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

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  134 ratings  ·  8 reviews
It is widely recognised that the foreign aid system - of which every country in the world is a part - is in need of drastic overhaul. There are conflicting opinions as to what should be done. Some call for dramatic increases to achieve longstanding promises. Others bang the drum for cutting it altogether, and suggest putting the fate of poor and vulnerable people in the ha ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published January 3rd 2014 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2013)
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What an effort to read it through but well worth it. The book offer to see the aid "business" from the perspective of complexity thinking.

I am fully agrees with him. "Aid in the future would not be an export industry, sclerotic and rigid...Aid would resemble the world of which it is a part: fluid, dynamic, emergent." Work in this industry, I knew that while the idea is good, it will take a while to be really seen on the ground. How to balance order and chaos? The writer doesn't offer answer but
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed my time reading this book, from the beginning to end it's full of useful information and helps change your perspective on the Aid and Development industry.
It's helping me to further understand and define the career that I am going into.
Would highly recommend.
Alun Williams
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book deserves a very wide audience indeed: not only does author Ben Ramalingam have a gift for coining memorable phrases (and finding memorable quotations from other writers), but he has a forensic ability to analyse and articulate why things go wrong in so many organisations. Although "Aid on the Edge of Chaos" focuses on the problems facing aid and development organisations and workers, its lessons are much more widely applicable: if I could I would make this book compulsory reading for e ...more
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Definitely a must-read for those in the development world. Ramalingam writes from the vantage point of a well-versed researcher steeped in international development theory and practice. He fleshes out his discussion of overarching patterns or current/newer theories in development with anecdotal stories which he was either party to or one step removed. He first delves into an extensive overview of development as it has been for decades, a system that is plagued by rigidity and incapacity to adjus ...more
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it
A good exploration of how concepts of complexity may apply to development. It is not systematic, and came off as a bit overly anecdotal at times. Still, the basic exploration is interesting and worthy of greater consideration when thinking about policy.
Charlie Brummitt
Apr 27, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm new to aid but familiar with complex systems. This book was a useful introduction to aid and to its problems, but it has some slow sections and lots of vague statements. The "edge of chaos" concept is taken well outside of its original context, and it's applied in only a heuristic, vague way. ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: development
Good read on discussions related to development aid approaches and effects. The author applies the basic ideas of complexity to the field of aid, resulting in a plead for more participation, listening, and flexibility.
Geert Vansintjan
Dec 31, 2014 rated it liked it
not as good as it should be.

Disappoints near the end. Instead of going for the Bayesian approach, looks rather to an all encompassing hyperanalysis
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