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Thursday, 24 December 2015

India & Papua New Guinea

First Impressions Count

With a population of almost 1.3 billion people India is the second most populous country after China, and the world's largest democracy. It has 10 languages spoken by more than 30 million people each, and a total of 454 different languages, not counting dialects. Papua New Guinea of course tops the ranks. Dealing with diversity is therefore a common challenge.

Illustration 1: Language diversity per country

India counts 6 major different scripts, which are impossible to read for the non-initiated. It has 10 cities of more than 1.5 million inhabitants. Around Mumbai, we find the worlds largest movie industry. The city was called Bombay in colonial times, hence Bollywood) It is the largest dairy producing country with the largest dairy cooperative in the world. Indian railways is one of the largest employers in the world, with more than 1.5 million employees.

The Climate Just Changed For The Better: the Paris Deal at COP21 on 12 December 2015


Lecture delivered at Anna University, Chennai, India on 23 December 12 pm.

Dr. Albert Schram

We are faced now with the fact that tomorrow is today. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words “Too late”. 
(Martin Luther King, New York, 4 April 1967.


Today, at Anna University in Chennai (India) I would like share few thoughts on the global climate change negotiations, and the outcome of the recent Conference of Parties held in Paris (COP21). I do not pretend to be an expert in the field. For over 2 decades, I merely observed the development of climate science, and the interaction of scientists with policy makers, in particular when Inter-Governmental Panel 4th Assessment Report (IPPC-AR4) was presented at the European Commission in Brussels in 2007.

My interest in the climate change debate, and countries' long-term sustainable development was first raised in 1993 during the lectures and classes of Professor (now Lord) Nicholas Stern at the London School in Economics, the later author of the 2007 Stern Report on climate change. Later, I published in international journals as an environmental economists on various institutions designed to curb emissions (Alpizar, Requate & Schram 2004, Schram & Hussey 2009).

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Papua New Guinea: failing to develop or developing to fail?

Lecture given on 4 December at the Cairns Institute, James Cook University.

Dr. Albert Schram, Vice Chancellor
Papua New Guinea University of Technology

On twitter the link to the powerpoint presentation: "PNG: failing to develop, or developing to fail?" Neither: long-term trends are positive"


Papua New Guinea is a poster child for failure to develop since independence in 1975, and is one of only a handful of countries that failed in achieving a single of the 8 Millenium Development Goals in 2015.

Today, PNG's state institutions are still extractive and exclusive in nature. State institutions merely benefited the elites and their extended families. More than anything else, this explains why over the last decade none of the resource rents have contributed to better outcomes in health and education.

State  institutions are weak in terms of service delivery to the population, but strong when protecting the interest of those in power. When something needs to be done to help the poor, a swift response is usually lacking. However, if powerful interests are at stake, then drastic and effective action is taken quickly.