Just give the poor money

One incredibly effective way to tackle poverty is to give people money. This is sadly an exciting new idea in poverty alleviation.

Not a bad idea you might think. I’ve always been skeptical of people going off to India to build schools. Its self indulgent bullshit frankly, the one thing which the developing world has enough of is unskilled labour.

The money it takes to send someone on their Gap Yah [see below] school building could pay the wages of three labours to do the same work, if the community wanted a school built of course.

A new book called “Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South” argues that:

this is the world of aid turned upside down. A couple of years ago, Oxfam tried the idea out in a few villages in Vietnam. Charity workers gave the equivalent of three years’ wages in one go to more than 400 families. When they returned they found that poverty had dropped through the floor, with most of the money spent sensibly on food or fertilisers, seeds and cows. But older people had put some cash towards coffins, explaining that funerals were a major expense. And one group had built a communal house, to practise yoga.


2 thoughts on “Just give the poor money

  1. That’s one for the reading list (Think you need to fix the link to the CiF piece by the way.)

    It’s always just seemed pretty obvious to me in that it seems odd those on the left talk about redistributive taxation, yet only for Britain, and not to those who are actually, you know, poor.

    1. (All the links seem to be working for me???)

      Moving purchasing power to the developing world is a good thing. Oxfam starting doing it decades ago.

      Back in the day old ladies would knit loads of clothes and Oxfam would ship them out to where they thought they were needed. This never really worked so they have stopped doing it, instead goods are sold in this country and some money is taken off a spreadsheet in this country and added to one in another where it can be spent on what is needed.

      John Rawls and A Theory of Justice inform a lot of my thinking about Global Justice. Giving poor people money is pretty obvious to me.

      Like I said, there’s lots of places the right and left can work together.

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