure and the deployment of the technology should also include decision making where what is best for relief and development and socio-economic progress. Communications can be of huge value in disseminating information

Issue
Communism
Basic observation
Communism was a popular system of organizing society for many countries in the 20th Century. Eventually it proved to be an economic failure.
Prevailing response
The cold war and the idealogical competition between communism and capitalism dominated the post WWII 20th century. Eventually communism proved to be an unsustainable economic system, especially when it needed to support a huge military apparatus for security, both internal and external.
A better response
The end of communism and the collapse of the Soviet Union was not a win for capitalism, but more a loss for communism. This is worth remembering, because while capitalism does create wealth more effectively than communism, it does not necessarily use wealth in the most valuable way for society as a whole.

Issue
Community
Basic observation
Community has been ignored by ORDA organizations. Lip service is paid to community and participative processes with rapid visits by experts. Most communities have seen very little of development importance in past sixty years. A vast missing link in the development process .
Prevailing response
A growing amount of “participative” development assistance, but the process is still controlled by the donors and the “top” of the socio-economic hierarchy
A better response
Community Centric Sustainable Development (CCSD) puts the community at the center of economic progress. It builds on the idea that not only “all politics is local”, but that “all living is local”. A key part of CCSD is using a set of metrics to measure activity cost and the related values within the community.

Issue
Community finance
Basic observation
There is no community finance agenda in the ORDA world with the exception of microfinance
Prevailing response
Community finance is not presently on the agenda of the ORDA community. To the extent that finance is being considered it is usually bigger and rarely linked directly to any community initiative.
A better response
Community finance products are key to success in relief and development. Financing adds value when it is used to do something that results in enduring value, and especially a sustained increase in productivity. This is most needed at the community level where local people do valuable things for themselves.

Issue
Conditionality
Basic observation
Conditionality is the practice of attaching conditions to an activity. It is a common practice with loans and grants from the donor community.
Prevailing response
Conditionality is widely used by the World Bank, IMF and the international financial and donor community in connection with the financing of poor countries. While some conditions may be reasonable, a lot have served to ensure that economic performance in poor countries will remain disastrous.
A better response
There needs to be a lot of objective analysis of information about conditionality and the impact on poor developing countries. This is not easy, but it is likely that some conditionality has worked well and other conditionality has been a disaster. Much more needs to be known and understand about factors that go beyond the conditionality to other factors.

Issue
Conferences (see also workshops and seminars)
Basic observation
Conferences are either a way of sharing information and networking, or a social event and perhaps a reward for performance
Prevailing response
The ORDA community uses conferences to share information and to highlight issues of concern. But they have acquired a life of their own and are an end in themselves, often costing a lot and not building much durable value.
A better response
Do value accounting on every conference. Use much more alternative methods of sharing knowledge such as the Internet. Limit conferences to those that are justified by value adding potential.

Issue
Conflict resolution
Basic observation
Conflict resolution is a process in great demand because of so many conflicts.
Prevailing response
The existence of many conflicts has created a demand for conflict resolution and ways to mitigate the destruction associated with conflict.
A better response
Conflict resolution is a band aid, and an example of too little and too late. What is needed is process that reduces the amount of conflict before conflict every starts, This can be done, but tends to be sidetracked by the established controllers of power.

Issue
Consensus
Basic observation
Consensus, or having broad agreement is highly desirable.
Prevailing response
Surprisingly little in the global system seems to have much component of consensus. More it appears that “my views” and “my advantage” is the only one that matters and I win if I have the power, no matter what it does to everyone else.
A better response
Consensus is difficult when many many different agendas have to be reconciled ... and perhaps impossible at the global level. But there are ways at a community level, for example, to get more agreement and consensus so that there is very much more socio-economic progress.

Issue
Constitution
Basic observation
Useful to have the framework for law and government and governance written down
Prevailing response
Constitution is a big issue in media and intergovernmental relations. It is given a lot of attention and done in high profile manner and in haste.
A better response
Better to take a lot of time, and make it a process that is organic rather than driven by procedure and timetable. Better also to address in parallel with many other important societal and economic issues

Issue
Constraints
Basic observation
Constraints on successful relief and development are everywhere.
Prevailing response
Constraints have been evident in the relief and development sector for decades, but rather little has been done to remove constraints and move on to success. The same problems are constraining progress in bk005 that were problems 20 and 30 years ago. This is nonsense.
A better response
A solution oriented relief and development sector would have removed many of the old constraints so that some success could be achieved. If something fails, do not do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Go for good goals, but start doing it in a different way.

Issue
Consultation
Basic observation
Consultation is almost always regarded as something that should be done in order to get the best results.
Prevailing response
But it is often consultation in form rather than consultation in substance. The World Bank is part of a lot of consultation, but arguably very little of the feedback to the WB in these consultations is taken into consideration in policy formulation and decision making
A better response
Consultation can be very powerful and very efficient. Good consultation makes it possible for small teams to make use of a lot of knowledge that is otherwise difficult to access. Good consultation makes it possible to avoid mistakes. Good consultation is usually a win win for everyone.

Issue
Consultants
Basic observation
Consultants should be experts and a source of good information about a problem to be addressed
Prevailing response
But too often consultants merely give feedback that is based on what the client wants to hear rather than what is best for the problem to be addressed. It is not easy to face up to the reality that the honest feedback is not going to result in repeat business.
A better response
In the ORDA community consultants need to have alternative work opportunities so that they are not constrained totally by the main ORDA institutions. The conventional wisdom, largely wrong, dominates the consulting space because this is what the ORDA organizations are willing to pay for.

Issue
Cooperatives
Basic observation
Cooperatives have often been very valuable in making success possible by organizing so that economics starts to work in favor of the members.
Prevailing response
Some cooperatives are successful and some are not. In too many cases cooperatives working with the support of the relief and development sector have been used as a vehicle for inappropriate control and diversion of moneys at the expense of legitimate members.
A better response
Cooperatives are a legitimate way of organizing to improve economic results, but they need ethical management and staff need to be held accountable for their work and their responsibilities. Good cooperatives are not always small, nor are they always big. But good cooperatives always have good members and staff.

Issue
Copyright
Basic observation
Copyright and intellectual property is an important part of modern value creation and control.
Prevailing response
Copyright and intellectual property seem to be regarded as a more important in law than human rights and human dignity.
A better response
A new equilibrium between copyright and intellectual property and needs of society is required. Legitimate protection of effort and investment needs to be balanced against the demands of an ethical and fair global society. This is not easy, but it is not being attempted.

Issue
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Basic observation
CSR has emerged in the last few years as a new dimension of concern about corporate behavior.
Prevailing response
Most international corporations are aware of CSR and have taken steps to reduce the risk of negative media about their operations. In general the measures are more cosmetic than substantive.
A better response
Information about corporate CSR needs to be easily accessible and on the “record”. The information building process has to go beyond the corporate press release to facilitate discovery and assessment of the underlying behavior

Issue
Corruption (grand corruption)
Basic observation
A big failure of ethics. Grand corruption has distorted decision making and made a few very rich at the expense of the vast majority.
Prevailing response
Used to be ignored. Now there are discussions about corruption and workshops, conferences and so on. Few incitements of any significance. Corruption is difficult to stop because too many powerful people and corporations benefit from the practice.
A better response
Use information to make it easier to do things right. Accounting should be simple, and easily accessible and verifiable. Government accounting should be under scrutiny by all people everywhere. Good people do not like corruption, but have to live with it. Use accounting to give clarity to what is happening with the money. Do not fund things that are not transparent.

Issue
Corruption (petty corruption)
Basic observation
Petty corruption is highly undesirable, but often is expected because low salary scales make it impossible for junior grade staff to support themselves legitimately.
Prevailing response
Not very much on the prevailing priority agenda.
A better response
Make it possible for more people to have jobs that pay reasonable wages so that “dash” is not needed for a family to live adequately. Make the accounting better in all organizations and raise the bar for ethical behavior.

Issue
Costs (see also standard costs, opportunity costs and cost behavior)
Basic observation
Costs are a very big determinant of development success. Because of advances in science and technology many costs have gone down, and others have increased.
Prevailing response
Costs are very important, but in the ORDA community almost nothing is known about costs. Expenditures are budgeted, but rarely are expenditures related explicitly to unit costs. Very little is known about unit costs within the project framework. It is a huge missing element of management information.
A better response
By making costs part of the core management information for development, and then relating costs to outputs and the value of the outcomes, it becomes possible to manage the use of resources in the ORDA world in a far better way. Most unit costs in government and the ORDA community are too high and a huge improvement can be made by creating a more efficient system performance.

Issue
Cost behavior
Basic observation
Cost behavior needs to be understood in order to make good decisions. The best corporations known this well. The ORDA community almost not at all.
Prevailing response
Because there is no knowledge of cost, there is no understanding of cost behavior. The ORDA community operates at a severe disadvantage, but it does not matter because nobody has ever held them accountable for their costs and their performance.
A better response
Understanding cost behavior is a natural step beyond knowing what they are. In some products, economies of scale are huge and only volume production and volume use makes sense. In other products and services there are instead dis-economies of scale. It makes a difference which is which.

Issue
Culture
Basic observation
Culture has value, though not easy to measure using monetary units. Culture is a determinant of a lot of human behavior that is not otherwise explicable.
Prevailing response
Culture has been sidelined as a useful part of the relief and development equation. To the extent that it is supported it is hanging on at the outside where it does no harm, but sadly not much good either. Most ORDA institutions are using a development model that has no place for “culture”
A better response
Culture has a lot of value when it is used to help understand what works and what does not. Culture gets in the way when the structure is wrong, but the culture is advantageous when it is used to facilitate progress.

Issue
Curative care
Basic observation
Amazing advances have been made in the science of medicine, and amazing curative care is possible.
Prevailing response
But curative care is also expensive, and very few can afford the high costs associated with amazing medicine.
A better response
Prevention is better than cure. But if cure is needed, then it would be good if the cure was cost effective. The medical sector must no longer ignore the challenges of cost effectiveness and affordability of good curative care so that it is limited to a very few of the richest people in society.

Issue
Currency
Basic observation
Currency, or money is a store of value and a medium of exchange.
Prevailing response
Currency may be a medium of exchange, but it is a very poor store of value. Even the “best” currencies have lost relative to tangible assets over the past years, and, if anything it is getting worse.
A better response
Currency needs to be integrated much better into the metrics of relief and development, and the behavior of currency taken into consideration in the analysis of socio-economic progress. The risk associated with exchange rate changes needs also to be integrated into RDS analysis.

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Issue
DCAS
Basic observation
Development Cooperation Analysis System (DCAS) was an initiative of UNDP that aimed to create a database of all projects being implemented by a country.
Prevailing response
The DCAS data was of very mixed quality, and generally the relief and development sector assigned low level staff with inadequate knowledge of management information to do work on it. In addition, it appears that many donor organizations did not like the transparency DCAS provided.
A better response
A system like DCAS has a tremendous value as a transparent way to see factually what is being done at the country level by the donor community and all the actors in the relief and development sector. A modernized DCAS would be a very good component of a universal system of accounting and accountability for the relief and development sector.

Issue
DCR
Basic observation
The Development Cooperation Report (DCR) is a report that was prepared by UNDP (starting in 1978) as a mandate of the UN General Assembly.
Prevailing response
UNDP discontinued the DCR, and the related DCAS sometime around 2000 almost certainly because of pressure from donors who did not like to be subject to the publication of information that they did not control.
A better response
The experience of the DCR and DCAS confirms that the country level reporting of relief and development assistance is a very valuable effort and should be part of a RDS management information system. The fact that donors do not like it suggests that it has informational value that should not be suppressed.

Issue
Data
Basic observation
Data is a critical foundation for having information and building knowledge and understanding
Prevailing response
The ORDA community and others have compiled a huge amount of data. In the ORDA world it is mainly economic data, and underlying survey and statistical data. In the medical world there is data, and in the corporate world there is data, but in each case different.
A better response
The world is buried in data, and there needs to be a better organization of key data that are used for management and better data mining so that there is a better basis for improved decision making and allocation of resources. Modern technology makes this possible.

Issue
Debt
Basic observation
Debt has become a huge problem, but it is not clear how this problem became so serious. In part it is bad, including corrupt, use of borrowed funds, and in part it is because of a sloppy lending regime.
Prevailing response
The cancellation of “south” debt is a popular idea, even though it voids responsibility for past failures. The ORDA world has never come to grips with the failed process for handling the public finance of “south” countries. Starting off with a new clean slate without fixing the underlying problems is ridiculous.
A better response
The debt crisis should be addressed by looking at each loan one at a time, and making the findings public. Base analysis on facts about the the lending process and the way funds were used. Especially look at the original underlying assumptions and how much they were wrong and how they impacted project performance. Make people accountable for what they did years ago.

Issue
Debt cancellation
Basic observation
Debt cancellation has been discussed in various forms, formats and forums for many years ... at least 30
Prevailing response
Debt cancellation is almost a sub-sector of the relief and development sector. It has been the subject of enormous public advocacy, much expenditure on studies and workshops and conferences, and is now a complex, slow and expensive process.
A better response
The real challenge is to get a handle on why so many debts cannot be repaid, to find out exactly what went wrong and to hold people accountable. In this context, accountability should be done with a management and accounting mindset and not a legal one. We need to know what happened and take urgent steps to ensure new debts do not go bad as well.

Issue
Deficit spending
Basic observation
Deficit spending helps to maintain the stability of an economy, but it also can be a symptom of structural failure in the economy.
Prevailing response
Politicians use deficit spending when it is convenient, not matter what the consequences. And in developing countries, deficit spending is resorted to as long as there is hard currency to pay for the printing of local currency.
A better response
There is far too little information about government finances used routinely for the analysis of relief and development performance. Some countries have no money, no cash flow and are in practice absolutely bankrupt. Government finances is a key information dimension for understanding relief and development performance.

Issue
Demobilization
Basic observation
Soldiers being demobilized is traumatic for the soldier and a challenge for the economy.
Prevailing response
The ORDA community recognizes the nature of the problems, but has not been able to mount significant programs to limit the negative impact. This is not a high priority for donors though often identified as an issue by local planners.
A better response
The problem of demobilization can be minimized when there is successful development including job opportunities and the essential training needed to move soldiers from soldiering to other work.

Issue
Democracy
Basic observation
Democracy is a way of governing society. It is often preferable to other forms of governance, but democracy is not sufficient to achieve success in all aspects of society.
Prevailing response
Democracy is being promoted. There is a lot of rhetoric and programs contingent on progress to democracy. Development of a constitution is as high profile activity, as also is the election process. But these are not the “guts” of democracy, merely pieces of it.
A better response
Progress to democracy is only sustainable when there is also substantive change in the way in which the society functions and most important, the performance of the economy.

Issue
Derivatives
Basic observation
Derivatives are financial instruments that are used to give substance to the idea that different entities have different views of value.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector from time to time embraces quite sophisticated financial ideas. These ideas are of concern because they are rarely linked to the underlying economic realities of the countries involved.
A better response
There is a tremendous need for mainstream financial thinking to be applied to the needs of the global relief and development sector. Almost anything that has a future can be financed in sophisticated financial markets except anything that has the potential to help a poor developing community. Some out of the box thinking needs to get done, and soon.

Issue
Desertification
Basic observation
Desertification seems to be accelerating. The deserts are getting bigger, and areas that were once productive are now desert.
Prevailing response
The ORDA world is addressing the problem on the conference circuit. The understanding of why is being looked at by researchers. But not much is being done to change anything.
A better response
Desertification that is clearly caused by human activities can easily be controlled if leadership wants it done. But leadership sits on top of poverty, and in many cases poverty produces desertification. It can be addressed in good measure community by community.

Issue
Development
Basic observation
In this context development is socio-economic development, the process that makes it possible for a society to progress.
Prevailing response
Development has been driven largely by priorities defined in the “north”, and the results have been such that the performance is best described as “failed development”
A better response
Development is very important, and is needed if the crisis of poverty and hunger is to be alleviated. New systems, new organizations, new processes and new priorities are needed to make success possible. It can be done, but it is a new mindset.

Issue
Development education
Basic observation
Education is a key for success in development, but development education is, arguably, one reason why relief and development fails.
Prevailing response
There is a substantial sub-sector of education that does development education. Much of this is high cost and prestigious, and happily funded by donors. Some is less costly, available to more people, and arguably, not very useful.
A better response
Like so much else associated with relief and development, development education needs a strong does of hard nosed performance analysis. Almost all the development education interventions seem to be costly with an incremental value that is quite negligible.

Issue
Dialog
Basic observation
There is a large amount of dialog about relief and development, and the international arena. The dialog is not effective because more are writing (talking) than are reading (listening).
Prevailing response
The ORDA response to the need for dialog is more workshops, conferences, and increasingly Internet based discussions.
A better response
Dialog can be a source of solutions, but will not be until there are easy effective metrics that help to link progress and dialog, and the actions that stem from dialog. Dialog is powerful when it is linked to meaningful data.

Issue
Digital divide
Basic observation
Access to the modern digital economy is limited to people with resources. The digital divide reflects the poverty / wealth divide.
Prevailing response
There have been innumerable projects to provide digital access to the poor, but on a pilot basis and in a test mode only. Most pilot projects were not sustainable and were not replicated. The resources to make digital access universal have not been deployed, and there are questions about whether digital progress is the best way to address development issues in poor communities..
A better response
Solve the poverty divide and the digital divide will solve itself. Information and communications technology (ICT) is an opportunity to improve information flows and with better information it is possible to have better decisions and better development progress. Progress in using digital information tools can be a powerful component in better ORDA management of resources and give a base for better development performance

Issue
Disarmament (of nations)
Basic observation
Disarmament has enormous economic value because it can release economic resources for better use. Security through mutually assured destruction is a bad outcome of a failed global society.
Prevailing response
Governments seem to have difficulty making friends and trusting them. They have tended towards creating security against enemies with huge military establishments. The advantage of disarmament is being missed because of so much global enmity.
A better response
More effort needs to go into ensuring that the world is a friendly place. It should be clear that actions that make enemies that in turn justifies arms procurement and the transfer of wealth into the military industrial complex from the global economy and from relief and development success is immoral.

Issue
Disarmament (of militias)
Basic observation
Civil wars can officially end, but the security is not established until the militias are disarmed.
Prevailing response
There have been many programs to disarm militias, with varying degrees of success. The follow up economic and reintegration programs are generally underfunded, and success therefore not assured.
A better response
The disarmament process is a good start, but success is only assured when the former militiamen no long want to bear arms because there is a better life in a productive civil society.

Issue
Disbursement
Basic observation
Disbursement is an important step in the funding of relief and development activities. But disbursement is not a good measure of development progress, and its use as a performance metric by the World Bank for years has caused huge damage to development performance.
Prevailing response
Disbursement is still a key measure of performance by people who talk about relief and development. This metric has nothing to do with the effectiveness of relief and development.
A better response
Disbursement is the START of good accounting. It should be possible to track funds from the original disbursement to the eventual use and relate the use of these funds to the benefits being achieved.

Issue
Disincentives
Basic observation
The global economy is failing in large part because of disincentives that far too many must face.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has accepted the fact of disincentives, and does not think about them very much. If something does not work, more grant funding will keep it going ... just to fail later.
A better response
Good management information and understanding of disincentives would make it possible for a lot more effort to get converted into useful value. Removing a disincentive can be low cost and the results can be really valuable ... but nobody can do it without information and understanding.

Issue
Donors
Basic observation
Donors are the source of funds in the official relief and development assistance (ORDA) world. This includes entities like the World Bank that loan funds rather than make grants.
Prevailing response
Donor priorities have come to dominate ORDA at the expense of the priorities that would be best for the development. But donors are critical and donors have control of the agenda. “North” political issues are more important than development success in the “south”
A better response
The essential change that needs to be made is for results to be the measure that drives the donor agenda rather than mere PR, spin and platitudes. Feedback about performance should dominate in the media and attract donor attention so that it become good politics to support good performance in the “south”

Issue
Drug addiction
Basic observation
Drug addiction is a tremendous driver of human behavior. It has many faces and is a terrible consumer of potential.
Prevailing response
The global illegal drug economy is perhaps as large as the global oil sector, with the power to distort society and economy in all sorts of ways. By being illegal, the drug sector makes its own rules and applies its own remedies, usually violent. Because it has money, almost anything goes and little is ever done about it.
A better response
The problem of addiction needs to be taken very seriously, and adequate resources allocated to address the root cause of addiction. Because of criminalization, it is often difficult for well meaning individuals and society to address the problems openly.

Issue
Drug consumption
Basic observation
The addiction to drugs leads to consumption of drugs, which also leads to addiction. It is a vicious circle.
Prevailing response
Too much of prevailing thought seems to be of the sort that thinks that limiting supply will limit demand ... when, because of addiction, in fact it merely puts up the price. In turn this can lead to an escalation of anti-society behavior.
A better response
Drug consumption is usually bad for the consumer, who is under the influence of an addiction. Treat the addiction with the best of science and become engaged with public education about drugs, addiction and the cycle of disaster associated with drug use.

Issue
Drug production
Basic observation
Agricultural production is very low income almost everywhere in the world, except for drug production, that yields many many times more income.
Prevailing response
It is difficult to make a good case of rural farmers to produce cotton and starve when they can grow poppy and be quite prosperous. The economics of drug production ensure explosive growth that is difficult to stop. Destroying the crops makes people poor without getting at the underlying economics incentives of the drug sector.
A better response
Every piece of the drug supply and consumption chain needs to be controlled. Control of production without addressing rural economics and the wealth of the drug distribution business cannot succeed.

Issue
Drug trafficking
Basic observation
Drug trafficking is illegal, but it goes on because it is extremely profitable.
Prevailing response
Drug trafficking is made more difficult by law enforcement initiatives, but it is nothing compared to the drug sector as a whole. There are huge profits, and simply put, money talks and enough money can buy anything.
A better response
Drug trafficking may be illegal, but it is going on at a huge economic and social cost, and huge profits are being made from it. But if the consumers disappeared, so also would the trafficking ... and if the huge obscene profits of trafficking disappeared, there would be significantly less trafficking, Basic economics.

Issue
Durable value
Basic observation
Durable value is the key metric for the measurement of successful development.
Prevailing response
Hardly any of the decision makers in the relief and development sector understand the concept of durable value ... more they have a focus on mere expenditure.
A better response
In good value analysis of the relief and development sector (RDS), success can be measured by the durable value achieved relative to the resources used. It is a powerful concept that has been made the central theme of Tr-Ac-Net management information for the RDS.

Issue
Duties
Basic observation
Duties are one of the larger revenue sources for many government in developing countries, often to the detriment of the country's economy.
Prevailing response
Duties have been left out of the economic analysis of relief and development far more than they should been. This is partly because official relief and development (World Bank, UN, bilateral assistance) is usually done in a duty free arrangement.
A better response
Duties are often anti-developmental, but they hit with full force in the private sector, which has the potential for success, and not much in the government sector which often fails anyway. Duties not only constrain trade from South to North, but also between neighboring countries.

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Issue
Economics
Basic observation
Economics has been described as the dismal science, but it is interesting as a framework for preliminary analysis of relief and development.
Prevailing response
Economic data has come to dominate the relief and development sector and the organizations that control the resources and allocate funds. This is good as far as it goes, but it is not a good way to allocate resources and make investment decisions.
A better response
The economics data relative to relief and development should be used as the jumping off point for a strong management information regime that not only understands the aggregates, but the costs and the activities and the results that make up the aggregates. Management information is a huge missing component of available data.

Issue
Economists
Basic observation
Economists are fun, but rarely very practical. They analyze, and predict, but do not manage. It is not what economists are trained to do.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector is dominated by economists, and has been for many years. The data that economists use are solid, but the results being reported are disastrous.
A better response
Economists need to identify what is wrong from the data, and then help to identify how and why the results are so disastrous. The work being done by economists needs to be supplemented by strong work of cost accountants, and people versed in science and operations research. Relief and development needs management in addition to analysis from economists.

Issue
Education
Basic observation
Education can be a great success, but a minimum level of resources is needed. Very poor communities are in a poverty trap in part because of the education deficits.
Prevailing response
Is a priority sector, but has not been well integrated into a total development framework. The “north” model usually used is more costly than it needs to be, and government budgets cannot be enough. Not much focused on economic needs of students.
A better response
Should be a priority, but using local resources to the maximum, and not assumed to be funded by government. Education is a precondition for productive employment, .

Issue
Elections
Basic observation
Elections are an important part of democratic governance, but only a part.
Prevailing response
Elections have been identified as a key part of a democratic process, and then linked to good governance. There are too many examples of elections being the cause of conflict rather than being the solution. Haste has also been a cause of tension and lack of institutional support for the rights of electoral minorities.
A better response
Good government and good governance needs to be assessed not by the structure but by the behavior and the results. Rapid changes in systems of governance can make a structure look better, but does it work better. Measure the results rather than merely looking at the structure.

Issue
Employment
Basic observation
Employment is perhaps the single most important determinant of success in development. No jobs, no employment and a modern economy and society is dysfunctional.
Prevailing response
Very little attention has been paid to employment. The failed development is the “south” all have employment deficits that are obscene, and it has been little reflected in the strategy to reduce poverty.
A better response
Employment must be a central element of successful development, and thought through from the community level and then up. Work should be paid for that does good things for the community and the local economy, and it needs to be paid for in ways that strengthen rather than weaken the economic foundation.

Issue
Enabling environment
Basic observation
This is shorthand for a lot of factors that make it possible for development initiatives and investments to be successful. Includes framework of law, regulations, attitudes of the society as well as physical infrastructure.
Prevailing response
Most of the effort has been centered on governance and the policy framework, with much less on facilitating local success with local resources. The efforts are seen by many to improve the enabling environment for foreign success more than for local success.
A better response
The enabling environment needs to by improved at many levels, and to address ALL the issues that constrain success. This paper looks at more than 100 issues that impact development performance. The enabling environment has got to help address specific constraints that hold up discreet activities in relief and development.

Issue
Energy
Basic observation
Energy was the big driver of progress in the industrial revolution for the “north”, and needs to be a driver of progress for development success in the “south” now.
Prevailing response
Energy has not been on the agenda of the ORDA community, and when it has been proposed, environmental issues have often made progress slow and expensive. Too much energy is used for useless activity in development, meanwhile manual labor is doing a lot of work that machines can do better.
A better response
Energy needs to be a priority wherever it is needed in a community to improve production performance. Manual labor constraining productivity should be solved by use of energy. Measuring installed energy capacity is a good metric for relief and development potential.

Issue
Enterprise
Basic observation
Enterprise is one of the key enablers of economic progress. A successful economic system needs to use enterprise as a driver of economic activities.
Prevailing response
A large proportion of relief and development assistance funding has been disbursed through government and other non-enterprise like settings. Nothing is sustainable because everything depends on ongoing funding from donors and external well-wishers.
A better response
A better economic result will be achieved when relief and development resources are channeled in ways that creates self-sustaining enterprises that create and deliver the goods and services needed by local communities. Enterprise structures are designed to make the most with the least.

Issue
Entrepreneur
Basic observation
Entrepreneurs exist in both rich and poor societies. They are critical in the value adding process that is the characteristic of successful development. In poor countries they do not have the benefit of either resources or an efficient infrastructure.
Prevailing response
Entrepreneurial energy is not being used in the economic development model favored by ORDA experts. Often interventions to assist entrepreneurs merely add bureaucratic burden without aiding productivity.
A better response
The energy and creativity of entrepreneurs can be used to drive socio-economic progress when the value adding remains in the community rather than all being removed from the community. Progress metrics makes it possible to differentiate between different forms of entrepreneurial activity

Issue
Environment
Basic observation
Environment was given little attention in the first 100 years of the industrial revolution. Today it is recognized that environment needs to be given due consideration within planning for development investment.
Prevailing response
Environment has tended to be an issue that has been used to stop development in order to preserve environment, yet a lot of big established corporate entities continue to do bad environmental things in places where law and regulation are weak.
A better response
Environment needs to be incorporated into mainstream planning and the metrics for measuring development progress so that it is not merely the policy and the activism that gets attention but the actual practices used. Poverty is more damaging to the environment than wealth, and with wealth there is the resource to do remedial work where it is needed.

Issue
Environmental degradation
Basic observation
Environmental degradation is a huge cost of modern industrial society.
Prevailing response
Though environmental degradation is a big cost to society,it is totally ignored in business accounting, and consequently is also ignored by society at large. This is a sad and dangerous reality that impacts the north less now than in the past, but is still a major problem in the “south”.
A better response
The value analysis approach to socio-economic development progress metrics brings the issues of environment right into the middle of dialog ... it can change the perception and the performance of foreign direct investment (FDI) initiatives which frequently are able to totally ignore the environmental consequences of their activities.

Issue
Equity fairness concept
Basic observation
In the context of fairness
Prevailing response
Not thought about very much. There is a focus on different issues, but rarely discussed with reference to equity or fairness.
A better response
Try to get a fair result, but do not do it by regulation and rules, but more by opportunity and incentives. Human energy is needed for success, and rarely achieved in a welfare mode.

Issue
Equity financial concept
Basic observation
In the context of accountancy and financial reporting, equity is the “owners” share of a business.
Prevailing response
Equity is rarely thought about in the ORDA system of development.
A better response
The concept of equity and the ownership of a business is a critical component of wealth creation in the “north” and should be a much bigger issue in relief and development so that it can help to drive development and be an important incentive to energize activity.

Issue
Ethnicity
Basic observation
Ethnicity is an issue that can cause tension and worse.
Prevailing response
Ethnicity has been part of the root cause of various conflicts, but it is not addressed as carefully as it needs to be. Any situation where there is a winner and loser will seriously aggravate historic tensions.
A better response
Ethnicity needs to be recognized as a reality, and much more effort made to ensure that development opportunity does not aggravate tension, but helps to reduce it. This is not easy, but a start is to make sure that the there is sharing of development opportunities and the allocation of resources is fair.

Issue
Ethics
Basic observation
Ethics is a critical issue. Ethics is more than philosophy, and nor just a component of religion. Ethics are the foundation of a civil society.
Prevailing response
Laws provide a framework for a society of law, but it is only good laws that make a society ethical and just. Ethics have dropped out of the core of economic and business life and this goes a long way to explain much of the abuse recently being prosecuted.
A better response
Ethics needs to be an area of great consensus, and this consensus should aim to be universal. A lot of law and regulation should be revisited based on issues of ethics, fairness and human rights.

Issue
Evidence based decisions
Basic observation
This is a recently developed phrase ... is there any other way of making decisions.
Prevailing response
The need to invent a phrase like “evidence based decisions” suggests that there has been a practice of making decisions in ways that are perhaps in conflict with available facts. No wonder that relief and development initiatives have failed.
A better response
Clearly decision making should be based on the best possible information, and information should flow quickly and be as accurate as possible and as low cost as possible. Decisions should look to both short term and long term impact.

Issue
Exchange rates
Basic observation
Exchange rates tell a lot about the management of an economy.
Prevailing response
But exchange rates are not given enough thought in a typical World Bank project analysis, in fact, for years any consideration of exchange rate projections was explicitly ignored in the projections. This makes little sense and explains some of the World Bank's poor project performance.
A better response
Exchange rates need to be taken into consideration in every aspect of relief and development analysis. To the extent that many analysts in the RDS do not understand the impact of exchange rate changes, people with appropriate understanding should be engaged.

Issue
Experience
Basic observation
Experience is a key strength and helps a person or organization avoid mistakes.
Prevailing response
But practical experience is sadly lacking in the relief and development sector both at the individual leval and within organizations. Most large organizations have extremely weak institutional memory, and for all practical purposes do their basic learning over and over again.
A better response
The relief and development sector would be vastly more effective if it could organize to use the experience and talent of ALL the people in a community, rather than being focused on a few. The same goes for organizations and the whole power structure of the global economy. The RDS and leadership could be so much more effective if it could find experience and use it.

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Issue
FBOs
Basic observation
Faith based organizations (FBOs) are organizations where the common affinity is the religion or faith.
Prevailing response
FBOs that carry with them
A better response
Where there is a community focus, the community based FBO can be a valuable organization for local activity implementation.

Issue
FGM
Basic observation
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a traditional custom in many parts of the world.
Prevailing response
History may explain why FGM exists in some cultures, but is not a good reason for it being practiced today. Confronting the issue as a “women's issue” is now widespread, but is not apparently changing practice in remote rural areas.
A better response
And of course the RDS is not doing much of anything in remote rural areas. Perhaps more progress on reducing the practice of FMG would be achieved if the RDS actually did work in remote rural communities and helped these communities with practical education, health care and so forth.

Issue
Fair Share
Basic observation
Fair Share is a term to describe the equitable sharing or profit in a value chain so that all stakeholders can be farily remunerated.
Prevailing response
This concept is not applied at all in the present relief and development sector, nor in the global market economy.
A better response
Fair Share analysis will show that most relief and development cannot be sustainable, but that many of the major value chains could be made more equitable and there could be both profit and durable development.

Issue
Fair Trade
Basic observation
Fair Trade is a term that describes the idea that a fair price should be paid to the farmer.
Prevailing response
This idea is catching on as a “marketing” gimmick with an international certifying organization validating the process.
A better response
The Fair Trade words are themselves registered as intellectual property, and it is not entirely clear that this idea is translating into higher prices for most farmers

Issue
Family
Basic observation
Family seems to be a natural unit of human society going back thousands of years.
Prevailing response
Family has been recognized as important in a lot of relief and development work.
A better response
But family is difficult to work with, and accordingly community is a useful management level for relief and development sector intervention. However, the goal needs always to be that the benefit reaches the family.

Issue
Famine
Basic observation
Famine affects perhaps as many as 1 billion people ... all the time.
Prevailing response
Many early warning systems have been created, but these systems are not an integral part of an effective way of mitigating famine impact. The world has enough food capacity, but it does not have the mechanisms to deliver food where it is needed.
A better response
Giving food away keeps people alive, but it does not prevent famine. In fact, giving food away tends to create an economic response that makes famine more likely. Famine should not be happening, but the full facts about fund flows, activities and famine have still to be compiled and conclusions drawn. At the moment, in my view, famine is caused by a systemic failure of the economic system and governance.

Issue
Feedback
Basic observation
Feedback is the essential element of any effective management system. It has been refined in engineering control theory, and has been adapted to business process controls.
Prevailing response
There is almost no feedback in the basic ORDA process. Some organizations like UNHCR have an effective feedback process but it is unusual. The ORDA management information and organizational structures are not good enough to provide a strong foundation for strong and effective feedback.
A better response
Feedback is an essential part of any good management system, and it should be effective at all levels. The feedback is the critical key link between the measurement and the decision making needed to change and improve.

Issue
Financial reporting
Basic observation
Financial reporting is the foundation of world economics and capital markets. It is not perfect, but it is very widespread.
Prevailing response
There has been little of no attention paid to financial reporting in the relief and development sector. Compared to the corporate world financial reporting in the RDS is primitive.
A better response
Financial reporting in the RDS should be upgraded, and combined with other measures of socio-economic value. It should be routine for people to known what something has cost, what value it has, and the long term durable value that will be accomplished over time.

Issue
Financial sector
Basic observation
The financial sector provides key services that facilitate socio-economic progress.
Prevailing response
The financial sector is missing from many poor places. In poor countries it has deteriorated both institutionally and in terms of financial condition. There is increasing interest, as for example, in micro-finance, but not in all the components of a strong sector.
A better response
Services provided by the financial sector need to be available to all communities so that economic activities can be supported. Micro-finance is moving forward well, but it is not the only financial service needed for success. In a community there needs to be micro, mini and “muni” finance so that enterprise and community can be funded as well as the micro-entrepreneur.

Issue
Financing for development
Basic observation
Financing for Development has been a constraint for many years. This is more than merely the debt overhand, it is some fundamental strategic issues about development and financing.
Prevailing response
Financing for Development has been avoided as an issue in poor countries. The conversation has been diverted to the existence of debt, but rarely to the question of why debt incurred a long time ago could not be repaid as intended.
A better response
Financing for Development needs to be made a center point of international attention and instruments created that will make it possible for value adding development to be funded and for value destruction to be “managed” away.

Issue
Fisheries
Basic observation
Fisheries is a powerful sector, but often dominated by interests that are external to the local economy.
Prevailing response
Few fisheries industries benefit the local country to an adequate degree ... the value is exported onto the consuming countries, often without the knowledge of the local country.
A better response
The fisheries sector can often be expanded using local organizations so that there is more valuing adding domiciled in the host country, but the best strategy may not be self-evident because the fishing industry values are driven by markets and freshness and NOT by manufacturing and processing.

Issue
Food for work
Basic observation
Food for Work (FfW) is widely practiced by the UN system, and especially the World Food Program (WFP).
Prevailing response
Food for Work is used in many forms by WFP. As the only resource being controlled by WFP, they find themselves in a difficult position. Food for Work has some value, but the distortions associated with FfW programs are substantial, and detrimental.
A better response
Food is a very important economic asset, and should be used in a strategic manner to encourage sustainable relief and development that creates durable value. The FfW paradigm arguably uses food in ways that fail dramatically to get the maximum socio-economic value.

Issue
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
Basic observation
FDI should have helped make the “south” and local communities wealthy. In fact only an elite has benefited, and wealth has been moved from the host location to corporate headquarters and stockholders.
Prevailing response
The prevailing view is that FDI is good, and more is better. There is little transparency, accounting and accountability about FDI. The value chain often results in value export and an increase in poverty at the local community level.
A better response
FDI can be very valuable to relief and development, but the business model must deliver on value adding in the local host communities. Improved attention to corporate international investment can improve local value adding without having a bad impact on corporate results. The issue of FDI and bribery needs to be addressed through clarity and active interaction with corporate leadership.

Issue
Fraud
Basic observation
Fraud has been common throughout history, and very damaging.
Prevailing response
Fraud has been bigger and worse in modern times, in spite the power of information technology and the breadth of modern education. But ethics and management information have been avoided by a lot of leadership and the organizations and economic structures they control.
A better response
Leadership must address the issue of fraud in all its manifestations. The missing components of ethics and management information make the control and suppression of fraud very difficult, but it should be done and can be done. Fraud has difficulty to thrive in situations where there is good management analysis and commitment to efficient economics.

Issue
Freedom
Basic observation
Freedom is one of the greatest attributes of the best countries in the world, but it is always in danger.
Prevailing response
Freedom is fragile, and freedom gives opportunity not only to good things but also to bad. Removing freedom may reduce the risk of bad, but at the cost of the loss of good. Freedom thrives in arenas where there is confidence ... not where there is a culture of fear.
A better response
Freedom is a great value of good organization, in family, in community, in country and in the world. Freedom allows all sorts of good things to happen ... and with good strategic thinking can help move bad things to the sidelines.

Issue
Free Trade
Basic observation
Free Trade is usually better than trade that is closed and limited, but terms of trade can be damaging in a distorted world economy.
Prevailing response
Free trade is a starting point for better trade, but free trade without decent terms of trade can end up being a lot worse than constrained trade.
A better response
A lot more work needs to be done to understand trade as a value chain to ensure that free trade does not end up being merely a process than ends up moving wealth from poor to rich countries with little poor country benefit.

Issue
Fund flow accounting
Basic observation
Fund flow accounting is the basis for cash flow basis government accounting.
Prevailing response
Fund flow accounting and cash basis accounting has limited analytical value compared to full accrual accounting, but even this fund flow accounting in the overall relief and development sector is poor and insufficient to track resources.
A better response
Fund flow accounting should be done thoroughly with as much inclusion of accrual based principles as possible. Good accounting should be practiced and also be visible to interested stakeholders.

Issue
Fund flows (official flows)
Basic observation
Fund flow accounting to help understand and keep track of resources flows is a key foundation for good resource management in the relief and development sector.
Prevailing response
Though fund flow accounting should be strong, and quite easy to do, leadership has seen fit to give it a low priority. This is a signal that too much of leadership has an interest in accounting sloppiness either because of corrupt practices or a high level of incompetence.
A better response
Far better fund flow accounting is needed so that all resources are accounted for, and then value chains can be better understood and people and organizations held accountable for good results.

Issue
Funding
Basic observation
Funding is a huge constraint on development success, not only because of the absolute shortage, but also because it is being made available in the wrong ways.
Prevailing response
Funding is driven by an approval process defined by “north” donors and very much failing the “south”. Failed funding has resulted in de-facto sovereign bankruptcy and a huge debt overhang rather than universal development success.
A better response
Financial sector strengthening is essential. Funding is needed for everything and in all segments from micro finance to national level public finance. All segments of the economy, both public and private, large and small, urban and rural, should have funding access on terms that are fair.

Issue
Funding (for projects)
Basic observation
Funding for projects is almost totally derived from international donors and funding agencies.
Prevailing response
What gets funded are activities wanted by the donors rather than activities to deliver outcomes needed by the community. This has been described in “phantom aid”
A better response
Beneficiaries have to get into a position so that they are able to get more projects that deliver locally needed outputs. With focus on local priorities, donor funding can be used more effectively in support of development progress. What is needed is “real aid” and not “phantom aid”

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Issue
GDP
Basic observation
Gross Domestic Product is a commonly used macro-economic indicator that measures the size of an economy
Prevailing response
It is a useful measure, but not very powerful for the analysis of complex relationships in the economy and the complex interactions that make up both the local situation and the world situation.
A better response
In addition to macro economic measures, there needs to be a lot of management metrics so that the how and why can be answered. GDP is just one measure or hundreds that are possible, and most more specifically useful for analysis.

Issue
GFATM
Basic observation
Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a recent initiative to make adequate funding available to address these health pandemics
Prevailing response
In spite valiant efforts to create a new institution with adequate financial resources and efficient management, in fact the GFATM has struggled and then put in place a system that reflects many of the weaknesses of old and prevailing ORDA control processes
A better response
Much more attention to results needs to be put in place, so that all GFATM resources are fully accounted for from time of disbursement to eventual use. The management process for allocating resources should be much more based on what is already being accomplished than on projections of what is going to be done.

Issue
Gender issues
Basic observation
Gender needs to be addressed. The history of women's situation needs to be addressed, in all its aspects
Prevailing response
Gender issues have been a donor priority, but too often without integrating gender activity into a strategy that addresses also other critical development activities needed.
A better response
Gender issues should be an integral part of development progress, and not merely stand-alone initiatives that divert attention from the larger comprehensive development that needs to be put in place.

Issue
Generic drugs
Basic observation
Generic drugs may be a valuable alternative to name brand drugs as long as quality control is not compromised.
Prevailing response
Generic drugs have become center stage in the dialog about pharmaceutical drug pricing. This is very big issue that appears in the headlines from time to time, but is not part of any serious framework of management information.
A better response
The use of generic drugs to lower the pricing for critical therapies is critical. It is not, however, a simple argument because of the reasonable need to pay for drug development and research. Much more value chain analysis of the pharmaceutical industry needs to be in place because so little of what is possible seems to get translated into affordable therapies.

Issue
Genetic modification
Basic observation
There are legitimate concerns about genetic modification, as well as scaremongering.
Prevailing response
Some want to stop genetic modification totally, others want it to be progress without any societal constraints, even though there are concerns and potential for irreversible damage.
A better response
Make progress carefully. The potential for good suggests that genetic modification should be explored and utilized, but like so much that has power for good, there is a potential for bad, and this should be taken into consideration and safeguards be in place.

Issue
Globalization
Basic observation
Globalization is now bigger and change is more rapid than in the past, but it is not new.
Prevailing response
A polarization, misunderstanding and abuse of the complex dynamics of globalization has diminished the social and economic potential
A better response
Use the new technologies that have made modern globalization so powerful to make needed changes to the way organizations interact on a global scale. Make changes because the status quo in so many cases is unacceptable.

Issue
Global warming
Basic observation
Global warming is something of growing concern.
Prevailing response
Global warming is being discussed more and more, but it is still being treated as being applicable to others, and not in any way to me and my community.
A better response
Global warming needs to be addressed by all, but in ways that help the global economy to grow and prosper. The science of global warming is complex, but the filth of modern industrial society is easy to see, and we know that much of the filth can be cleaned up if it has to be done. Dirty profits are not a good idea at all. Rich leadership is a starting point for progress.

Issue
Governance
Basic observation
Governance has been in existence since very early on the history of human society.
Prevailing response
Governance at all levels is not well enough appreciated by leadership and the main institutions of the relief and development sector including government organizations. Devolution of some of the power of central government to community acknowledges the importance of community, but does not capture the idea of governance from the people for the people and by the people.
A better response
Governance needs to exist in order tor society to function, but good governance at the interface between community and family is as important as good governance between the community and the higher authorities of a central government. Governance of the community needs to emerge so that progress can be achieved at this level. Central and higher levels of government need to allow this and not get in the way.

Issue
Government
Basic observation
Government is important, but it is not the biggest driver of economic success and quality of life.
Prevailing response
Government has been the primary agency for ORDA intervention, a very socialist model popular in many places around the world fifty years ago, but now widely recognized as a failed strategy. Remote rural and poor urban communities are generally badly served by government.
A better response
Government has a major role in setting the stage for success, and creating an “enabling environment”. Government can be part of the financing framework for economic development investment, but generally should not be the implementing organization. Government sets policy and establishes laws and regulations to facilitate success

Issue
Government financial management
Basic observation
Government financial management (GFM) is a key function for good governance.
Prevailing response
Government financial management (GFM) has been very low profile in development priorities. There has been a growing amount of study of the problem and computerization, but results have been mixed. The World Bank and other ORDA organizations have weakened GFM by a practice of doing “projects” outside the national GFM system.
A better response
Government financial management should be very high priority with emphasis on good work being done at all levels from voucher processing to all levels of reporting. A single treasury account system should be normal, with every expenditure passing through the GFM system. In a good GFM system, with basic accounting and a good supervision structure there is no room for grand corruption.

Issue
Grants
Basic observation
Grants are a wonderful way of getting financed.
Prevailing response
Grants are often used because of the hassle of doing the accounting and getting repaid. This is a very bad reason for grants, but it is common.
A better response
There should be as much accounting and analysis of grant financing as any other form of financing, if not more. Grants should results in value adding in the community, and to know about this there needs to be accounting.

Issue
Growth
Basic observation
Growth is meant to benefit all, but more often it benefits some and not others.
Prevailing response
Growth is an easier environment to manage in than economic stagnation. In modern economic measurement the gross number is often measured without understanding the role of value adding and value destruction.
A better response
There needs to be a focus more on the growth of value adding than in the growth of economic activity. It should be possible to get value adding in a growing economic situation, but this needs to be planned for.

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Issue
HIPC
Basic observation
Highly indebted poor countries (HIPC) are a classification that relates to the debt reduction process of the ORDA world.
Prevailing response
The HIPC process and debt reduction is a big activity of the relief and development sector. It seems to have become a sub-sector of RDS with the little of value on the ground in poor countries taking a very long time and being expensive to negotiate.
A better response
Debt should not be incurred lightly and it should not be canceled without some clarity about how and why the debt has been incurred. There needs to be clear accounting and accountability about the debts that are being forgiven and quite specifically how and why they cannot be repaid. Who are accountable parties?

Issue
Health
Basic observation
Health has been a priority sector within the ORDA world, but it is costly and does not generate economic progress on its own. Some health initiatives have had a very good impact. Health is a good PART of a comprehensive plan for development
Prevailing response
Health continues to be a priority, but it has not been integrated into a total development framework, and now there is widespread un-sustainability of public health services without significant external funding. The issue is now a crisis because of the impact of HIV-AIDS, and other diseases like malaria and TB
A better response
Health needs to be a priority, but it should be integrated into the community development planning so that local resources can be used to the maximum, and not assumed to be funded by government or donors. Good health is a precondition for productive employment and therefore important.

Issue
Hedge funds
Basic observation
Hedge funds have become a sub-segment of the finance sector important to high return investing
Prevailing response
Hedge funds are a major tool of high net worth individuals and organizations to achieve very high investment returns. They are more or less ignored by the relief and development sector and RDS analysts.
A better response
Hedge funds have made it possible for liquidity to be translated into high return investment on a scale that is enormous. The returns and the rewards being reported by hedge funds is very high and should be of concern because it is not often newly created wealth but a repositioning of existing wealth. For all this gain, others are losing.

Issue
HIV-AIDS
Basic observation
The HIV-AIDS pandemic is huge by any historic measure, especially in Africa, but increasingly in other parts of the world.
Prevailing response
The response to HIV-AIDS has been to fund a wide range of health initiatives using existing and new funding mechanisms. Most of the initiatives are funded and accounted for using typical ORDA systems that provide little accountability for results being achieved.
A better response
Make accounting and accountability a required integral part of the response. Change the focus from how much has been disbursed to measuring how much has been achieved and at what cost, and relate to the unmet need. Have oversight in place so that financial abuse can be identified and abusers held accountable.

Issue
Human Development Index
Basic observation
The Human Development Index (HDX) was introduced by UNDP in the early 1990s as part of the annual Human Development Report.
Prevailing response
This report helped to expand the metrics of relief and development beyond economics to the broader area of the overall human condition. This was a good idea, but it still comes at metrics from an economic perspective rather than the management view.
A better response
The typical HDX metrics are useful not only at the country level, but also at the community level. As management information at the community level, the HDX data are very useful, but they also show how vast areas are terribly failed, and how little has been done to address the problems.

Issue
Human Resources
Basic observation
Though people are the central justification for relief and development, there is little use of “people” as the driver of development and the key resource of development implementation.
Prevailing response
Thematic groups of people are a big driver of donor funding, rather than people and their own economic interest.
A better response
People get put at the center of relief and development thinking. For practical reasons relief and development has to be implemented through organizations and their activities. However, by organizing at the community level, people and activity and impact can be effectively linked together.

Issue
Human rights
Basic observation
Human rights are talked about, but not enough it done when human rights abuse is identified.
Prevailing response
There are high level bureaucracies that discuss human rights issues, but rather limited efforts on the ground to stop abuse.
A better response
In addition to diplomacy, the problem needs to be safely “on the record” within a global international and independent system so that abusers can be held accountable.

Issue
Human trafficking
Basic observation
This is a big problem that does not often get a lot of media attention. It is driven in large part by failed economics and promise of big rewards, real or imaginary.
Prevailing response
Drawing attention to this through media information is done from time to time, but with little real impact.
A better response
A big international effort is needed using law enforcement agencies in cooperation. At the same time address the issue of failed economics in the communities where people are hopeless and can be preyed on by organized crime

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Issue
ICT
Basic observation
Information and communications technology (ICT) is now a major driver of modern economies.
Prevailing response
ICT has been embraced by the relief and development sector as a new silver bullet for RDS work. Almost every RDS organization, governmental and NGO seems to have an ICT initiative. The money is being spent. But results are difficult to see.
A better response
ICT needs to be considered as part of an enabling environment, and work done to remove ICT as a constraint on relief and development. There are legitimate activities to be supported by the RDS and government ... including getting the laws and regulatory framework right ... and perhaps getting a working public infrastructure in place, or making sure that such infrastructure is available.

Issue
IDPs
Basic observation
Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) have been outside UN jurisdiction for years, even though they are extremely vulnerable.
Prevailing response
The global IDP crisis has been a disgrace for a very long time. A lot of good individuals have tried to do what they could within organizational constraints, but global leadership has walked away from the problem and done little. Who has cared?
A better response
If the management information dimension of the relief and development sector was strong at the community level, there would be good information about people and community and therefore about the IDP situation. Clearly, corrupt leadership does not want to see this sort of information ... even though this information would be very informative.

Issue
Incentives
Basic observation
Incentives are the key driver of a successful economy. Incentives have the most power when they motivate individual people.
Prevailing response
At the moment the incentives for relief and development sector performance do not work ... great returns are possible for leadership in rich countries, and also for corrupt behavior in the relief and development sector, but few incentives are available for hard working good people.
A better response
The value of incentives is well known, but getting incentives to deliver the best possible results is not a simple matter. It can be argued that very high multi-million (even billion) corporate and capital market remuneration is a cause of good performance, or you can argue that it is an aberration. Good management information in the RDS arena would help make incentives drive RDS success.

Issue
Information
Basic observation
There is a lot of Information, but most of it is macro-information that is of little use in the “management” of scarce resources and the measurement of results. Much of the information that is available is replicated several times in different reports.
Prevailing response
A question about information is usually answered by a new study and new report. This usually adds to the cost and volume of the available information but may not add much to the understanding possible from the information.
A better response
Information can be powerful. It is better to have a little of the right information than a lot of information that has little practical use. Good information can be simple and valuable because it is linked with identifiable activity and places and valuable to manage effective allocation of resources.

Issue
Infrastructure
Basic observation
Infrastructure has deteriorated in most parts of the “south” and is mostly dysfunctional, making any industrial productivity low.
Prevailing response
A few big infrastructure projects are in process and on the drawing board. Some are going to add value, but the maximizing of value from these projects rarely happens because of the value export of the typical business model. Meanwhile little is done to upgrade a deteriorated infrastructure.
A better response
Rehabilitation of deteriorated infrastructure is a priority, and best done by using local contractors and a maximum of local content. The process of infrastructure building should maximize value adding, and this means local labor, local capacity and local capital to the extent it is available.

Issue
Insecurity
Basic observation
Insecurity is a major issue in quality of life ... and unless one has lived in fear, it is difficult to appreciated how bad it is.
Prevailing response
The prevailing global view seems to be that insecurity for others is not important ... in fact not until there is death and mayhem should there be any action.
A better response
Insecurity should be a component of a management information system about global communities, and government that allows insecurity should be help to account. The challenge of insecurity cannot be taken lightly, because insecurity is also a facet of terrorism.

Issue
Insurance
Basic observation
Insurance is a key way to reduce risk. It should be part of a comprehensive finance sector.
Prevailing response
The finance sector is very much compromised in many parts of the world, so initiatives to encourage insurance should be a low priority.
A better response
The best way to reduce risk is to actually reduce risk by the way one is organized and the way activities are conducted. It is then possible to add insurance as an added dimension of protection. Adequate recognition should also be given to informal protection that is done by groups without a formal legal structure.

Issue
Intellectual property
Basic observation
Intellectual property has emerged as a key asset in a modern economy.
Prevailing response
But intellectual property is also a challenge for the relief and development sector because of its potential to constrain indigenous activities.
A better response
And worse, the laws of IP are also capable of constraining important activities. The idea that maintaining the IP legal regime is more important than making it possible for lives to be saved is an issue that makes the pharmaceutical industry appear more interested in corporate value than human health.

Issue
Internal audit
Basic observation
Internal audit is an important small part of a good management and control system.
Prevailing response
In the relief and development sector, accounting is often unacceptably weak, and internal audit seems to be used instead of improving the accounting basics.
A better response
Accounting and the use of accounting information as the basis for good management information should be a high priority in the relief and development sector, and internal audit should be implemented in bigger organizations so that a good basic accounting system is operated and maintained well.

Issue
Internal check
Basic observation
Internal check is part of a good internal control system. It is the idea of there are adequate double checks on basic transactions so that they are always right.
Prevailing response
Good accounting systems are rare in the relief and development sector. In many cases accounting basics are ignored using the argument that this is an emergency and we do not have time for any accounting. The essence of internal check is not even a consideration most of the time in the RDS.
A better response
Good accounting should be the norm throughout the relief and development sector. A good system should include the concept of internal check so that all transactions are correct, and all reports are right.

Issue
Internal control
Basic observation
Internal control is a broader idea of checks and balances, so that the accounting is right and cannot be distorted into bad reporting and misrepresentation by any single one person.
Prevailing response
The accounting dimension of the relief and development sector is weak, and there are few checks and balances to control the way in which the system operates.
A better response
Good accounting should be the norm throughout the relief and development sector. A good system should include strong internal control so that the transactions are recorded correctly and the reporting is right and not producing a misrepresentation of the facts.

Issue
Interest rates
Basic observation
Interest rates are a way of charging for the use of financial resources.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has not much addressed the financial dimensions of development, and certainly not the role of interest in making resources more readily available for critical purposes.
A better response
The broadening of the global financial sector so that it is able to get financial resources allocated to the poor segments of global society is important, and the role of interest in this is going to be critical so that investors can be suitably rewarded.

Issue
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
Basic observation
Famine and war have created a huge population of internally displaced people especially in Africa. This is a problem that has been serious for 30years and remains critical.
Prevailing response
The international community is making only modest progress in eliminating the root causes for creation of displacement. The potential for economic improvement to reduce IDP crises has a low priority.
A better response
A community centric relief and development strategy that ensures that all communities have a ways to make progress can help mitigate the root causes of the IDP situation. The program has added power when IDPs are made an integral part of a solution.

Issue
International Law
Basic observation
Law is an important part of a strong enabling environment, and international law a part of this.
Prevailing response
The application of international law has been distorted in many ways to suit the prevailing powers. This has been detrimental in many ways for progress in relief and development.
A better response
International law should be a strong and just framework that is fair to all. Many aspects of international law need to be reviewed in order to ensure that international law is compatible with fairness and the human rights of all.

Issue
Internet
Basic observation
The Internet is a powerful and valuable modern infrastructure for communications
Prevailing response
The Internet has been embraced as a key technology, and is being used to a limited extent in the relief and development sector.
A better response
The Internet is an immensely powerful technology that has almost unlimited potential to change the limits of possibilities. A lot more needs to be done to link the rural and remote and disenfranchised communities with the rest of the world.

Issue
Internet access
Basic observation
Access to the Internet is a critical characteristic of modern infrastructure.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has recognized that the Internet is important, but in spite of this has not been able to facilitate the action needed to get poor countries to have much access to it.
A better response
Poor access to the Internet is one of the constraints for development, and there should be strong intervention to ensure that good Internet access is universally available. Technology is not the problem, it is leadership, and the structures of socio-economic power.

Issue
Internet governance
Basic observation
The Internet has become commonplace in part because its governance has been driven by technical considerations more than by the demands of political control.
Prevailing response
There is a growing demand among governments for political control to replace technical control, for the public sector to be in control rather than private organizations. The driver of this demand seems to be a combination of political desire to control information and a corporate desire to control progress and eliminate competition from potential new generations of technology.
A better response
The total potential value of the Internet has hardly started to be realized yet, and people as a whole need to ensure that its potential value is not constrained by narrow and limited political control and corporate control. The value to poor communities has not yet been developed, and this should not be ignored.

Issue
Internet infrastructure
Basic observation
Internet infrastructure started as a private system for communications and sharing of important results among researchers. It is now a global network owned by a diverse set of organizations.
Prevailing response
The Internet infrastructure is growing where there is wealth, but is not growing much in areas in poverty. Poor countries are falling further and further behind. The work being done to address the lack of infrastructure is small relative to the deficit.
A better response
A strong funding for Internet infrastructure is needed, as well as a way of ensuring that access to the infrastructure is not held to ransom by a power elite with investment in the status quo. While the total cost of infrastructure can be quite high, the cost per capita is low, and the value potential of this investment is very positive.

Issue
Investment
Basic observation
Investment has been small, except where foreign investors have been able to find high return opportunities, as in oil and mining and some low wage manufacturing industries (textiles)
Prevailing response
Most of the international investment focus is on FDI type investments and larger scale initiatives. International funds do not want to invest in small scale initiatives, but big programs are often unsuited to the prevailing economic situation and stage of development.
A better response
Investment needs to be suited to the situation, and the best investment is that which serves the community and adds value for the community people. An investment mechanism that delivers financial resources to community level investment initiatives has high value.

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Issue
Jobs
Basic observation
Jobs are a critical missing link in most “south” economies. Without productive value adding jobs, economic progress is not possible.
Prevailing response
Hardly ever mentioned. World Bank has funded projects to expand “subsistence” employment in agriculture. This is not progress.
A better response
The biggest priority in development. Invest in both job creation and in the job related training. Make the economic setting productive and profitable.

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Issue
Knowledge
Basic observation
Knowledge is very powerful, and also a tremendous driver of socio-economic progress.
Prevailing response
The international relief and development community is very committed to the knowledge dimension. There are many initiatives designed to flow knowledge from the “north” to the “south”, and huge expenditures to study in the “south” so that the “north” knows more.
A better response
A better response to the knowledge dimension is to recognize how much knowledge that is of importance in the “south” is already available. “The fact that I do not know something, does not mean that it is not known.” In broad terms, more knowledge flowing from the “south” to the “north” is needed.

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Issue
LFA
Basic observation
Local Fund Agent (LFA) is a creation of the GFATM to give the fund a way of being accountable on the ground
Prevailing response
The Global Fund (GFATM) has contracted with a number of well known organizations to do oversight on the ground regarding use of GFATM resources. While the LFA may be doing an adequate job from the perspective of the GFATM, there is not much transparency for the interested public.
A better response
The LFA is an interesting approach and could have been used as a way to get simple clear management information into the public domain so that there is an accountability to the public about the use of scarce GFATM resources. The simple need is to have a clear understanding of money disbursed and value realized ... and explanations where the results are not strong.

Issue
Land
Basic observation
Land is a very limited resource, and the basis for security and cause of mayhem.
Prevailing response
Land is the source of much power and wealth, and a reason for significant abuses. Land reform has been attempted in many places over the years, and the issues around land still remain contentious. The rule of law has a lot to say about property rights, which include importantly laws related to land.
A better response
Land remains one of the most worrisome aspects of law and human rights. Traditional owners of land should not be dispossessed because of law that ignores history ... and clever law should never override what is fair and just. The critical issue about land is more that is is used well for social good of the community than it is used merely for private profit at the expense of anything and everything else.

Issue
Land degradation
Basic observation
Land degradation is caused more than anything else by people.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has done surprisingly little to help address the land degradation that is going on around the world. Most poor countries have had massive land degradation over the past 50 years, and not much intervention to stop it.
A better response
Land quality is a part of the value equation that should be used in a comprehensive community centric value analysis system. Actors in the relief and development sector and in the corporate community should be held accountable for the impact they are having on the quality of the land.

Issue
Land ownership
Basic observation
Land ownership is contentious, and the subject of great historical abuse.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has encouraged initiatives related to land ownership, but in the main the initiatives have been more mechanical than anything else, and have tended to support an elite establishment and centralization of power over community centric initiatives.
A better response
Land is a critical and limited scarce resource. The key is to use land in the best possible way, no matter who is the owner. An owner with a legitimate provenance should be fairly rewarded for use of land, but at the limit, land should be used so that there is the maximum of common and community good.

Issue
Land-mines
Basic observation
Land-mines are dangerous. In war they have a role, but they continue to be a terrible danger as long as they are in the ground.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has a small and very committed community of people and organizations that are doing wonderful work, but it is far smaller than it should be. As a result ordinary innocent people are being maimed and killed every day, usually in poor communities.
A better response
A community centric management information system would include community impact relating to land-mines ... and show how much more needs to be done. The rich world has been quick to deploy land mines when it was in their interest, and it should be as concerned to remove them when there is no more need.

Issue
Latrines
Basic observation
Basic sanitation improves health significantly.
Prevailing response
There has been a lot of relief and development sector work on latrines and sanitation, but probably not enough.
A better response
Community centric management information would included the state of sanitation and latrines ... and address the issue of why it is that local people and organizations cannot do latrine development themselves.

Issue
Lessons learned
Basic observation
Lessons learned is one of the key differentiators between good and poor organizations.
Prevailing response
Most organizations in the relief and development sector are very weak at learning lessons. Individuals learn a lot, but the poor feedback systems and the lack of institutional memory means that the vast bulk of the lessons are never learned.
A better response
A good management information and decision making system forces lessons to be learned, and for errors to be corrected. This is new in most of the relief and development sector, though it is common in good corporate organizations. UNHCR is the one organization in the RDS that has had a strong lessons learned and feedback culture for decades.

Issue
Leverage
Basic observation
Leverage is a technique used in corporate financial engineering ... derived from a well known physical concept that lets a small force move anything.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector does not use financial thinking very much, if at all, and as a result the rather small resources available for relief and development have rarely been used to leverage socio-economic progress. In fact, because leverage works both positively and negatively, RDS initiatives have often resulted in strengthening constraints rather than catalyzing progress.
A better response
The relief and development sector could make use of leverage to catalyze development, but it will only be able to do this when it better understands the dynamics of relief and development and has the critical management information needed for good decision making. Because relief and development is largely failing because of constraints, removing constraints can give a strong leverage for success.

Issue
Liberty
Basic observation
Liberty is a tremendous value, and one of the most important in quality of life. Liberty is fragile, and needs to be constantly protected.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has a broad commitment to liberty, and to human rights, but in spite of this there are far too many places where liberty is severely compromised. This is constantly documented by a variety of organizations, but progress to expanding the area where liberty is normal is slow.
A better response
Liberty should be a part of the value of a community, and be part of management information about community ... and liberty should be a metric in almost everything that is done. But liberty needs to be encouraged not only as it relates to what one says, but also as it relates to what one is allowed to know. Both government and the private corporate sector lack transparency and much of importance is kept hidden.

Issue
License fees
Basic observation
License fees are a way to remunerate owners of intellectual property and rights.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has not had a big role in the challenge of deploying intellectual property so that the most value is achieved, as well as fairness for all.
A better response
There are probably many opportunities for license fees to work not only for the benefit of organizations in the “north” but arguably also for organizations in the “south”. Much of the natural “property” needed for pharmaceutical progress is located in the “south” ... and should be fairly remunerated.

Issue
Life cycle analysis
Basic observation
Life cycle analysis has always been a feature of good accounting and analysis.
Prevailing response
The accounting in the relief and development sector is generally weak and analysis rarely based on accountancy.
A better response
Life cycle analysis is one of the components of a good management information system for the relief and development sector. Many interventions of the RDS should be changed based on good management analysis, including life cycle analysis.

Issue
Linkage
Basic observation
Linkage in socio-economic development has long been recognized as critical.
Prevailing response
But linkage has rarely been a strong feature of relief and development sector support by the international community. Rather the RDS has moved in the direction of sub-sector focus with very limited thinking about linkage.
A better response
Community centric analysis shows above all else that linkage is critical and makes a huge difference to the outcomes. A good management information system for community centric analysis makes it possible to encourage linkage so that progress and the creation of socio-economic value is maximized.

Issue
Literacy
Basic observation
Literacy is a big factor in communication, and the ability to learn efficiently.
Prevailing response
While the relief and development sector understands the importance of literacy and education, a large population of children still does not have the opportunity to go to school and learn.
A better response
Community centric metrics will show where it is that there are educational deficits, and where help is needed. Education at the basic level does not need to be an international effort, but it can be a local effort with modest external support, and deliver great value.

Issue
Lobbying
Basic observation
Lobbying has become altogether too powerful in modern government
Prevailing response
In poor countries, making payments to government officials and legislators is considered to be corruption, but something called lobbying that has many of the same characteristics in rich countries is legal. The ethics of this are dubious at best.
A better response
Creating public awareness of issues, and building a governance environment so that legislators response to public concerns is one thing, and to be encouraged. An environment where the making of public law is influenced by the rich and powerful and is done for private benefit is a travesty of good democracy.

Issue
Local Law
Basic observation
Local law, and traditional law are found almost everywhere and are the default when national law does not reach the area.
Prevailing response
Local law and traditional law have been heavily discounted by international experts working in the relief and development sector, but in poor and remote areas they become important as the prevailing law.
A better response
The value of local law and traditional law was a feature of British jurisprudence, and helps a lot where the resources are not available to have a more formal system of law, and courts and regulation. The key, after all, is to have justice that is fair and equitable.

Issue
Logical framework
Basic observation
Logical framework is the name given to an approach to project analysis used by USAID
Prevailing response
The concept of the logical framework was to try to formalize the linkages that connected inputs with outputs and to get some numerical metrics to facilitate the assessment of progress.
A better response
The logical framework has not proved to be a effective way of maximizing the performance of relief and development. While it introduced a lot more numerical metrics, they were often easy measures more than being measures that were founded on the value of the outputs.

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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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Issue
NGOs
Basic observation
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are private sector, usually not for profit organizations, that are engaged in various activities broadly associated with the relief and development sector.
Prevailing response
Many NGOs get a large part of their funding from government, and while they are non-governmental in form, they are obliged to follow policies imposed by their funding organizations. While the NGO has some flexibility to operate in ways that a government organization cannot, they are an organizational hybrid with curious characteristics.
A better response
NGOs and the whole of the not for profit private organization sector need to have a better framework for governance and public accountability. Some of the organizations are doing amazing work with modest resources and achieving incredibly valuable results. Other organizations are merely serving their own interests and are diverting resources from good work to merely sustaining the lifestyles of the organization's staff and management.

Issue
NIMBY
Basic observation
Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) is a driver of a lot of decisions
Prevailing response
The views of community leadership gets taken into consideration in rich and powerful communities ... but the same level of concern does not exist in poor countries.
A better response
A much greater care and consideration should be applied to ALL communities. Certain economic activities of importance will have to be located where people are inconvenienced, but they should be remunerated in an appropriate manner.

Issue
National Accounts
Basic observation
The modern systems of national accounts were developed in the 1950s based on work by Dr. Stone at Cambridge.
Prevailing response
National Accounts have been a low priority in global socio-economic data organization.
A better response
Good government accounting and better national account preparation would improve information at the country level. This and a new set of information about community activities and progress can be the basis of far better management information about the relief and development sector.

Issue
Natural disasters
Basic observation
Natural disasters are not new, but they seem to be more frequent and doing more damage.
Prevailing response
There has been a big expansion of global population and development of economic activities in places that would have been avoided in years past. Houses have been built on barrier islands and in flood plains, and are being damaged and destroyed with high frequency. It is to be expected.
A better response
People are able to do amazing things, but the power of nature is huge. The potential for natural disaster should be taken with a high level of seriousness.

Issue
Natural resources
Basic observation
Natural resources are one of the main drivers of economic performance.
Prevailing response
Natural resources are driving a lot of modern economic success, but the value chains associated with the exploitation of natural resources has been distorted in favor of rich and powerful global interests to the detriment of people and communities in poor countries.
A better response
When the public has a better understanding of the value chains associated with the exploitation of natural resources it should be possible for the value chains to be modified so that there is more justice and equity. This has been always resisted by the people who are in control of wealth and power, and is not going to change easily.

Issue
Nuclear bombs
Basic observation
Nuclear bombs use the power of atomic energy in a military device.
Prevailing response
Nuclear bombs were used by the USA in Japan to bring the WWII to an end. A nuclear standoff between the USA (and other allies) and the Soviet Union was a worrying aspect of the “cold war”.
A better response
The damage that can be caused by nuclear devices is well known, and therefore cause for concern. National pride and legitimate concern over real power is driving the growth of nuclear ambition around the world. At the same time, non governmental actors are also potential users of nuclear devices.

Issue
Nuclear power
Basic observation
Nuclear power is a use of atomic power for the peaceful generation of electricity.
Prevailing response
Nuclear power has had a good safety record in spite a few well publicized incidents. The problem with nuclear power is the nuclear contamination that results and how to dispose of it. Many nuclear facilities were built in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, but few have been built since.
A better response
Nuclear power needs to be revisited as a potential source of power. Though it does create nuclear contamination, it does not create greenhouse gases which might well pose a bigger and more immediate threat. Fusion rather than fission is a nuclear development that holds promise, but has not yet proved practical in spite many decades of research.

Issue
Nutrition
Basic observation
Nutrition is a very important dimension of human health.
Prevailing response
The world has evolved into a place where many eat too much and have become obese, and many get to eat too little and have a nutrition deficit. The nutrition deficit for children is a huge impediment to good health and future success. Though there is abundant global food production, there are many places where food shortage is endemic ... and there are no effective mechanisms to address this.
A better response
An economic system where market forces are the only drivers has proved to be very good at the allocation of resources between people with some level of economic power ... purchasing power must exist for economic items to be offered for sale. Market forces work to satisfy demand, but market forces alone do not satisfy needs. For desperately poor and the economically disenfranchised who are hungry, mechanisms beyond the market have to be developed ... and they can be.

From the book THOUSANDS OF ISSUES THAT IMPACT RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT
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Issue
ODA
Basic observation
Official Development Assistance (ODA) has been a big sector for upwards of 50 years.
Prevailing response
In spite a lot of well intentioned efforts, ODA has not been enough to help poor countries get out of poverty. Though there is clearly a poor result after several decades, it is less clear how and why this has been the outcome.
A better response
One way in which ODA would be strengthened is to have a far better range of management information, and system for accountability so that ODA implements more programs that have a favorable value chain for durable socio-economic progress.

Issue
ORDA
Basic observation
Official Relief and Development Assistance (ORDA) includes humanitarian relief with development assistance.
Prevailing response
Much of the criticism associated with ODA also applies to the broader ORDA arena. Relief and development are best considered together because of the large amount of resources that are now consumed in humanitarian relief and the relatively limited amount of funding now used for development investment.
A better response
While the results of ORDA initiatives are fairly visible, and the conclusion can easily be reached that ORDA has delivered rather little relative to the amounts consumed ... the lack of management information and the limited ability to have accountability means that the status quo does not get changed.

Issue
Objectives
Basic observation
Objectives are very helpful in getting some clarity about the direction of an organization.
Prevailing response
But management by objective is not enough, and on its own usually fails. And objectives are often a limiting factor in getting the best results possible.
A better response
Objectives are a good starting point, but objectives need to be associated with other elements of a comprehensive management information package in order to be fully effective.

Issue
Occupational safety
Basic observation
Occupational safety has improved very much over the past fifty years in rich countries.
Prevailing response
The work place is very much safer today than in years past in all the rich countries, but the same improvement has not reached all places of work in all countries. In poor countries working conditions are unacceptably poor, and there is a serious lack of occupational safety.
A better response
Occupational safety needs to be an issue that is addressed by buyers in the global supply chains. Independent oversight and watchdog groups need to have occupational safety on their radar. Rich countries have leverage where the production goes into international supply chains, but there also needs to be improvement in local workplaces supplying local needs.

Issue
Oil
Basic observation
Oil is a driver of the energy sector and the global economy.
Prevailing response
Oil is one of the biggest sectors in the global economy, and is very profitable as the industry is presently organized. The profitability is difficult to understand in relation to the public words of the industry leadership and the industry spokespeople. The industry has evolved into a very large oligopoly that operates with very tight control of its information.
A better response
The public needs to know how the oil industry value chain works, and who are the beneficiaries of all the expenditures of the industry and what values accrue to the industry by virtue of all its payments. The value chain of the oil industry does not benefit all stakeholders, and people that are located in poor countries with oil resources gain unreasonably little from the value of the industry as a whole.

Issue
Opportunity
Basic observation
Give poor people the opportunity to work. Pay them to do what needs to be done. Expectation is that money will be used to buy essentials first.
Prevailing response
This has not been a priority except that there have been many studies of income-generating activities to satisfy a need to appear to be addressing poverty issues
A better response
Give people the opportunity to work. Pay them to do what needs to be done. Expectation is that money will be used to buy essentials first. Don't invest in survival, but invest for progress. Jobs is a solution.

Issue
Opportunity costs
Basic observation
Opportunity cost is the cost of not getting the chance to do something of value.
Prevailing response
The idea of opportunity cost is very valuable in helping to decide between alternative plans, but all forms of cost analysis are missing from the decision making in the relief and development sector.
A better response
As better management information is created to guide the decision making of the relief and development sector, much more sophistication will be needed in decision making, and the idea of opportunity cost will be used heavily in assessing alternative strategies.

Issue
Organization
Basic observation
Organization is a requirement for efficient and effective operations
Prevailing response
Merely having resources is not enough for there to be wealth. Organization is one of the components of a system that works, and in the relief and development sector, organization is quite dysfunctional. This goes a long way to explaining why results in the relief and development sector have been so limited
A better response
Organization needs to be different for different societies and for different purposes. The management information needed for effectiveness in decision making needs to have organization as a component in order for good results to be achieved.

Issue
Organizations
Basic observation
Organizations are entities that engage in activities.
Prevailing response
Organizations in the relief and development sector have many forms from the large institutions like the World Bank and the entities of the United Nations and Governments to the NGOs that are both large and small.
A better response
An organization facilitates activities when it has the functional capacity to do what needs to be done, but this is not guaranteed. Management information is also needed so that an organization can have the organization needed to do what needs to be done in the most efficient and cost efficient manner possible. Decisions derived from management information can be a lot better than actions derived simply from established process or procedure.

Issue
Organized crime
Basic observation
Organized crime is an economic force to be reckoned with. Rather little attention is paid to this as part of the process of ORDA.
Prevailing response
There are various initiatives that are mounted from time to time by the international law enforcement entities. This is not coordinated usually with ORDA initiatives.
A better response
As better relief and development information is compiled, follow the trail of fund flows to help address the issues of organized crime and the linkages to decision making by government and corporate leadership

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Issue
PRSP
Basic observation
Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP)
Prevailing response
A creation of the World Bank to clarify government policy regarding poverty. Good for consultants but a clumsy way of going about getting better government and governance.
A better response
Instead of ad hoc PRSP consultancies, the relief and development sector needs a lot more management information that is integrated with the operations of government and the institutional framework for decision making.

Issue
PWYP
Basic observation
Publish What You Pay (PWYP) is a private initiative to pressure on corporate organizations in the extractive industry to make public what they pay in any country.
Prevailing response
The PWYP organization has recognized a serious problem and is taking steps to put pressure on industry. The PWYP initiative has recognized a serious problem, but the solution being proposed is not adequate to the situation.
A better response
The techniques of reporting called for by PWYP are not going to be accepted by all industry organizations in the sector, and participants will be at a disadvantage. The demand for transparency and accountability needs to come from communities where the industry value chains are creating unacceptable value destruction, and it is the public that needs to play a big role in putting pressure on the industry as a whole.

Issue
Partnership
Basic observation
Partnership is an old idea and useful as a form of teamwork.
Prevailing response
Some ideas of partnership that had professional value, as in the old partnerships of the professional firms in the accountancy and legal profession have been overtaken by new forms of organization where some of the form is retained with very little of the substance.
A better response
The facade of partnership in some areas needs to be replaced by an organizational form that really reflects what is going on. In other areas the idea of partnership and teamwork needs to be expanded and structured so that there are tangible organizations that can work in an organized way to accomplish important activities. The relatively recent public – private partnerships that are reinvigorating areas in the urban centers of cities in the USA are an example.

Issue
Peace
Basic observation
Peace is a lot more than the lack of war ... it is a state where consensus and agreement and progress are coexisting.
Prevailing response
The art of war has been researched and massive investments have been made in technology to wage war. Peace has been achieved, as in the cold war, through the idea of massive military capability that would deter war and thus deliver peace. Peace-building is broadly thought of as the removal of the assets and organizations of war.
A better response
Peace needs to have investment so that war can not from any perspective be considered to be a better way. Progress needs to be achieved without anyone feeling that war is needed to ensure that there is equity and justice. A continuum is needed so that the world can progress towards more wealth and more justice. A large part of a successful peace maintenance activity has to be effective management information so that people can see what is fair and right.

Issue
People
Basic observation
People are the biggest single economic asset on the planet.
Prevailing response
The role of people in economic progress and the success of society has not been fully recognized. Democracy is not about government processes that can be embraced by the people, and elections where people vote, but is much more. It is the process that is needed so that people can govern themselves, and this does not start at a central national government level, but in communities.
A better response
People have always organized, and have done so as communities. People have always figured out ways to get things done and to get some level of fairness and equity into the community. To get good results for people, then good results for communities where people live is a solid start. Management information at the community level can show progress and performance that impacts people.

Issue
Performance
Basic observation
Performance is both absolute and relative.
Prevailing response
Actual performance and results delivered has been almost totally ignored in the allocation, management and control of relief and development resources. Proposals and projections are a big part of the project cycle, and the measurement of performance has little role in RDS.
A better response
Performance can be measured in many ways. A starting point is the idea of getting a good relationship between costs incurred and results achieved. Results achieved need to be expressed as value. But performance should go further ... achieving 100% of what is possible in a tough situation is different from the same absolute results, but representing only 20% of what is possible in an easier situation. Value has many dimensions, and value can change for better or worse over time. Similarly cost has variability that needs understanding ... the best cost is not always the lowest cost as for example when a higher cost item is available and the low cost item is not.

Issue
Phantom Aid
Basic observation
A low proportion of aid resources reaches needy beneficiaries. The substantial amount of aid money that does not reach the needy has been labeled “phantom aid” by some concerned NGOs.
Prevailing response
There is a dialog about fund flows and use of “north” consultants and expenses that make life comfortable but do not help development. Change is not a priority. Maintaining the status quo is the “north” goal.
A better response
Measuring relief and development fund flows at all levels using value chain methodology will show clearly where resources originate and what they are used for. Good management systems at community level will improve understanding of development performance and highlight how little resource money every reached communities where needy beneficiaries are located.

Issue
Philanthropy
Basic observation
Philanthropy is an important component of the resources that are available for the relief and development sector.
Prevailing response
Philanthropy is a source of resource for relief and development, but the management and decision making that is used results in a quite dysfunctional resultant performance. There are examples of excellence, but mostly resources are used ineffectively and the durable results are small.
A better response
The value realized from philanthropic funding for relief and development activities can be improved immensely by the implementation of a universal management information system about relief and development sector performance. Good information can improve allocation of resources and end up getting a very much improved performance in the RDS


Issue
Polarization
Basic observation
Polarization is one of the ways in which relief and development success is constrained. Instead of polarization there needs to be agreement and consensus.
Prevailing response
Far too little effort is being spent on helping to stop polarization so that polarization does not lead to something even worse.
A better response
Understanding how polarization comes about is a start ... but work needs to be done so that there is consensus and steps taken to implement conflict resolution and help in every way to keep peace and have progress.

Issue
Politics
Basic observation
Politics is a normal part of a free society, but it is not an arena for wimps.
Prevailing response
Politics seems to have taken on a very big role in relief and development, and is often a high priority for reform. Sadly politics is rarely a direct way to improve economic performance, though it can easily serve to disrupt economic performance.
A better response
All politics is local is an accepted idea in many parts of the “:north”, but the idea is rarely extended into “south” politics, where power and politics have been concentrated and centralized to the detriment of local communities and their populations.

Issue
Pollution
Basic observation
Pollution has been accepted as a reasonable by-product of industrial activity.
Prevailing response
The industrial revolution turned green fields and pristine rivers into deeply polluted areas toxic to animals, fish and even humans. But in the “north” laws and regulations now require industry to operate with little pollution and to clean up the mess.
A better response
Sadly, the low pollution and clean up standards are not universal, and much of the global industrial world is still polluting and doing environmental damage. The cost of environmental damage needs to be better understood and taken into consideration when planning and making development investments.

Issue
Ports (seaports)
Basic observation
Ports are a critical part of infrastructure, arguably as important today in the global economy as at any time in history.
Prevailing response
There are a few ports that have been modernized and made world class, with many that do not reach these very high standards of performance. Poor countries have ports that hold them back and are inadequate for high productivity low cost trade.
A better response
Getting infrastructure upgraded is a capital intensive process, and rarely funded adequately in relief and development sector programs. The corporate sector has seen fit to invest heavily in high performance modern ports where they see trade as an economic driver for the country and as a profit driver for the companies.

Issue
Potable water
Basic observation
Potable water is basic to human survival.
Prevailing response
The idea that perhaps 2 billion people in the world do not have clean potable water is a symptom of total failure of the relief and development sector and the institutions that have a governance responsibility. A deficit in potable water is inexcusable.
A better response
Community centric relief and development metrics would help enormously to identify not only the broad scope of the problem but some of the specifics community by community. In some cases water can be made available quite quickly and at low cost. In other cases more investment is needed. But the cost of not having healthy water is far higher than it would cost to make good relief and development investments in water systems

Issue
Poverty
Basic observation
Poverty is a result of a lot of factors, and a symptom of relief and development failure rather than being the cause of the failure.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has identified poverty as a serious problem ... and then responded by commissioning reports and studies and preparing a range of publications about poverty. Few of the studies describe much success in poverty mitigation.
A better response
There can be success using a Community Centric Sustainable Development (CCSD) approach. Give poor people the opportunity to work. Pay them to do what needs to be done. Expectation is that money will be used to buy essentials first. Use information so that there is value adding not value destruction. Use information to connect resources to development opportunities.

Issue
Power abuse
Basic observation
Power is very important in the behavior of markets and in the associated economic performance.
Prevailing response
Power is abused in many different ways. The growth in the concentration of economic power is a manifestation of a possible economic behavior, but the growth of economic concentration is often evidence of the abuse of power and the ability of the powerful to manipulate economic events to their own benefit.
A better response
Power abuse is much more difficult when there are good systems in place for financial accounting to be reliable and for the public and for stakeholders to be adequately informed. Value chain analysis can help identify where power abuse is taking place, and who might be responsible. The issue of power abuse applies both at the individual level and for corporate organizations. The impact of power abuse is usually most evident among the population of poor communities.

Issue
Power generation
Basic observation
Power generation is a good indicator of economic development, and also a constraint on economic development.
Prevailing response
Power generation capacity used to be a measure of industrial progress, and the industrial revolution was driven by electrical power, and there was substantial investment to ensure that electrical power did not constrain development but facilitated growth. In the “south” for the past fifty years electric power has been a constraining factor with far too little investment made, and the power generating organizations often incapable of effective operation.
A better response
The power generation sector in the “south” has become a mess. It has been starved of essential investment in capacity and has also failed to use its installed capacity well. It has frequently had totally inept commercial operations, and all sorts of interference from outside people and organizations with power. Yet it is vital to socio-economic progress and success. Simple old fashioned basics are needed ... to start ... and then what technology can do should be deployed so that power is not a constraint.

Issue
Power use
Basic observation
Power use should be increased so that economic performance can be improved.
Prevailing response
Power use is rarely talked about in poor countries. The talk is about how far women walk to get water and firewood, and how far children walk to go to school. Most places do not have electricity ... and in poor parts of cities, families will share one light bulb.
A better response
Yet use of power is an immensely helpful way to improve economic performance. Instead of walking, a motor-bike is a huge improvement in mobility. Modern construction in the “north” has high horsepower machinery to do everything ... yet in the “south” everything must be done by hand. It makes no sense, and without more power (horse-power), there will never be major development progress.

Issue
Prices
Basic observation
Prices are a key feature of any economic system. Market determination of prices is usually better than a price system administered by government. But prices are complex with many unintended consequences.
Prevailing response
The ORDA community has little or no practical experience of prices in the enterprise environment, and their planning and projections around prices have been BAD and are a root cause of much development failure over the last 30 years.
A better response
Prices are determined in part by the market interaction of supply and demand, also by the relationship between cost and value and affordability, and also by the relationship between this product and other substitution products. The system is further complicated by various government interventions around subsidies, duties and trade restrictions or dumping. Good development requires that prices are a positive factor for development rather than the dumb situation that prevails. (see also value chain)

Issue
Primary education
Basic observation
Primary education is a basic for children ... and probably best done with the involvement of schools and teachers.
Prevailing response
Education, especially primary education has long been recognized as the foundation for relief and development progress and success. Though there has been progress in delivering more primary education, the anticipated development progress has not been achieved.
A better response
A lack of education is a constraint to success in development, and therefore it is absolutely essential that children have education and in addition become literate. But this education and literacy is not worth very much unless there are economic opportunities available to the educated children so that they can have a productive and economically valuable life. Wherever there are educated workers, and there are work opportunities, it is always possible to have economic progress.

Issue
Primary health care (PHC)
Basic observation
Health is enormously valuable, and basic primary health care services should arguable be accessible by everyone.
Prevailing response
There has been a huge commitment to PHC over the past 30 years, but the progress has been eroded in many parts of the “south” by a failure or the ORDA system and the broader failure of government, the economy and public finance. It is an embarrassment in many parts of the “south”
A better response
Getting a reasonable standard of primary health care (PHC) so that it is accessible in every community is a reasonable goal. Good health has value, and efficient delivery of PHC is not expensive when it is done appropriately.

Issue
Priorities
Basic observation
Priorities are very helpful in deciding what to do, but it is also important to have priorities determined by the right group of people.
Prevailing response
Priorities are mainly developed by donors, but major international institutions and by NGOs and others in the “north”. Very little input from the people in the “south” goes into priority determination.
A better response
Priorities should be determined by people in the “south” and if possible by representatives of people in actual communities in the “south”. Most communities know a lot about themselves and the critical problems, and even how these problems might be addressed. If community priorities were addressed the performance of relief and development would be improved substantially

Issue
Privatization
Basic observation
Privatization has a place, but privatization of government owned entities has been of questionable benefit.
Prevailing response
Very bad government organizations do economic damage, but government services run by high profit international organizations can do even more economic damage. Government ownership of high potential economic assets is a wasted opportunity, but foreign ownership of these same assets is likely to be a lost opportunity as well. Privatization has made a lot of fortunes, but rarely in the right way.
A better response
Government is rarely a good owner and manager of a production entity, but neither are unscrupulous and uncontrolled foreign investors. Privatization needs to be carried out with a deep understanding of the various value propositions, and the local people should be included as one of the key stakeholders in all decision making. Unless there is care and public accountability, the power structure is the inappropriate beneficiary to the exclusion of everyone else.

Issue
Process
Basic observation
The ORDA process for relief and development is complex and ineffective. It is often based on a project type of organization that has proved in many cases to be anti-developmental
Prevailing response
There were major changes in process in the 1970s, but since then, in spite of major changes in technology and management systems, the ORDA community still operates using essentially the same set of processes and procedures. The process is characterized by little or no useful information.
A better response
By adding measurements that are timely, reliable and easily available, the performance or relief and development can improve rapidly. Using ICT it is possible for data collection, analysis and reporting to be almost instantaneous, and for decisions to be made that reflect best possible performance.

Issue
Pro Doc
Basic observation
The Project Document (Pro Doc) is a ubiquitous document that defines how development is to be implemented.
Prevailing response
The typical Pro Doc is an unfortunate mix of detail and generalization. It is not detailed enough to serve as a definitive plan for implementation, but its detail constrain implementing organizations from doing the work in the best possible way.
A better response
The Project Cycle as developed by the World Bank is dysfunctional. It is expensive and does not add value to the process of development except for the money itself. The process and project cycle is almost totally value destruction, and goes a long way to explain how and why relief and development has been such a failure.

Issue
Professional sector
Basic observation
The professional sector is very well developed in the “north”, with accountants, lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers and others all associated with professional associations and well represented in leadership circles.
Prevailing response
The professional sector in relief and development has been almost totally ignored. Many professional assignments are carried out, not by local professionals who know both the professional area, but also know how it is applied locally, are usually ignored and instead the work is done by international experts with little local knowledge and quite often with limited professional expertise as well. It is rare, for example, for accountants to be retained to do numerical work with the right professional objectives and terms of reference.
A better response
The strengthening of the local professional sector in the “south” needs to be a priority. The widespread use of local professionals with international cooperation can be the basis for improved professional performance and improved recognition of this performance globally.

Issue
Profit
Basic observation
Profit is a key measure of corporate performance. It is simple to measure, and it is a reasonable approximation of what is most important for corporate success.
Prevailing response
Profit is usually regarded as a “bad” thing by many in the NGO community and many in the relief and development sector. This is unfortunate, because without profit, hardly anything that the “north” takes for granted would exist. Rather, the “north” would be sliding into greater and greater poverty ... a very bad outcome.
A better response
Profit is a very important measure, but it should be supplemented with others so that the quality of profit can also be quantified in a meaningful way. The best tool for understanding corporate profit is value chain analysis which can help to explain how corporate profit is generated, which stakeholders are benefiting and whether there are stakeholders who are being treated inappropriately.

Issue
Project
Basic observation
The project form of organization was developed many years ago better to manage “one off” activities like major construction. It has since become the typical modality for official relief and development activities.
Prevailing response
Almost every activity of the official relief and development assistance (ORDA) community is managed with the project form of organization. It is well suited to major construction works, but is badly suited to providing support for activities, like education and health, which need to be recurrent for ever.
A better response
A better organizational form is one which explicitly identifies activities, the involved organizations and the beneficiary communities. With this it is possible to benchmark progress and do analytical management accounting to measure progress and performance.

Issue
Project cycle
Basic observation
The project cycle as practiced by the World Bank has these steps:
Identification
Preparation
Appraisal
Negotiation
Implementation
Evaluation
Prevailing response
The project cycle has a lot of donor supported analytical effort in the initial stages, but very little during the implementation stage. Ex-post facto analysis tries to explain failure, rather than having effective management intervention and oversight during implementation to solve problems as they arise.
A better response
Organizations like the World Bank and donor organizations need to be very clear about responsibility, and then do accounting and have accountability centered on the responsible parties. Only use the project form of organization where it is a large discreet activity with a responsible implementing entity.

Issue
Project modality
Basic observation
The project modality is an undesirable structure for general development, while being well suited to unique major construction works.
Prevailing response
Almost everything in the ORDA world is done under a project modality, and as a result there is almost no institutional memory and living history of performance.
A better response
Where there is implementation, whether project modality or otherwise have a strong measurement component that tracks actual progress against plan and generally accepted best practice. Have a strong feedback process and clearly identified responsible parties.

Issue
Progress
Basic observation
There are many macro-indicators that show that the aggregate progress in combating poverty has been poor
Prevailing response
The response to indicators of failed development is to request more money for further efforts along similar lines ... with little or no management information to support the resource allocation.
A better response
A new set of metrics is needed that will keep track of progress at the community level. This has no aggregation and people can be held accountable in ways that are impossible in bigger situations. Amazing progress has been achieved in some locations, while in other locations there is value destruction and failure

Issue
Promotion
Basic observation
Promotion is a big part of marketing, in part to the potential customer and in part to decision makers that might regulate and control the product or industry.
Prevailing response
A lot of promotion has negative aspects, such as seeking unfair competitive advantage from the regulatory agencies, but it also has good aspects.
A better response
There is a huge amount of misinformation, and promotion is needed to get better information into the hands of both potential customers and potential policy makers. A lot of decisions are made quickly by legislators and regulators, and it is important that they are informed well.

Issue
Prostitution
Basic observation
It seems that prostitution is as old as human society.
Prevailing response
Prostitution is not an insignificant component of economic activity. It thrives in both rich and poor communities, though there are different drivers. The biggest relief and development sector intervention with prostitution is in connection with the prevention of HIV-AID.
A better response
The relief and development assistance community should pay a lot more attention to the economic impact drivers of prostitution and the societal damage, including STDs and HIV-AIDS associated with prostitution. Sadly poverty pushes good people into prostitution in ways that are very damaging, especially young children, both boys and girls.

Issue
Public finance
Basic observation
Public finance is the way a government funds its activities. It is of vital importance in a modern economy, but strong systems of public finance are absent in most of the “south”
Prevailing response
Public finance has been practically ignored by relief and development experts, and it has failed. The IMF solutions tend to be problematic for development. The sector is replete with bad lending and bad borrowing, and an almost totally failed information framework for decision making and accountability.
A better response
Reform of the public finance sector. More lending. An expectation that loans will be repaid. Good basic accounting everywhere in government. Basic stuff ... nothing fancy. Global support for anti-corruption measures that damage the public finance market.

Issue
Public relations
Basic observation
Public relations has become an essential part of both the corporate world and politics.
Prevailing response
There are many activities going on to help communicate information that an organization wants to be known. This information is rarely objective and much is spin and misinformation.
A better response
There is a need to have not only the information that an organization wants to communicate, but also the information that legitimate stakeholders want to know. The latter is not often available, though there is a lot more dialog about “transparency” than in years past. Bottom line, however, there is very little accountability to the public and all stakeholders.

Issue
Public safety
Basic observation
The performance of police, fire departments and emergency medical services has an important impact on community and quality of life.
Prevailing response
These critical services are not mainstream and a high priority in routine ORDA programming. In many cases political leadership has control over these services to the detriment of the public at large.
A better response
A high level of professionalism in the public safety services makes a big difference in quality of life in any community. They can be professional and they can be volunteer at the same time. These services should be given attention in any community level planning.

Issue
Publicity
Basic observation
Publicity is good, and even where it is bad publicity, it is good.
Prevailing response
Publicity has many different faces, but has become a critical factor in success in many formerly publicity free areas. Publicity is associated with public relations, advertising and the communications function, and not much associated with solid objective information about performance.
A better response
Publicity is what an organization wants to control and pursue. However, most of the public and the stakeholders want relevant information about an organization and its performance, which may or may not be the same thing. Publicity that is driven by an organization's communications agenda needs to be supplemented by what the public and stakeholders want to know.

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Issue
Basic observation
Prevailing response
A better response

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Issue
R&D cycle
Basic observation
Research and development (R&D) has a natural cycle that needs to be respected.
Prevailing response
Research and development is a key reason why many rich countries have progressed, but in many ways R&D has moved from the a cycle driven by science to one that is driven by development and post development commercial potential.
A better response
The amount of value that is latent in the work or researchers is likely to be far greater than the value that moves through development into commercial exploitation. The typical R&D cycle is driven by corporate profit potential and not by socio-economic value potential. The impact of this is, of course, that research that would be invaluable for the cure of tropical diseases is often ignored ... it is not profitable.

Issue
Railways
Basic observation
Railways were at the center of the industrial revolution in Europe and North America, and then became the core of global land transport.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has done very little in the last 50 years to improve land transportation, and especially railways. A few branch railways have been created to carry minerals from mines to seaports for export, and some routes have been developed, but not many.
A better response
The railway transport network is critical in a modern economy, and major investment is needed both to modernize and to expand. The fact that the railways have been almost totally ignored by the relief and development sector experts is symptomatic of the problem that has caused endemic failure almost everywhere.

Issue
Recovery
Basic observation
In a crisis, recovery is the stage when the immediate urgency is past, and when the situation has stabilized. It is the process to return to pre-crisis normalcy.
Prevailing response
Rescue may be characterized as essential action at any cost. Relief is a phase to stabilize the situation. Recovery should be well managed with complete accounting and accountability. Too often
A better response
the recovery phase continues with too little planning and far too little accounting and accountability. Recovery should be well planned, and its implementation should include very good accounting and accountability, a high level of transparency and clarity and very measurable rapid progress.

Issue
Recurrent expenditures
Basic observation
Recurrent expenditures are a category of expenditures where the expenditure is needed year after year.
Prevailing response
Recurrent expenditures are not easily funded by the relief and development sector donors because of their commitment to short term project type financing. The RDS expert thinking about financial issues related to government is not very clear, with an unwillingness on the one hand to finance true capital and development expenditures and an unwillingness also to fund long term recurrent expenditures.
A better response
The financial reporting of government needs to be more accurate and more timely, and the financing of government should be approached with a clear understanding of what needs to be funded and how best to do it. The project cycle that is now common needs to be replaced by sector wide financing and allocation of resources that truly reflects needs and local priorities.

Issue
Reform
Basic observation
Reform is about change and making organizations and process more suited to what needs to be done.
Prevailing response
Reform is often big on discussion and very weak on actual change. In the ORDA community many organizations have mandates and governance structures that make reform and change very difficult. In these circumstances there is a lot of talk and advocacy about reform, but virtually no implementation.
A better response
To get effective reform, it is essential to recognize what can be changed and work with what is possible. In the case of ORDA performance reform of existing institutions to use new and effective development processes is near impossible, but the creation of new institutional arrangements is a much easier alternative.

Issue
Refugees (see also IDPs)
Basic observation
There has been a crisis of refugees on an ongoing basis for decades, mainly in the “south”.
Prevailing response
Donor fatigue set in many years ago. Programming for refugees was a priority in the early 1980s but has since become a mere part of much bigger global crisis of failed development.
A better response
The problem of “creating” refugees has to be addressed. Where do refugees come from and why? Address this problem. And make it possible for voluntary repatriation of refugees because communities are adequately secure and there are economic opportunities.

Issue
Relief
Basic observation
Humanitarian relief is of huge value in the aftermath of disaster
Prevailing response
But relief does much less in situations where the disaster is economic and ongoing for long periods of time, in some cases years and years. Relief has been funded more and more instead of funding development, and the result has been totally predictable. In general relief expenditures serve to deliver value destruction, and accordingly should be minimized in favor of development and value creation.
A better response
Relief is needed from time to time. During the rescue phases, there needs to be action, and accounting reflects this, but in the relief phase there should be a lot of accounting, and performance should be subject to measurement and the assessment of performance. Relief can be made very much more cost effective with good metrics and management processes.

Issue
Regulation
Basic observation
Regulation is needed in almost all areas of economic activity, but it should be appropriate.
Prevailing response
Poor countries tend to have the worst of regulation and the worst of freedom. Many critical industries are constrained by regulation that stops the deployment of best technologies, and a host of regulations that limit international trade. Yet where some regulation might be valuable, there is none, as for example in connection with workplace safety and the abuse of child labor.
A better response
The role of regulation needs to be the subject of careful metrics, and the impact of regulation needs to be monitored as a routine. Also appropriate metrics need to be in place so that market information can help to determine the need for some form of regulation to ensure that the value chains are not resulting in unfair allocation of benefit between the various parties. Regulation should be used to encourage a sound economic framework.

Issue
Religion
Basic observation
Religion is a powerful part of humanity, and a useful foundation for ethics. It can be a force for cooperation, though it also has been used to divide and justify violence.
Prevailing response
Two trends are going on. One is trying to make religion more involved with government and society, and one that is trying to remove religion from government and society. Both tend to polarize and create instability if not outright violence.
A better response
Building a civil society based on the ethics found in most religions can be a way forward that serves to improve social and economic performance at the community level.

Issue
Rescue
Basic observation
When there is a crisis, such as a natural disaster, rescue is the process of doing what is needed to save lives.
Prevailing response
Rescue is a process that is done in the best possible way given the circumstances with the single objective of saving lives and reducing ongoing risk of further death and injury. Many places are very ill prepared to handle rescue in an effective way.
A better response
The need for rescue should be reduced by better planning of community and society at large. To the extent that rescue is needed, there should be good thinking about what resources should be easily accessible to implement rescue at a moments notice. Everyone should be better prepared than they are. First responders should be well trained, and well equipped, but they are only a part of being prepared for rescue.

Issue
Remittances
Basic observation
Remittances are now thought to be bigger than official relief and development assistance (ORDA).
Prevailing response
Many very poor countries now receive more from remittances than any other flow of foreign exchange. This is possible because immigrant workers in the “north” are able to work and earn decent wages relative to the poverty in their countries of origin.
A better response
The possibility of expanding remittances is constrained by a growing backlash against immigrants, and increasing interest in finding ways to tax these remittances as they arrive in the beneficiary country. Some good analytical work is needed to ensure that there are good arguments against government taxation on top of the remittance flows.

Issue
Research
Basic observation
Research is vital, and can results in major progress as in the case of the “green revolution” in South Asia in the 1960s and 1970s. But a lot of research serves to divert scarce resources from other more urgent activities.
Prevailing response
Academic research proposals pass donor scrutiny more easily than proposals to use the results of analysis that has long field validation
A better response
Use of resources by the academic research community should be subject to rigorous independent cost effectiveness analysis. The goal is not to stop research but to stop the waste of scarce resources.

Issue
Resources
Basic observation
Resources are far more than just money
Prevailing response
Money is usually considered to be the constraining factor, and then a lack of money is used to excuse poor development progress
A better response
Think in terms of all the types of resources: People, Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Social Organizations, Business Organizations, Knowledge, etc as well as money and organize so that all resources are used in the most effective manner possible

Issue
Restraint of trade
Basic observation
Restraint of trade applies throughout the many supply chains.
Prevailing response
Restraint of trade is a standard operating practice in order to get competitive advantage and earn more profit. There are laws and regulations to stop some of the abuse associated with restraint of trade and monopoly and anti-trust, but mcuh of this does not apply internationally.
A better response
The value chain analysis techniques need to be developed so that it is more and more difficult for organizations to abuse the market conditions simply for profit maximization to the detriment of societal value.

Issue
Results
Basic observation
Results are all that really matters. Better to get good results with small use of resources ... than simply to consume a lot of resources.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has been dominated by a project cycle management regime and measures that either relate to the disbursements made --- common to the World Bank, or some activity measure from, for example, the USAID's logical framework. In both cases the results and costs are not appropriately linked together.
A better response
The best performance in the relief and development sector is going to be achieved as soon as there are solid metrics that relate expenditures with results. The only reason for making expenditures is to get results, and the best expenditures are those that get the most results. Very basic.

Issue
Rights
Basic observation
Rights are being abused in all sorts of ways. Rights are a foundation of an ethical civilized society.
Prevailing response
A lot of programs have a “rights” focus, and especially advocacy about rights and disseminating information about the abuse of rights.
A better response
Far more should be done to act so that there is less abuse of rights. The “fixing” needs to be more effective, and generally this will be best done by squeezing out the bad behavior and replacing it with better. Set the stage for a wider base of economic opportunity.

Issue
Roads
Basic observation
Roads are a key component of infrastructure. Without roads the productivity of a community drops from automobile level power to animal and manual power levels.
Prevailing response
All successful economies have a high investment in roads. The failed “south” have bad roads both at the inter-city level and farm feeder roads. In some cases in the “south” good roads have been built at obscene international level costs so that the local economy is bankrupted by the debt service.
A better response
Roads should be built using local contractors with a level of machinery investment that is justified by the quality of the road needed and its intended use. Roads need to be “all weather” but they do not need to be super smooth. They need to be safe and not damage vehicles. Road building should be a driver of economic activity and building durable value in the economy.

Issue
Royalties
Basic observation
Royalties are a way that the owner of intellectual property or other rights gets paid.
Prevailing response
One of the challenges is for royalty payments to be reasonable in all regards. Up to now the value chain for many industries seems to have an inappropriate structure that ensures the foreign stakeholders will benefit while local stakeholders will experience value destruction. This is a serious situation that needs to be addressed.
A better response
Royalties should be paid to remunerate legitimate owners of rights, whether property rights or intellectual rights of various sorts. Sadly much of the status quo results in value destruction for many of the stakeholders based in the “south” even while huge profits and benefits are accruing to the “north” stakeholders.

Issue
Rule of Law
Basic observation
The idea of rule of law sounds good, but it relies on the law and the legal system being good. This is not always the case.
Prevailing response
There has been a broad use of law “exported” from the north to the south, and also a modification of law so that the north has a level of control over the global economic and societal playing field. This has got to the stage where the “rule of law” it is probably now a destabilizing element rather than being a force for universal good.
A better response
Rule of law should include not only statutory law, and international law and “north” law but also the laws that are indigenous to the community. The idea of good law incorporating custom as is the case in the British legal system is very relevant in embracing all law as the foundation for the rule of law and not just “our” law!

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Issue
SNA
Basic observation
The UN System of National Accounts (SNA) was developed by combining some economic ideas with some accounting concepts, and especially the idea of a “balance sheet”
Prevailing response
The SNA was introduced by the UN almost 50 years ago, but it has not been used widely as a way of getting better management information for the relief and development sector.
A better response
The SNA could be developed as a way of strengthening the management information dimension of the relief and development sector. It is probably possible to modify a lot of the SNA work so that it can be used as a framework for performance analysis at the community level and area level as well as at the country level.

Issue
Sanitation
Basic observation
Good sanitation is a key component of good health. Many diseases have their origin in unsanitary conditions of various sorts.
Prevailing response
There is a recognition that good sanitation is an important part of good health, but effective action to make sure that good sanitation is the norm has not been implemented. The reasons why not may perhaps be explained by the “phantom aid” phenomenon.
A better response
Community Centric Sustainable Development can address sanitation in a practical way at the community level and at modest cost. By documenting the role of sanitation in improving health and the quality of life in a community, sanitation can play a role in justifying community finance.

Issue
Savings
Basic observation
Savings are usually considered a good indicator of a strong economy.
Prevailing response
Solid consumer savings have not been a big part of the US economy, but some sort of savings are taking place in the US economy, and it is this saving that is driving the success of the economy. Two areas of appearance of savings are the home equity increases that are taking place in very leveraged housing purchases, and huge corporate profits, often by companies that have international value chains with much of the profit accruing to US stakeholders (in this case managers and stockholders).
A better response
The global economy is functioning well in part because countries like China are saving at a very high rate, and have been investing in both their local area and in the international capital markets in various ways.

Issue
Secondary education
Basic observation
Secondary education is perhaps even more important than primary education.
Prevailing response
Secondary education (as well as primary education) has grown impressively over the last thirty years. There are limits to the progress of secondary education in terms of both quality and quantity, but in absolute terms, many more children are getting significant secondary education than in years past.
A better response
The success of eduction is not going to be realized until there are matching opportunities where educated youth can be employed and do useful work. In addition to the investment in primary and secondary education, there also needs to be investment in jobs.

Issue
Secrecy
Basic observation
Secrecy is rarely a good solution
Prevailing response
Secrecy is used widely through the relief and development sector. The widespread use of secrecy makes it impossible to have effective management information and makes it possible for corruption to flourish. Accountability and transparency are impossible when there is a broad culture of secrecy.
A better response
Some activities should reasonably be secret, but not many. The word transparency has been used widely now for almost 20 years, yet secrecy and transparency cannot exist together in any meaningful way.

Issue
Securitization
Basic observation
Securitization is a critical tool in modern banking and finance.
Prevailing response
Securitization is a way for banks to convert their balance sheet assets into some for of liquidity. The techniques involve bundling similar paper assets together and then begin in a position to sell these bundles to other banks. By doing this banks are able to manage their assets and their liquidity to have the best possible earnings.
A better response
In the rich north, almost everything can be securitized in some way, and then financed. In the south, almost none of this is done, and the financing possibilities needed are just not available at the present time. This is an area where a lot of work is needed. Some work is starting with the micro finance sub-sector.

Issue
Self Help Groups
Basic observation
Self help groups (SHGs) are a common feature in micro finance
Prevailing response
A self help group (SHG) can have many forms, but broadly such a group operates to try to help the economic standard of each of its members. They tend to be self governed and follow sensible rules that the members have decided on.
A better response
The SHG is a great example of the sort of informal (or formal) local community based organization (CBO) that should be encouraged because most of what they do is value creation, and with help could be made considerably more efficient.

Issue
Seminars
Basic observation
Seminars are a very good way of sharing information, of learning and of network building.
Prevailing response
But seminars are not a modality for development on their own. Seminars have become a component of “phantom aid” and have costs but often no development value. A lot of seminars have a lot of cost associated with getting ready, researching and presentation and almost no costs with ensuring that there are valuable durable results
A better response
The ORDA accounting and accountability should not only “cost” a seminar, but also be thorough about the value being derived, if any. There should be transparency and reporting for all seminars that do not generate value more than their costs

Issue
Sex trade
Basic observation
The sex trade is big business and should not be ignored. It facilitates the spread of disease while also encouraging tourism and attracting conferences.
Prevailing response
Generally better not to spend much time thinking about this. It will go away. Ignore the terrible impact of abuse and human trafficking.
A better response
By being proactive it is possible to improve the situation substantially. Sexually transmitted diseases are a crisis and with HIV-AIDS can be lethal. Tourism is one of the biggest sources of national revenue and cannot be ignored. Make it as safe as possible. Monitor the industry so that human rights abuses are addressed.

Issue
Sex tourism
Basic observation
Sex tourism has been a big economic driver in several places.
Prevailing response
Sex tourism in Thailand is perhaps the best known, but it was a feature of the tourism sector in many places around the world for a number of years pre-AIDS. The economic benefits were considerable though the moral dimensions were questionable. In the case of Thailand, profits from sex tourism were eventually able to help investment in very many other economic activities.
A better response
The role of sex tourism in facilitating durable development has been largely ignored by the relief and development sector experts. The booming tourist business in places where sex was easily accessible made all sorts of other economic activities possible. Sex was almost totally value adding ... with the cash flow very positive and available within the local economy and providing strong multiplier effect.

Issue
Shelter
Basic observation
Shelter is a house, and in turn house is also home where a family grows. It is of huge importance in a successful society.
Prevailing response
Usually considered in a material way, with a goal of building houses, perhaps.
A better response
Shelter can be both a benefit from development and a way of progressing development. The process of building houses is also a creation of jobs, and the houses then become homes with durable value. A lot of economic success is associated with the housing sector but it is capital intensive.

Issue
Slavery
Basic observation
Slavery ought to be history, but failed economics has resulted in economic slavery for many, and greed is adding to the problem.
Prevailing response
In general local government, ORDA leadership and the corporate world downplay the scale of this problem and do little about it.
A better response
Community centric metrics will make the scale of the problem more visible, and with measurement the problem can be addressed. The solution in most cases is improved community economics

Issue
Slums
Basic observation
Slums have developed in every urban area in the world, both “north” and “south”.
Prevailing response
There are many. Ignore the problem. Bulldoze the shantytown so people move. Build low income housing projects, etc.
A better response
Understand why people live in slums. Make migration to the city and the slums a less attractive alternative by improving non-city economics and opportunities

Issue
Social security
Basic observation
A safety net for people either when old or disabled.
Prevailing response
In many places this is now “expected” from the government. In many societies it is a function provided by extended families and local community.
A better response
Community level is probably more efficient than national level. An efficient program needs to build on all the assets and capacities of all the people, and organize to use in best possible way.

Issue
Society
Basic observation
Society is more than just economics. It is something that embraces quality of life.
Prevailing response
Society is not much on the development agenda. Various themes that have an impact on society are highlighted, but not the society as a whole.
A better response
Society as a whole should be as good as it can be. This is a mix of many elements, many of which can be measured at the community level where they have meaning, and can be related to the society as a whole

Issue
Soldiers
Basic observation
Soldiers do important work in defense of values and in defense of peace
Prevailing response
But soldiers also abuse their position of power and are responsible for too much looting, violence against civilians and rape.
A better response
Soldiers are needed not only for facing down organized violence whether governmental or otherwise, but they are expensive. The use of military assets to help with emergency preparedness and also build the economy has not yet been explored to anything like the extent that it could be.

Issue
Solid waste
Basic observation
An outcome of a consumer society, typically a cost to society but not part of the cost of production or cost of use.
Prevailing response
The responsibility for solid waste has landed in the hands of the community. It is increasingly costly and more and more a burden. Recycling is expensive and inefficient.
A better response
Solid waste needs to be addressed in a systemic way by creating less of it, and also making the cost of solid waste the responsibility of producers and consumers and not society in general.

Issue
Sovereignty
Basic observation
Sovereignty is one of the international legal concepts that has helped to impoverish poor countries as well as allow almost any abuse of human rights with little or no recourse.
Prevailing response
Fifty years ago, sovereignty was a major win in relation to being “Colony”, but the actual practice of sovereignty has not resulted in great progress for most of the poor and disadvantaged in developing countries.
A better response
Human rights are recognized by the United Nations, but when a government does not respect these rights, there are no routines so that the government loses its mandate to govern and its sovereignty. An election and a vote is not enough, there also needs to be acceptable practice of human rights.

Issue
Space
Basic observation
Space is a frontier, but it is also increasingly important not only in helping to understand science, but also in terrestrial activities.
Prevailing response
Space is a costly frontier, and up to now has been done mainly by government and mainly with a military or security purpose above anything else.
A better response
But important new ideas have emerged, including the ability to have a much greater knowledge and understanding of our own planet. Imagery of the earth and the ability to communicate everywhere on the planet are made possible by space developments.

Issue
Spectrum
Basic observation
Spectrum for wireless infrastructure is essential for effective communication
Prevailing response
This is dominated by government and its regulation on the one hand and very powerful oligopolistic organizations that have an established control of the spectrum based on outdated technology
A better response
Spectrum needs to be regulated but the dialog about spectrum use should be open and decisions made in the interest of society as a whole and not just the established old order and profit maximization for a limited group of stakeholders

Issue
Spin
Basic observation
Spin has become associated as much with politics as it is with cricket and baseball.
Prevailing response
Spin is the selective use of information so that people learn what the organization wants then to learn. It is widely practiced within the political community so that the electorate is favorably inclined towards the political party and its candidates.
A better response
The possibilities of spin need to be constrained by easily accessible objective information that anyone can use. Management information does this for decision makers, and a modified dataset will provide similar information to people who are interested and would like to understand and influence political processes.

Issue
Standard costs
Basic observation
Standard costing is a powerful way of keeping track of costs without being overwhelmed with detail
Prevailing response
There is virtually no cost analysis within the ORDA world, and ideas like standard costng are essentially unknown.
A better response
Everything in relief and development should have a “standard cost” and all activities should be compared to the standard cost on a routine basis and where there are significant differences, they should be explained.

Issue
Standard value
Basic observation
The same concept that applies to costs can be also applied to values. It is a powerful way to understand variances.
Prevailing response
This is not used at all in the ORDA world, though it is a powerful analytical method for complex situations
A better response
Every output in the ORDA world should have a “standard value” and performance should be measured by reference to the total “standard value”. An ongoing dialog about what are correct “standard values” is healthy and is part of the process of optimizing performance.

Issue
Starvation
Basic observation
Starvation affects millions every year. Severe malnutrition affects children all over the “south”
Prevailing response
Nothing much gets done until the media start showing images of starving people, at which time there is emergency catch up.
A better response
Measure human development indicators at the community level and monitor them carefully. Give feedback to responsible government and ORDA organizations, the media and private philanthropic organizations.

Issue
Statistics
Basic observation
Statistics are a valuable tool to develop information and do analysis, but statistics have limitations
Prevailing response
There is a lot of use of surveys and statistics in the ORDA consulting community. The accuracy and reliability of a lot of this work is not usually challenged, but it needs to be. It is too easy to use statistics to support conclusions already made.
A better response
Statistics have a role to play, but statistical techniques should often be replaced by information collection that has more of the characteristic of “accounting” than economic statistics. Both systems working together will provide a new era of management information that can change ORDA performance significantly.

Issue
Subsidies
Basic observation
Subsidies are widespread. They have a long history of use in agriculture, but they distort the market. Many countries in the “north” have critical subsidies.
Prevailing response
There has been talk and negotiation, but the record of agreement that has meaningful benefit for the “south” is small. Many “south” economies are based on products that cannot succeed with the prevailing subsidy regime.
A better response
Subsidies distort the market because costs and prices are not related to other real economic factors. Eliminating subsidies without planning for the consequences is irresponsible, and maintaining subsidies without respecting the consequences is also irresponsible. New economic opportunities are needed in both “north” and “south” to make subsidies history.

Issue
Summit conferences
Basic observation
Summit conferences get media attention, and give top level people a platform for speech making.
Prevailing response
The durable results from summit conferences do not appear to amount to much, other than providing a perpetual platform for ongoing discussion ... that seems to be the relief and development sector's alternative to action.
A better response
The relief and development sector would be better employed using its resources to actually do something, albeit quite modest, and then use a first success as a start to replicating success and actually making real development progress. It would be a great change if leaders could point at what they have done that has been a success and how they plan to do more of it.

Issue
Surplus production
Basic observation
Surplus production is the norm in rich countries and totally absent in poor countries.
Prevailing response
The issue of surplus production is rarely, if ever, on the agenda in the relief and development sector, though it is a critical element of economic performance.
A better response
While the official relief and development assistance (ORDA) organizations do not see this as an important issue, almost every community in poor countries seems to understand the idea quite clearly and very much wants production in their community to be adequate for their needs.

Issue
Surveys
Basic observation
Surveys are a tremendous help in gaining an understanding of social and economic situations.
Prevailing response
Surveys are used very often in the relief and development sector. In many cases these data are less valuable than would have been possible using other techniques more like accounting analysis.
A better response
The rigor of good accounting systems can be applied to survey work so that better information becomes available for decision making ... surveys and other information gathering has the most value when it is part of a system and there is feedback and decision making involved.

Issue
Sustainability
Basic observation
This has become a “buzzword” in the relief and development sector.
Prevailing response
The vast majority of relief development initiatives do not have even rudimentary sustainability. The concept of sustainability is often taken to mean continuing external funding, but this is not sustainability, but merely continuing subsidy.
A better response
Sustainability analysis needs to be made central to the planning process and activities done in a way that encourages creation of durable value. The RDS needs to make far better use of management information so that better decisions are made.

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Issue
Temple
Basic observation
All types of religious places need to be given due respect.
Prevailing response
The role of religion and spiritualism has been marginalized by the relief and development experts.
A better response
A better outcome from relief and development sector interventions are possible when religion and spiritual issues are part of the total thinking about RDS work.

Issue
Terrorism
Basic observation
Terrorism has been a big part of international life over the past several decades.
Prevailing response
Modern society seems to have fostered a high level of anger about the status quo in a significant part of the global community. This has translated not into dialog but into action and the creation of terror in many different ways.
A better response
A part of the problem of terrorism is the alienation of parts of global society. This is not simply economics, nor simply religious, but a complex mixture of many elements. Terrorism is difficult to eliminate totally, but a better job can be done to reduce global divisions and to have a greater level of justice.

Issue
Tertiary education
Basic observation
Tertiary education is becoming increasingly important.
Prevailing response
Tertiary educational capacity has increased substantially over the past four decades, and there are much bigger flows of graduating students now than in years past.
A better response
But the full value of tertiary education will not be achieved until there are much better opportunities for educated young adults to have good jobs and to do useful and valuable work. The migration of university educated young people from poor countries to rich countries is very good for the individuals but not a good outcome for the country of origin.

Issue
Tertiary health care
Basic observation
Tertiary health care is widespread in the rich north but rare in the south.
Prevailing response
Tertiary health care is available for only a small elite in poor countries in the south, and must be paid for privately. The health budget in most poor countries will not support good tertiary health care, even though it would be very valuable.
A better response
The whole structure of the health sector and public finance needs to be reworked in order for better health outcomes to be possible. In absolute terms the funding is inadequate, but the health strategy needs to be based on how best to use scarce resources to achieve the most valuable aggregate outcomes.

Issue
Totalitarianism
Basic observation
Totalitarianism is a common and nasty outcome of both communist and fascist governments.
Prevailing response
Violence associated with totalitarianism serves to empower the governing elite at the expense of the population as a whole. The organs of government are capable of being used for good and for evil, and too often in recent times, government has been an instrument for evil.
A better response
There is a need for continuing vigilance so that people's human rights and freedoms are respected and preserved. This must be an active vigilance rather than passive, because power elites more often than not will continue to expand their power unless there are ways for this power hegemony to be controlled.

Issue
Tourism
Basic observation
Tourism can be a valuable economic driver when it is planned and set up well.
Prevailing response
Tourism has been a driver of development, but far less than the total potential. The enabling environment for tourism development is often not available, and leadership often has little interest in getting the investments made so that tourism is possible.
A better response
Tourism can be successful, but it needs a lot of different parts of the socio-economic structure to become suitably engaged from the powerful elites to the ordinary people. Suitable investment in infrastructure needs to be made, and in institutional courtesy so that tourists are welcome.

Issue
Trade
Basic observation
Trade has been a big driver of economic progress at many times in history.
Prevailing response
But trade has not served poor countries well for the best part of the last 50 years. In many cases the terms of trade have deteriorated dramatically and trade has served to impoverish rather than enrich the poor countries and the involved communities. Trade is distorted in part by modernization in rich countries, but also by subsidies, duty and quota regimes and a multitude of regulations.
A better response
Trade should be encouraged, but only where the terms of trade make sense and where the value chain produces value in the poor country as well as the rich country. The use of value chain analysis in determining what value trade has for a poor country is essential to future success in socio-economic progress.

Issue
Traditional Law
Basic observation
Traditional law is really the foundation of all law.
Prevailing response
Traditional law exists everywhere that modern law does not reach. In English jurisprudence, traditional law has standing, until super-ceded by some specific statutory law. Poor countries need low cost traditional law, because modern law is often too costly and there is not the budget and the resources for modern law to work.
A better response
Respect for traditional law at the same time as modern law is evolving is going to be essential in order to having a functioning society with respect for some form of governing authority. Community centric development involving local traditional law can be effective, especially when it is combined with some elements of modern law.

Issue
Traditional Leadership
Basic observation
Traditional leadership has a powerful role in a lot of places, though in some places it is no longer a factor.
Prevailing response
Communities usually have local leadership, and this leadership in some cases has traditional history that is important. This has not been used very much by the relief and development sector experts who have tended to work solely with leadership at the country level.
A better response
Community leadership and traditional leadership are key to success all over the country. If this can also be linked with central leadership, so much the better, but community progress depends very much on local leadership and local priorities and local commitment.

Issue
Training the trainers
Basic observation
Training the trainers is a commonly used phrase, but rather less accomplished.
Prevailing response
Training the trainers has been a component of many many projects, but rather few have been very successful. It is thought that this is because the subjects have often not been relevant both in terms of what community needed and what the trainees could understand.
A better response
Training the trainers has to be a key focus of relief and development activity, but it needs to be done very carefully with careful matching of what is needed, and what is possible both in terms of human resource capacity and in terms of training resources. Local people with little prior formal training are a tremendous resource if the training is designed correctly.

Issue
Training ORDA experts
Basic observation
Experts have been trained in the prevailing paradigm for relief and development, and there is now a serous question about the effectiveness of what has been taught.
Prevailing response
Educators are faced with a difficult situation. Change in academia is high risk and much safer not to make essential changes.
A better response
By putting effective performance metrics in place, relief and development experts will be identified not with academic measures, but with relief and development performance. Needed skills are technical and professional more than ORDA specific.

Issue
Transparency
Basic observation
There has been growth in dialog about transparency over the past 20 years, but not very much change in access to meaningful useful information.
Prevailing response
More data is becoming easily accessible, but very little of the data are useful data that can be used for accountability and performance analysis.
A better response
Modern ICT enables data to be processed very powerfully and at very low cost. In order for this power to be applied there needs to be an independent information infrastructure with a focus on making relief and development performance data easily accessible

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Issue
UXO
Basic observation
Unexploded ordnance is a part of every war. UXO kills people for years after a conflict.
Prevailing response
This problem is all but ignored by the ORDA community as a whole. The economic damage is huge, and injury and loss of life too much to be acceptable.
A better response
There is a dedicated community of international risk takers with a huge commitment to getting rid of UXO (and also land-mines). No community should have to operate with UXO and land-mines in the area.

Issue
Uniform costs
Basic observation
Uniform costs is a technique of costing that makes comparison across many entities feasible.
Prevailing response
There has been some effort at the IMF to get uniform systems of account analysis at the government level, but the approach is too “high” and anyway is not very good.
A better response
A set of uniform cost analysis systems for all the activities that are needed for relief and development is a first step in determining which organizations know what they are doing and those that do not.

Issue
Unintended consequences
Basic observation
Unintended consequences are always going to happen ... almost as reliably as Murphy's Law. Be prepared.
Prevailing response
Unintended consequences ought not to come as a surprise, but in most relief and development sector interventions, a variety of unintended consequences are replayed over and over again.
A better response
If the relief and development sector made better use of management information, and there was a feedback process and better institutional memory, then it would be easy to avoid the more common unintended consequences.

Issue
Unionism
Basic observation
Trade Unions had a big role in making the industrial revolution a more friendly place for the worker. It was a long and hard battle, and the results were impressive.
Prevailing response
The ORDA world has had little priority for Union activity as an integral part of development success. The rights of workers and people at the bottom of the pyramid are talked about, but rather little has been done to upgrade their economic status and their rights.
A better response
Workers, and all people at the bottom of the pyramid should have opportunity, and these opportunities should be of economic and social value, and it should not be necessary for worker abuse to be required in order for an enterprise to be successful.

Issue
UN Year of ...
Basic observation
The UN Year of ... draws some attention to an issue, but really not very much.
Prevailing response
The UN Year of ... might have been a novel idea 50 years ago, but it is of very little real PR value today. More the idea serves to give some UN staff something to do, and a budget to disburse. The UN will argue that these events draw attention to the issue at hand, but in reality they have little or no impact. Worse, the UN thinks it is having an impact, and some UN supporters are impressed, but the public at large is ignoring and going about its business without caring an iota more.
A better response
The UN and the other relief and development organizations need to get to grips with real management information, and start to do PR around performance and results. This might start to get the publics' attention in a meaningful way.

Issue
Urban migration
Basic observation
Big cities have been growing rapidly everywhere in the world ... people migrating from the countryside in search of a better life.
Prevailing response
Urban migration is an economic migration, driven by an expectation that life in the city is going to be better than life in the rural countryside. Often life in the city turns out to be much worse, but survival is possible because it is possible to scrounge to eat and survive.
A better response
The challenge is to create jobs that are meaningful and do valuable work. But jobs cannot be created if the economic resources are not available to fund such initiatives. Putting people to work requires a clear understanding of the dynamics of community economics, and how valuable works can get funded.

Thousands of Issues ... VVV Section Go to TOP
VVV Section as a single collection Go to bk005V0000

Issue
Validating data
Basic observation
Data are much more valuable when they are known to be correct.
Prevailing response
In the relief and development sector, when data are questioned, the response is usually a consulting exercise that adds another layer of data and analysis and consequently complication that confuses.
A better response
Measurements should be many and should be practical and easy to validate or verify. There are many techniques for ensuring that datasets are complete and accurate, and these methods should be applied as widely as possible.

Issue
Value analysis
Basic observation
Value analysis is a powerful systemic way of understanding relief and development activities.
Prevailing response
The idea of value analysis is that value should be carefully included into analysis so that it is value derived from costs that is the primary determinant of relief and development sector performance. Value analysis can be applied in all activities involving socio-economic results and using any combination of resources.
A better response
Value analysis should be applied throughout the relief and development sector and used as a key part of the management information used for decision making. Value analysis gives valuable data that may be used to provide lessons learned as well as comparative performance information.

Issue
Value adding
Basic observation
Value adding is the result when the value created exceeds the costs incurred.
Prevailing response
There is powerful value adding in the global private corporate sector. This has been continuous for the past 60 years in the rich countries, but not at all in most of the poor countries. Almost nothing done in the relief and development sector results in meaningful value adding, though a typical World Bank appraisal report might create the impression that value adding is planned.
A better response
Value adding needs to be the dominant socio-economic intervention in poor countries, with the value adding remaining in the communities and the countries that are the host environment. This can be done with good metrics and management information that is used by decision makers.

Issue
Value chain
Basic observation
Value chain analysis is a systemic way of understanding where value adding and value destruction are taking place in the supply chain.
Prevailing response
Because value chain analysis is rarely done, poor countries have been engaged in a lot of socio-economic activity that has resulted in value destruction and other stakeholders in the local and international elites stakeholder groups have profited mightily.
A better response
Value chain analysis should be done for all relief and development sector interventions as well as for trade activities and foreign direct investment. The results of value chain analysis should be made public to show how it is that resource rich communities are becoming poorer and poorer frequently while others are getting very rich.

Issue
Value destruction
Basic observation
Value destruction is when the durable value realized is less than the cost of the activity.
Prevailing response
Value destruction is very common in the relief and development sector, and especially in many government activities. Most decision makers would not knowingly engage in value destruction, but without management information and without any active methodology for doing value analysis, the relief and development sector uses almost all of its resources in a value destruction mode.
A better response
If value analysis is a normal part of the planning process in the relief and development sector, and the basic metrics are incorporated into management information and a management system, it will be possible for the RDS to become more and more involved with value adding than value destruction.

Issue
Violence
Basic observation
It is a failure of ethics. Guns, and the militarization of society needs reversing. Wealth creation from violence and destruction should be deemed unacceptable. Need to level the playing field. Use information.
Prevailing response
Arms trade a huge benefit for the “north” yet a massive value destruction for “south” people. Arms trade is a big secret with terrible outcomes for the “south”
A better response
Ethics of peace needs to be made dominant. No rewards for violence. Wealth creation from violence and destruction should be deemed unacceptable. Use information to inform the public.

Issue
Vocational training
Basic observation
Vocational training has a particular importance in developing countries.
Prevailing response
Vocational training is given some support, but compared to the need, there is not enough vocational training. Unfortunately, in some places vocational training is considered less than desirable, and as a result it is not getting the support that is needed.
A better response
Vocational training should be not only available for all, but required as well. Education without the ability to actually do work that is needed is a dangerous waste, and rather more prevalent than it should be. Vocational training needs to be available not only for youth, but also for older people who are needed for the work that has to be done.

Thousands of Issues ... WWW Section Go to TOP
WWW Section as a single collection Go to bk005W0000

Issue
WIPO
Basic observation
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
Prevailing response
This is a UN agency, and focal point for discussion and regulation related to intellectual property. While intellectual deserves a certain degree of protection, there also needs to be regulation that ensures that there is fairness in its application, and that legal rights do not dominate over natural rights.
A better response
The protection of corporate rights to intellectual property should be balanced with the rights of natural discovery by indigenous peoples who do not have access and understanding of the IP regime that has been established.

Issue
War
Basic observation
War is almost always a result of failure, and frequently aggravates the failure.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has done a lot of work over the past decades helping to make peace after war and violence has wreaked havoc in an area. Though the relief efforts are valuable, the favorable impact of relief is tiny compared to the aggregate damage and destruction caused by war.
A better response
War is almost always a losing proposition, and should almost always be avoided. War is a result of failure ... and usually acerbates bad situations. What is needed is the information and action so that war does not happen ... not conflict resolution in the sense of stopping ware and violence, but conflict resolution in the sense of avoiding the level of conflict that produces war and violence.

Issue
Water
Basic observation
Water is essential to life, and increasingly a cause of conflict.
Prevailing response
Water is a critical component of life, and there is a need to have the sort of infrastructure that makes access to water easy and efficient. But this investment has only been done in rich countries ... poor countries do not have the needed infrastructure and do not have adequate supplies of water. In many places water is wasted ... on other places there is no water to use, let alone waste. Like so many other things in the RDS, water is a subject of dialog and discussion, but there is a shortage of practical investment.
A better response
Progress towards better water supplies is essential, and needs to be done community by community to get a reasonably improvement soon, especially where there are serious health problems associated with water supply. A lot of improvement can be done with small scale works, but large populations will need major civil works in order for the supply improvement to be to scale and efficient.

Issue
Water pollution
Basic observation
Water pollution is a serious by-product of modern agriculture and industry.
Prevailing response
Water pollution was disastrous in Europe, the USA and everywhere there was industrial development until the 1950s when serious clean-up started. Modern industrial organizations need not be great polluters, but will be unless there is legislation, regulation and enforcement to operate to high water effluent standards.
A better response
There is a lack of community information about water pollution and polluters, and no universal systems that can hold polluters accountable. The technology to operate in a pollution free manner is available, but it has costs ... but usually smaller than the societal cost of pollution.

Issue
Wealth creation
Basic observation
Wealth creation has become a big driver of the rich economies, but is missing from poor economies.
Prevailing response
Wealth creation in poor economies is concentrated into a small local elite and/or is diverted to the internationally powerful. This is not an easy thing to change, but poverty does not get reduced when wealth creation is almost exclusively benefiting the already rich and the powerful.
A better response
Wealth creation needs to be the foundation for socio-economic progress, but the allocation of wealth between the various stakeholders should be fair and equitable. Wealth creation should be subject to value chain analysis in order to see where the wealth creation is getting allocated, and steps taken to ensure that the value is not merely concentrated with the rich and powerful.

Issue
Welfare
Basic observation
Welfare is sometimes needed, but it is not a good economic system for all.
Prevailing response
Essentially the modern relief and development sector is a welfare sector, with all the problems that come from a welfare approach to economics. In this model, more and more resources are needed where failure if the greatest, and the process of funding failure is never ending.
A better response
Some situations justify welfare, but not many. Rather, effort should be diverted to helping to provide and fund opportunity, and then to have management information and accountability so that the wealth created from hard work and enterprise can be reasonably shared among all the stakeholders. With a wealth creating enterprise system, and an ethical framework, it is possible to fund local welfare without having to resort to international humanitarian relief or welfare.

Issue
Wildlife
Basic observation
Wildlife is a wonderful gift, but increasingly endangered.
Prevailing response
The protection of wildlife by an international community of well-wishers is a start, but it cannot succeed without a lot of local interest and support. Generally speaking, wildlife is losing, though perhaps more slowly than at some times in the past.
A better response
Wildlife in the context of history and habitat and wildlife tourism can become a profit center rather than a cost center in the overall relief and development scheme of things. There are ways in which wildlife and the environment can be brought into the socio-economic value equations to that everyone wins. Arguably, this is the best way.

Issue
Wisdom
Basic observation
Wisdom is valuable, but in rather short supply
Prevailing response
Wisdom is not highly regarded, especially if it is contained in the body and brain of someone old and perhaps uneducated.
A better response
Many people learn a lot, but few use what they learn to create wisdom. Wisdom is rare, but very valuable. It is the ultimate result of data ... that converts to information ... that becomes knowledge ... and ultimately wisdom. Decisions made with wisdom are perhaps the ultimate tool for the achievement of socio-economic development success.

Issue
Women's rights
Basic observation
Women's rights should be little more than the complete portfolio of human rights, with no limits based on gender.
Prevailing response
Women have been marginalized in all sorts of ways by society, and the many institutions of society, including religious organizations. Women's role in society has become broader in the past few decades, but some of the progress is more perspective than tangible.
A better response
Women's rights need to be integrated into the mainstream of society with no limit based on gender, and yet also with respect and consideration for the very central role that women do play in procreation and the role they play in forming future generations.

Issue
Workers' rights
Basic observation
Workers' rights played a big role in making the north rich and economically and politically stable.
Prevailing response
Workers' rights are not getting a lot of attention from the relief and development sector actors, even though it should be clear that almost all wealth creation is built with worker involvement. The conditions of workers in many poor developing countries is disgraceful, yet it is not an issue ... in fact conditions are so bad in a lot of places that active efforts go on to keep the problems out of sight and out of the media.
A better response
Community level management information can help to make worker conditions more visible, and for employers to be held to account. The goal is to have a universal reasonable standard of worker conditions ... and a workplace where competition does not drive standards down, but ensures that standards are universally acceptable.

Issue
Workshops (see also conferences and seminars)
Basic observation
Workshops can help communication and facilities learning ... but it is not bound to happen.
Prevailing response
Workshops are very common in the relief and development community ... they provide a very tangible way of demonstrating that something was done. It is less easy to demonstrate that the costs of the workshop were low relative to the value of the workshop ... in fact to demonstrate that the workshop had any value at all.
A better response
Value destruction is the broad thematic reason why the relief and development sector has failed to achieve substantial socio-economic progress over the past 50 years. Activities are carried out that cost money, but in reality do little that results in durable value. Not many workshops are able to point at durable value, but without this, they are not worth running ... unless the goal is merely to entertain a lot of participants.

Thousands of Issues ... XXX Section ... go to TOP


Thousands of Issues ... YYY Section ... go to TOP


Thousands of Issues ... ZZZ Section ... go to TOP

From the book THOUSANDS OF ISSUES THAT IMPACT RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT
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To find this book, open the Lulu webpage ... then search for THOUSANDS OF ISSUES



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