Week 2 – Ending Poverty

Jacqueline Novogratz defines poverty as “the poor”. On a macro level, it is the four billion people on Earth that make less than four dollars a day.  She says, if you aggregate it, it’s the third largest economy on Earth, yet mostly go invisible.  They typically pay for critical goods and services like water, healthcare, and housing almost 30 to 40 times what their middleclass counterparts pay. Her main message is the only way to end poverty, is to build viable systems on the ground that deliver critical and affordable goods and services to the poor, in ways that are financially sustainable and scaleable.


In 2000, the Millennium Declaration set eight Millennium Development Goals for 2015.  The first seven MDGs focus on eradicating poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education;  promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; and ensuring environmental sustainability.  The eighth commits developing and developed countries to a global partnership for development.  The declaration resolved, to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women as effective ways to combat poverty, hunger and disease and to stimulate  sustainable development.  The effect of the neo-liberalism policies is the lack of MDG-based aid processes.  IMF program design pays almost no systematic attention to the Goals when considering a country’s budget of macroeconomic framework.

“The players on the bench” in John McAuthur’s Own the Goals, are defined as the United States and the World Bank.  He criticized U.S. President George W. Bush for refusing to support the Millennium Development Goals, because his administration viewed them as UN-dictated aid quotas.  By refusing to directly engage with the MDGs in the early years, the US missed an opportunity to foster international goodwill and highlight its contributions to development efforts.  It missed an easy opportunity to build political capital.  McAuthur also criticized the World Bank for a similar missed out opportunity.  His main issue with the bank is although it has advocated the MDG framework at the senior political levels, it has not adequately facilitated the efforts on the ground.


The article “How to Help Poor Countries” (2005) addresses how narrowly targeted aid money at specific objects has successes.  Assistance does well, but only when the recipient countries do the right things to help themselves.  This includes having the capacity and leadership to spend the money wisely.  Aid is only as good as the ability of the recipient economy and government to use it productively.  Donors themselves also cause many problems.  By overwhelming recipient countries, donors contribute to the poor countries lack of institutional capacity, by pursuing many different objectives. Wealthy nations can also take positive steps to directly benefit developing countries, such as taking action against corrupt leaders, assisting research and development, and enhancing global labor mobility.


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