In the policy world there is a hard to overcome, but increasingly obsolete distinction between rich countries and the developing world. This distinction has led to bifurcations in policy and academic research. An example is the breach between studying international means to fighting poverty and inequality and domestic means to fighting poverty and inequality. At the Brandt School we question the logic of ‘them and us’ and aim at combining perspectives, looking for coherence and incoherence between the domestic and international level.
Recently, for instance, we have finished a project on how national social policy links up with giving international development aid. We found how trade-offs in poverty-oriented aid inhibit its effectiveness and looked at ways how to overcome them (read more here and here). Currently, we look at how aid and domestic social policies deal with new and growing spatial inequalities (find out more here and here).
As an illustration, look at the following picture of nighttime satellite data in the year of 2012. You can easily discern the blue-lined administrative boundaries of Myanmar. Satellite data is very valuable in illustrating processes of economic growth and electricity consumption. But it also shows the huge spatial inequalities in a country where there are rising differences between the Burmese mainland and its ‘periphery’.