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STEPS Seminar: Aid on the Edge of Chaos
4th December 2013 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Research Associate, Overseas Development Institute and STEPS Centre Visiting Fellow at IDS
It is widely recognised that the foreign aid system 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. 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 (published by Oxford University Press) is firmly in the third of these camps.
Ben Ramalingam shows that the linear, mechanistic models and assumptions on which foreign aid is built are inadequate in the dynamic, complex world we face today. Instead, he argues that a new approach embracing the ‘new science’ of complex adaptive systems can make foreign aid more relevant, more appropriate, more innovative, and more catalytic. His findings are based on insights, experiences and remarkable results of practitioners who are already putting these principles into action.