Thursday, June 18, 2015

How to really help the poor

"In education, we’ve learned that while some organizations in poor countries give out free uniforms and others scholarships, in Kenya a simple anti-parasite pill that kept children healthy enough to learn was 20 times as cost-effective as the uniforms, and 51 times as cost-effective as scholarships. Our local teams tracked the children into adulthood, and found that the children who received the anti-parasite pills went on to earn over 20 percent higher wages as adults than their peers who didn’t. In India and sub-Saharan Africa, where governments are implementing these programs, over 95 million children have now received the pills.
Yet poverty, and especially extreme poverty, is difficult to eliminate. The poorest of the poor have more problems than just lacking a regular income. Because they usually experience multiple challenges at the same time, we decided to look at the Graduation approach. Organizations employing this approach had been offering participants a 'productive asset' (an asset that generates income, such as livestock or supplies to sell in a small store), training on how to use it, healthcare to keep them healthy enough to work, a small amount of food or money to support themselves while they learned to make a living (so they didn’t have sell the asset immediately, merely to eat), access to a savings account to build up a buffer for future emergencies, and weekly coaching in areas like overcoming unexpected obstacles and meeting their savings goals."

There is no easy way to deal with poverty, but trickle-up actually works.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

To help any economy, help the poor

"The idea that increased income inequality makes economies more dynamic has been rejected by an International Monetary Fund study, which shows the widening income gap between rich and poor is bad for growth.
A report by five IMF economists dismissed “trickle-down” economics, and said that if governments wanted to increase the pace of growth they should concentrate on helping the poorest 20% of citizens.
The study – covering advanced, emerging and developing countries – said technological progress, weaker trade unions, globalisation and tax policies that favoured the wealthy had all played their part in making widening inequality 'the defining challenge of our time'."

Strangely, that's what a lot of religious leaders have taught.  it makes sense.  If the rich get all the money, you have a huge castle with all the wealth inside, and everybody else outside just struggling to survive.  If the lower income people get money, they spend it all over the place because they need to buy food, clothing, etc.  and hopefully have some left for a movie or book or something.

It's getting hard for governments to lie

Russia's Putin insists that there are no Russian troops fighting in Ukraine.  But he hasn't been able to keep his own soldiers from disproving this lie.

When so much information from so many sources is available at everyone's fingertips, all it takes is for somebody to put the pieces together.

"As the conflict in Ukraine continues, so too does Russian President Vladimir Putin's denial of any Russian involvement. But a recent report from think tank the Atlantic Council used open source information and social media to find evidence of Russian troops across the border.
Using the Atlantic Council's methodology, VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky follows the digital and literal footprints of one Russian soldier, tracking him from eastern Ukraine to Siberia, to prove that Russian soldiers are fighting in Ukraine."