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Aid on the Edge of Chaos: Rethinking International Cooperation in a Complex World (Anglais) Relié – 24 octobre 2013


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Aid on the Edge of Chaos: Rethinking International Cooperation in a Complex World + The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor
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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

The examples presented in this work should proprt a reconsideration of how one thinks of foreign aid. (S. Paul, Choice,)

An exhaustive tour of the complex systems research landscape, including how it is used to understand phenomena as diverse as climate change, food price rises, ethnic segregation and the Arab spring ... Important and relevant for the aid world. (Amy Kazmin, Financial Times)

The most interesting part of Mr Ramalingam's book is his discussion of how some agencies are beginning to learn from the way poor people can successfully do difficult things... [and that] experimenting repeatedly and quickly has much to offer the world of aid. (The Economist)

Sets a new milestone in the aid debate... an impressive interdisciplinary tour (The Guardian Global Development Professionals Network)

This book explains an important global activity few outsiders understand, and important scientific ideas that might yet turn it around. (Debora MacKenzie, New Scientist)

Masterful. An important step towards changing our institutions and organizations Ramalingam skilfully draws upon a diverse body of ideas and research to deliver a vital message for aid and beyond. (Philip Ball, author of Critical Mass, Winner of the Aventis Royal Society Book of the Year)

Aid on the Edge of Chaos will change the way you think... One of the most important books you will read about development. (Owen Barder, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development)

The accolades on the cover are well-founded; this is a great read, engagingly written, and full of vivid examples, poignantly-funny cartoons and a reflective humility that suits its subject matter. (Melissa Leach, Knowledge, Technology and Society)

Many see international development aid as in thrall to linear, mechanized thinking, and champion approaches in which local people solve their own challenges with intelligently tailored backing. Ben Ramalingam offers a scientific model for that path... and fosters a new aid paradigm: an open innovation network, catalysing and leveraging change in countries around the world. (Nature)

Ben Ramalingam's thought provoking and highly readable book re-frames the debate on aid and development challenges the existing aid paradigm and points the way towards a genuinely new approach - a new approach that is urgently needed. (Eric Beinhocker, Executive Director, Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford and author of The Origin of Wealth)

Ben Ramalingam's tour de force of a book provides an unorthodox and fascinating insight into today's global aid sector: its current practices and sometimes faulty theories of action. This book is a vital source of inspiration (Yves Daccord, Director General, ICRC)

Marrying science, policy and practice with a deep moral conscience, this important book points to a future that that we should all be working towards. (Peter Doherty, Nobel Laureate, Medicine)

Challenging... Much needed. Ramalingam pushes his reader to question traditional wisdoms, navigate different disciplines, and value the import of local experience. (Noreena Hertz, author of 'Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World')

Ramalingam sets out a challenge to everyone working in international cooperation, to rethink our basic assumptions and to think and act in ways that are more attuned to the real world in all its complexities. This is one to read and re-read. (Sir Richard Jolly, Assistant Secretary General, United Nations)

Ben Ramalingam convincingly shows why transformational change is so badly needed in foreign aid, and where it might come from. (Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management, London Business School, Author of Hot Spots)

This well-written and thought-provoking book is an important contribution to redesigning aid for a messy, complex world. (Duncan Green, Senior Strategic Advisor, Oxfam)

Ben Ramalingam is a leading champion of the adaptive, scientific, trial-and-error thinking that the aid industry badly needs. (Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist Strikes Back and Adapt)

This excellent book [is] a must-read for anyone interested in development, its current discontents, and its future potential. (Ricardo Haussmann, former Chief Economist, Inter-American Development Bank and Director of the Centre for International Development, Harvard University)

This is a superb book, boldly facing in this age of globalization the complexity of aid to developing countries. Impressive and inspiring, this work is destined to become a 21st century classic. (Dudley Herschbach, Nobel Laureate, Chemistry)

With beautifully clear writing and stories, Ben Ramalingam uses complexity concepts to reveal the deep reasons for why aid sometimes worksand sometimes doesnt. (Thomas Homer-Dixon, Director, Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation, Author of The Upside of Down)

Far from being a pessimistic funeral march, Ramalingam's wide-ranging discourse provides many inspiring examples of how complexity theory can be put to practical and meaningful use, and lays out a hopeful path forward. (Simon Levin, Moffat Professor of Ecology, Princeton University)

Well-intentioned aid agencies sometimes oversimplify the problems they need to solve. [this] book makes the good case that the growing field of complex adaptive systems can help prevent such errors from being repeated. (Eric Maskin, Nobel Laureate, Economics)

This brilliant book will energise the struggle to make big government, big money and big aid sensitive to contexts, humble about what they can achieve, and sophisticated about the connectedness of things. (Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive, National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, and former Director of UK Prime Minister's Strategy Unit)

Ben Ramalingam seamlessly combines practical experience, policy relevance and scientific expertise. Aid on the Edge of Chaos deserves a very wide audience. (Paul Ormerod, author of Death of Economics and Positive Linking)

A terrific, stimulating book. Ramalingam clearly and engagingly shows how the use of complex adaptive systems thinking can significantly strengthen and enhance the impacts and effectiveness of global foreign aid. (Jerry Sabloff, President, Santa Fe Institute)

A magnificent piece of work a major contribution to the debate about how to rethink and improve the way we deliver aid worldwide. (Sir Nick Young, Chief Executive Officer, British Red Cross)

The examples presented in this work should prompt a reconsideration of how one thinks of foreign aid. (S. Paul, Choice,)

Présentation de l'éditeur

It is widely recognised that the foreign aid system - which today involves every country in the world - is in need of drastic change. But there are conflicting opinions as to what is needed. Some call for dramatic increases in resources, to meet long-overdue commitments, and to scale up what is already being done around the world. Others point to the flaws in aid, and bang the drum for cutting it altogether - and argue that the fate of poor and vulnerable people be best placed in the hands of markets and the private sector. Meanwhile, growing numbers are suggesting that what is most needed is the creative, innovative transformation of how aid works. Aid on the Edge of Chaos is firmly in the third of these camps. In this ground-breaking book, Ben Ramalingam shows that the linear, mechanistic models and assumptions on which foreign aid is built would be more at home in early twentieth century factory floors than in the dynamic, complex world we face today. All around us, we can see the costs and limitations of dealing economies and societies as if they are analogous to machines. The reality is that such social systems have far more in common with ecosystems: they are complex, dynamic, diverse and unpredictable. Many thinkers and practitioners in science, economics, business, and public policy have started to embrace more 'ecologically literate' approaches to guide both thinking and action, informed by ideas from the 'new science' of complex adaptive systems. Inspired by these efforts, there is an emerging network of aid practitioners, researchers, and policy makers who are experimenting with complexity-informed responses to development and humanitarian challenges. This book showcases the insights, experiences, and often remarkable results from these efforts. From transforming approaches to child malnutrition, to rethinking processes of economic growth, from building peace to combating desertification, from rural Vietnam to urban Kenya, Aid on the Edge of Chaos shows how embracing the ideas of complex systems thinking can help make foreign aid more relevant, more appropriate, more innovative, and more catalytic. Ramalingam argues that taking on these ideas will be a vital part of the transformation of aid, from a post-WW2 mechanism of resource transfer, to a truly innovative and dynamic form of global cooperation fit for the twenty-first century.


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Amazon.com: 7 commentaires
19 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
saved by the end notes 1 novembre 2013
Par tom abeles - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
The author, a long time consultant and project analyst working in the area of development, sets up a "straw man", the failure of an agriculture development project in Bali, in order to establish the premise that development projects need to be "informed" and, even, driven by the ideas of the "new science of complexity". The problem is that he is unable to sufficiently master the theories and practices but rather depends on validating his ideas by citing his understanding from interviews of many who are working in this emergent area. These citations are extensively document in set of endnotes of materials selectively adopted by the author to validate his thesis.

One does not argue with the author's conclusions that current development theory needs to be revisited with a systems approach that takes advantage of advent of fast, low cost computers for modeling and analyzing projects in the field. Many examples can be found to validate that millions of dollars have been spent often resulting in fields of skeletal remains, both physically and culturally. But there are also spectacular successes in the catalog of development projects. All of this could have been well documented along with many of the examples cited by the author where complex dynamics and systems thinking offered a more informed set of paths for the development community.

The author's experience is in reviewing projects and the style reflects this historic approach. The volume reads much like a review of the field and where researchers using new techniques of computer modeling were able to either rescue projects gone wrong or point to new insights. It is very clear that the homework has not been done sufficiently that the author can "own" the materials to develop his own analysis. The entire section is validation by the reputation of others through their work, much of which has only occasional linkages to the world of development.

Missing is a clear understanding of the difference between simple, chaotic, complicated and complex systems such as developed by practioners as David Snowden's thinking as applied to organizations. Missing is the early work based on what has been identified as Lorenz's "butterfly" effect, or Prigogine's thinking about open system since this is the case with complex development systems, or the early work by May rather than his current evolution. Much of this early work sets the foundation for the researchers at the Santa Fe Institute and elsewhere and who are cited in the book's endnotes.

While the author cites Beinhocker's The Origin of Wealth, glaring by its absence is the entire arena of the emergent field of heterodox economics that grew from a revolt of French economic students and initially was named "post autistic" economics. Development is an "open system" where money and theoretical models are fed into the projects from desks in development agencies, mostly well outside of the project itself. It is influenced by governments that are lobbied by a variety of interests and by private sector foundations and NGO's with a variety of perceptions. These factors are often ignored or lumped into models as constants or unimportant externalities. But as work of Lorenz, Prigogine, May and Santa Fe researchers such as Doyne Farmer show, these factors including new or old economic thinking can lead to highly discontinuous, chaotic functions and as the author suggest, tragic collapse.

What makes this volume of great concern is the mention of the forthcoming "The Atlas of Economic Complexity", again without the author providing a clear discussion or the potential ramifications to the development community. If the examples such as the Ghana/Thailand discussion or the Atlas' data on countries are carried out to the future, many countries, particularly in Africa, may prove to be almost a bottomless pit of development funds- countries such as Rwanda, Tanzania and others whose budgets are supported at levels of approximately 40% by development funds. The discussion and the posting of the Ted-X Boston talk on this author's web page do not give clarity or faint hope.

This volume's premise about the need for new thinking is sound given our current understanding of complex systems. The problem is that the author's lack of mastery of the theory and his history of looking at development projects from the perspective of the analyst prevents him from owning the knowledge but rather reporting. It is past oriented with a hint of the future possibilities. He becomes a cheerleader for change in how development is approached but does not give the confidence of one who has battlefield experience.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Looking at development policy with a complexity lens 2 décembre 2013
Par Tim McMinn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
The release of Aid on the Edge of Chaos this November is timely for anyone who takes an interest in overseas development funding. How can it be harnessed more effectively to bring about change? For example in my country, Australia, this question is now wide open with the new government’s emphasis on the non-aid aspects of development policy. Practitioners and public alike need to consider what shape Australia’s aid should now take. This is also true of many other countries, such as Canada and New Zealand, whose lead Australia is following.

Ramalingam argues that we must “improve aid rather than increase it”, placing him somewhere between Jeffrey Sachs and Bill Easterly. Tapping deeply into cutting edge research and the policy application of complex adaptive systems theory, he offers us a fascinating new lens through which to view shifts in aid and development policy, and the challenges facing the aid sector globally.

Aid on the Edge of Chaos is divided into three sections. The first gives an overview of how the aid industry currently operates, finding it process-oriented and innovation shy. The second is a comprehensive review of complex systems theory, and its application in other fields. Finally Ramalingam discusses a range of examples where thinking about complex systems is beginning to inform aid and development practice.

While he doesn’t give us any easy prescriptions for improving aid, Ramalingam does compel us to think differently about what it is meant to achieve. The aid industry needs to adopt a modus operandi of “best fit, not best practice”, he writes, because bringing about change in a complex world requires a posture of experimentation, of searching for approaches that work. However, we cannot know what is going to be successful with any certainty, and this means we need to be more accepting of failure.

So, donors must be prepared to expect some of their funds to be directed to experimentation before it can happen, and Ramalingam's case studies – like the Balinese subaks referred to in the preface – give a fascinating insight into where the aid industry might learn lessons. Anyone interested in development needs to engage with the idea of complex systems, as we try to adapt our aid to make an impact in a complex world.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Aid on the Edge of Chaos - Outstanding! 14 février 2014
Par Tony Barclay - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
A lively, very readable critique of current practices in the institutional ecosystem of aid, combined with insights from complexity theory that explain why development is non-linear and often unpredictable. Operating "on the edge of chaos", the author argues, is a legitimate and responsible way for development practitioners to view the work that they do.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Brilliant book - will change the way you look at the world. 25 novembre 2013
Par Abi Washington - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is a brilliant book and will change the way you look at the world. I'd recommend it for anyone interested in science politics and development - whether you are a general reader or involved in the aid sector. And funny too - full of cartoons and great one liners!
a "must read" for anyone engaged in international development 23 juillet 2014
Par Susan E.P. Post - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Aid on the Edge of Chaos presents an accurate picture of aid as it has been and offers exciting insights into changes that are occurring and offers promise for the future. The aspects of the book that were particularly meaningful to me were the author's emphasis on alternate approaches including, positive deviance, appreciative inquiry, and network analysis.
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