“No one wants to be a beggar for life” – “Poverty, Inc.”

December 16, 2015, 7:32 am
consequences facing facts and accept consequence of acts take and face responsibilities

photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Poverty, Inc. is a documentary from a group by the same name. You can see the trailer at those links.

The way we, that is, the developed world, are doing international development is broken. One comment in the movie from an economist in Africa tells the story:  emergency relief is the standard model used for decades to end poverty and suffering.

That isn’t working.

As another speaker says:

“No one wants to be a beggar for life”

I read two reviews of the movie, one from a center-left perspective and one from a center-right perspective. Both praise the movie and share in the criticism of big aid.

The documentary won several awards at a libertarian film festival and then won best documentary at a progressive film festival. Imagine that!

Guess which of the following two columnists made this comment?

It’s almost like anybody with a populist outlook and, you know, a brain between their ears and a heart between their shoulders, has got to look at our current system of international development and aid and say there’s something deeply wrong.

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Trying to make the world less miserable is complicated and messy

June 20, 2014, 6:55 am

One of the big reasons I blog is to help me sort out this big, complicated, messy world.

“J”, an anonymous blogger and novelist at AidSpeak, helps in general and especially with his recent post It’s a Crappy World.

He points out 5 of the tensions and paradoxes of the aid and development world. Lots to ponder.

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The world is complicated – the ‘you-can’t-even-just-hand-out-a-wad-of-cash’ chapter

September 4, 2013, 8:20 am

I don’t understand why, but there has been a lot of tweeting in the twitter world about the wonders of addressing poverty by just giving everyone a handful of cash. That would make a number of aid issues a lot easier to deal with.


The world is complicated. Everything has unexpected side issues.

An experienced worker in the aid field who maintain anonymity by self-identifying as “J” writes at AidSpeak.

He explains why even giving cash away is difficult in his post, Cash.

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“Your help is hurting” – More unintended consequences

August 29, 2013, 6:40 am

“The world is complicated.”

In a video from PovertyCure, Peter Greer tells the story I mentioned earlier of how in just one summer help from a U.S. church destroyed the egg market in a small Rwandan village.

Second hand clothes sent to Kenya destroyed the textile manufacturing industry and the cotton farms. Sad unintended consequences.



Superb quote from the video: Read the rest of this entry »

Unintended consequences – “Your help is hurting,” government to government version

August 16, 2013, 8:34 am

Previous post described how development aid can sometimes cause hurt.

Part 2 of that discussion describes how government-to-government aid can sometimes make things worse and prevent development.

Jerry Bowyer interviews Peter Greer in Your Help Is Hurting, Part II: The Unintended Consequences Of Giving Dictators Foreign Aid.

Mr. Greer uses the example of the president of Zimbabwe distributing food received as a part of international aid only in the areas that vote for him.

Want to eat? Vote for him. Want to oust the dictator? Your family and community starve.

Not quite what was intended when governments approved the grant.

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Unintended consequences – generous gift to local church undermines their giving

August 14, 2013, 7:34 am

Mark Williams tells of a giving a generous offering when he was blessed to be the guest preacher at a church in India – Do You Destroy Through Dependency?

What he did not expect was his graciousness hurting the congregation.

How did that happen?

He gave two $20 bills.

Seems like a reasonable amount, doesn’t it? Yet he explains: Read the rest of this entry »

Improved self-governance is key to development in Africa

August 12, 2013, 6:53 am

That is the core point made by Dr. Mo Ibrahim on how to develop the economies of all 57 African countries. He explains his ideas at: Mo Ibrahim On How (And Why) Africa Should Solve Its Own Problems.

He wonders why African people are so poor. He thinks of where Ghana, Egypt, China, India, and Singapore were 50 years ago. Then, Ghana and Egypt were the richest countries of those five. Look how far the other three have advanced.

The problem is bad governance in both the public and private sectors.

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