Aid on the Edge of Chaos: Rethinking International Cooperation in a Complex World

Aid on the Edge of Chaos: Rethinking International Cooperation in a Complex World

by Ben Ramalingam

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Overview

Aid on the Edge of Chaos: Rethinking International Cooperation in a Complex World by Ben Ramalingam

Many agree that the foreign aid system - which today involves virtually every nation on earth - needs drastic change. But there is much conflict as to what should be done. In Aid on the Edge of Chaos, Ben Ramalingam argues that what is most needed is the creative and innovative transformation of how aid works.

Foreign aid today is dominated by linear, mechanistic ideas that emerged from early twentieth century industry, and are ill-suited to the world we face today.

The problems and systems aid agencies deal with on a daily basis have more in common with ecosystems than machines: they are interconnected, diverse, and dynamic; they cannot be just simply re-engineered or fixed.

Outside of aid, social scientists, economists, business leaders, and policy makers have started applying innovative and scientific approaches to such problems, informed by ideas from the 'new science' of complex adaptive systems. Inspired by these efforts, aid practitioners and researchers have started experimenting with such approaches in their own work.

This book showcases the experiences, insights, and often remarkable results of innovative thinkers and practitioners who are working to bring these approaches into the mainstream of aid. From transforming child malnutrition to rethinking economic growth, from building peace to reversing desertification, from rural Vietnam to urban Kenya, the ideas of complex systems thinking are starting to be used to make foreign aid more relevant, more appropriate, and more catalytic.

Aid on the Edge of Chaos argues that such ideas and approaches should play a vital part of the transformation of aid. Aid should move from being an imperfect post-World War II global resource transfer system, to a new form of global cooperation that is truly fit for the twenty-first century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199578023
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 01/03/2014
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Ben Ramalingam, Independent consultant and writer

Ben Ramalingam is an independent researcher, consultant and writer specialising on international development and humanitarian issues. He has worked with and advised leading development and humanitarian organisations including UN bodies, NGOs, the Red Cross movement, and government agencies. He holds honorary positions at the London School of Economics, the Overseas Development Institute, and the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University.

Table of Contents

Preface: Globalization, Development, and Complexity
Part 1: The way aid works
1. A System to Change 'The System'?
2. Thinking Inside the Box
3. Strategic Mismanagement
4. The Goats in the Machine
5. Watching the Watchmen
6. Part 1 Epilogue—The Trouble with Physics Envy
Part 2: The way the world works
7. Introducing Complexity
8. More Than, and Different To, The Parts
9. The Madness of Men
10. Falling Off Cliffs
11. The Devil is in the Dynamics
12. Part 2 Epilogue—-What Lies Between Order and Chaos?
Part 3: The way aid could work
13. From Bali, with Complexity
14. Systemic Learning
15. Adaptive Strategies
16. Networked Organizations
17. Dynamic Change
18. Part 3 Epilogue—-Beyond Panaceas
19. Aid on the Edge of Chaos

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