Plugging the Leaks in Mozambique

They came in unmanageably large numbers; at one point we’d counted more than 90 young people who had made their way from their scattered houses around the village to the meeting place. More

The Five Ways to Well-being: now as giant puppets, fairy tales and a quiche

It's been over eighteen months since nef launched the Five Ways to Well-being, a collection of simple actions that have been proven to enhance quality of life. We developed them originally for the UK Government's Foresight project on Mental Capital and Well-being, but they've since found life much further afield.

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The missing lending infrastructure - and what to do about it

The fight back by the banking lobby, determined to cling to the status quo, seems to have begun in earnest. 

First it was HSBC warning about the consequences of splitting retail from banking from speculative banking.  Then it was Barclays setting aside 40 per cent of its investment banking income for bonuses, while threatening to leave the UK altogether.

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Real-time happiness data launched for the UK

When my colleague Nic Marks, Founder of nef’s centre for well-being, talks about ways that society could better promote well-being for its citizens, one of the things he often points to is the role that could be played by real time well-being data. The idea is that rather than nightly news reports being rounded off with updates on movements in the FTSE 100 and global currency markets – practically unintelligible to many of us – we should instead hear about national levels of well-being measured that day. More

UK Fish Dependence: The increasing reliance of the UK on fish from elsewhere

Wrecking the Ocean

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A shorter working week would benefit society

Phasing out compulsory retirement must be a sensible idea. Providing for a right to retire at an age pegged to rising life expectancy may be a sensible next step. More

The Marie Antoinette stage of banking development

This is what they said: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/aug/02/banking-bonuses-executive-pay

We are in the let-them-eat-cake stage of banking development, a period so self-serving, so flagrant in its Byzantine abuses, that future generations will look back with astonishment that we ever allowed it.

Why do we?  Because our politicians seem unable to gather up the political will to reform the sector, and because they still have a sneaking fear that the myths pedalled by the More

Inequality: a game of two halves

Having witnessed yesterday's enthralling RSA debate between Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, authors of The Spirit Level – a book released in 2009 that argued that inequality was bad for everyone, even the rich – and Peter Saunders, author of the Policy Exchange report Beware False Prophets: Eq More

Why we need to redefine what poverty is

We are constantly hearing about poverty in the news. Usually, it’s some official source trying to reassure us that it’s coming down, and is on track to be halved by the year 2015 (from the 1990 level), in line with the Millennium Development Goals. But what do we actually mean by “poverty”? 

What the official sources invariably mean is the proportion of the population of the developing world who are below the “$1-a-day” poverty developed by the World Bank some 20 years ago (and revised from time to time since).

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Co-production: the crucial cornerstone of the Big Society

The emphasis on the Big Society over the past two days is, in many ways, enormously hopeful.  It puts people’s ability to make thing happen at local level at the heart of what the coalition is doing.  It also assumes an optimistic view of human nature and human capacity.

There are worries about how far it can go to change an unequal society, as my colleague Anna Coote has explained in her briefing paper on the subject.

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