Posts by Graham Harrison

Graham Harrison, Associate Fellow of SPERI and Professor of Politics, University of Sheffield

What is the capabilities approach capable of?

Graham Harrison

Sen’s capabilities approach is not interested in poverty reduction through economic transformation. We should recognise it as a normative theory of well-being, not a social theory of change In development studies, the ‘capabilities approach’ has experienced a remarkable rise in popularity over the last decade or so.  It has refocused our interest in the political economy of poverty reduction away … Continue reading

10 October 2016 by Graham Harrison
Categories: SPERI Comment Tags: , , , , , ,

The flawed utopianism of the SDG process

Graham Harrison

Everything is premised on an unrealistic understanding of the structures and dynamics of the global political economy Thomas Pogge and Mitu Sengupta set the scene for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as ‘that cosmopolis of the future whose foundations are now being shaped’, offering more than a hint of utopian thinking. The foundations to which the authors refer are the … Continue reading

1 October 2015 by Graham Harrison
Categories: Development, Global crisis, Global South, Inequality, Political theory, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Sustainability Tags: ,

Rwanda: an agrarian developmental state?

Graham Harrison

‘Getting the politics right’ in smallholder agriculture is an important first step in Rwanda’s development, but it needs to be sustained for a generation At the heart of the burgeoning literature on Rwanda is the country’s rapid economic growth since the early 2000s, and its accompaniment by a raft of other encouraging development statistics.  GDP per capita has grown from … Continue reading

23 July 2015 by Graham Harrison
Categories: Development, Economics, SPERI Comment Tags: , , , , , , ,

We are all developing countries now.  Are we?

Graham Harrison

Tony Payne’s argument needs to be set in the context of the global ‘structural power’ of a still highly uneven capitalist political economy In 2013 Tony Payne wrote a blog that made the argument that dividing the world up into developing and developed countries was no longer very useful and that we ought to do better when thinking about the … Continue reading

11 February 2015 by Graham Harrison
Categories: Development, SPERI Comment

Solving malnutrition through business and science?

We need to broaden our understanding of hunger and challenge the prevailing market-centred approach This June’s G8 meeting was not framed in a ‘big issue’ fashion like the previous UK G8 meeting in Gleneagles in 2005 or the G20 meeting in London 2009. Development campaigners wanted the summit to be about hunger and nutrition, but this focus jostled with others, … Continue reading

1 August 2013 by Graham Harrison
Categories: Development, SPERI Comment

Are we witnessing ‘New African Development’?

Parts of Africa may be experiencing sustained economic growth, but this shouldn’t be confused with development, something which is much harder to achieve Between 2000 and 2010, according to The Economist, six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world were located in sub-Saharan Africa. Echoing that claim, the corporate-friendly McKinsey Institute published a report in 2010 that characterised … Continue reading

9 April 2013 by Graham Harrison
Categories: Development, SPERI Comment

More aid for Africa?

The relationship between aid and development is unclear, but using aid to build solidarity with organisations in the ‘Global South’ is something we should embrace The target of 0.7% of GNP dedicated to aid was established in 1970 during a period when the post-colonial world was energised by developmental nationalism. Since that year, the ‘point-seven’ figure has become something of … Continue reading

18 January 2013 by Graham Harrison
Categories: Development, Inequality, SPERI Comment