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Rev: 30 May 2008.
A personal document outlining evidence-based interventions that are likely to reduce world poverty. It is provided here as a guide to those who would like to influence US policy.
|This graph was printed in the special Millenial edition of the Economist. The 220K PDF version is more readable, but the basic
concept is that since the late 19th century the GDP/person in Western Europe (surrogate
for the industrialized west) has been on a steep exponential curve . That's too much wealth not to eventually eliminate
The printed article attributes the data for this image to Angus Maddison of the IMF. I have not been able to find a web version of it anywhere. It is presented here without permission; I'll remove it upon request.
Note that many of these amount to Institutional Changes and social enginering. They can be very successful-- at a price. See unanticipated consequences
|leverage comparative advantage and globalization||
|governance and law||
|property rights for the poor||Angers ruling class.|
|enhance status of women||
||Angers the patriarchy|
|reduce disease burden||
||If development does not occur, can promote Malthusian stresses|
||Prone to corruption and misuse by authoritarians, socialist governments have not always done well.|
What percentage of its GDP should the US provide in foreign aid? The current percentage is quite small relative to most wealthy nations, and it's primarily used to influence foreign policy. This has been a cause of some outrage, but I think the outrage is misguided. Direct foreign aid does have its uses, and the US should provide more than it does, but there are much more valuable things the US should do to reduce poverty. They would also boost the US economy.
US foreign aid should consist of tariff reductions and enhanced access to the US marketplace and to US investment . Tariff reductions should be available to all who comply with very basic worker protections , but US investment support would be contingent on national bond ratings -- which means contingent upon decent government, accounting transparency, and investor protections.
This aid will directly reduce poverty abroad and increase US overall economic growth, but it will increase poverty among some US workers and devastate some US industries (textiles, steel, etc.) and the communities that rely upon them. So, it cannot occur without a substantial effort to support US workers in those industries and to support the communities that will lose those industries. These are jobs that are going to go away, but this program makes them go away faster. We have to think very well about how to give these workers and communities a better present and future than they will have. Remember Pittsburgh.
The best way to reduce poverty abroad is to aid to US workers and industries. Not to sustain them, but to bury the industries and give the workers (yes, including the executives!) and communities better futures than they face now.
|||I think this has been a significant handicap for Japan.|
|||Whatever my personal feelings about the need to break-up Microsoft, the work of the Gates Foundation on immunization alone may earn his place in history.|
|||Where does this lead ultimately? Well ...|
|||The emphasis is on basic, otherwise the losses in terms of economic revenue exceed the benefits of protection -- even to the individual workers.|
|||I think it's fair to say that everything in this section is well understood by people who've spent their professional lives studying poverty and its alleviation. I know that when I lived in Bangladesh in 1982 that this was extremely obvious and well understood. They know this is true, but they also know it's politically dangerous to speak it out loud. I must give strong credit to Jack Beatty for actually writing about this in the February 2002 Atlantic; it's nothing new to the professionals, but Beatty dared to speak it aloud.|
Since Google does not use indexing information stored in meta tags, I've reproduced some of the meta tags here to facilitate indexing.
<meta name="author" content="John G. Faughnan">
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