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.