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Old 01-05-2011, 02:16 PM   #1
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Default A good start to changing welfare...

Sometimes it's simple ideas that effective. I was skeptical at first read, but they are tying aid to simple behaviors that most people would agree are both beneficial and obtainable. Kind of pay for performance so to speak with positive measurable outcomes. Definitely interested if they can prove the longer term gains of better health and breaking the cycle of poverty. It's a short, but worthwhile read.

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Old 01-08-2011, 12:53 PM   #2
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The program may work by the measures they use.

But long term, for any kind of poverty program to work, it has to it increase productivity and employment among the poorest. You can give a starving man a fish everyday, or you can teach him to fish...

I think the best way to improve the lot of the very poorest in poor nations, is to study the impediments to small business creation and hiring. From my long discussions with a friend who has experience working in gov't in a 3rd world country, and in poverty alleviation programs with the World Bank et al, the barriers to small business creation and hiring are:

1) corruption and lack of rule of law
- it's hard to start a business if you need to grease palms or if a politically connected competitor gets the police to harass you
- it's hard to run a business if you are always afraid of fraud

2) poor infrastructure
- expensive and poor quality electricity and water
- e.g. frequent power blackouts; many businesses spend money on generators, money which would be better spent elsewhere
- half of remote small farms' produce are damaged by the time they get to town to be sold, after the long ride on a bumpy broken dirt road
- long commute times

3) unavailability of small business loans to the poor, and a tight money policy by the monopoly central bank regime (high interest rates)

4) minimum wage laws - a business will not hire a person for a job whose economic worth is less than the minimum wage. Without a minimum wage law more low-worth jobs would be filled, and overall the economy's productivity will improve, and would make more products and services lower-cost and thus available to the poorer sectors of society.

Lastly, if someone were to suggest this for the USA - the definition of "poor" in the USA is a far, far cry from that of the 3rd World where the programs discussed in the article may work. In Brazil or Myanmar $100 a month would go a long, long way, but not among the bottom 1% in this country.

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