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Date: 2024-07-18 Page is: DBtxt003.php bk005R0000
Burgess Manuscript
Hundreds of Issues
From the book 'Hundreds of Issues that Impact Relief and Development'
Section RRR

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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From 'HUNDREDS OF ISSUES THAT IMPACT RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT'
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