WEEK 2: MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND DEFINING POVERTY

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/jacqueline_novogratz_invests_in_ending_poverty.html

When defining poverty, Novogratz talks about the 4 billion people who live on less than $4 a day. She says they are farmers, factory workers, government workers, taxi drivers, etc. She defines areas of poverty as places with low production and high prices, and poverty will only worsen if these places depend on handouts and constant aid with no sustainable future. Lack of freedom

The main message Novogratz is trying to convey is we are all connected on this earth, and we never know what our action and inaction does to people. She said, “The only way to end poverty, is to build viable systems, on the ground that deliver critical and important services to the poor in ways that are financially sustainable and scalable.”

The Vision of the MDGs was created with a vision and goal to develop a concrete action plan for the world to achieve the 8 millennium goals to reverse poverty, hunger, and diseases.

Goals: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability,and  develop a global partnership for development

The effect of Neo-liberalism has changed overtime. The government policy has changed its allotted spending, which goes with the idea of free market controlling resources. Some say neo-liberalism is holding back the goals of MDGs and develipment where it is needed.

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In Own the Goals by John McArthur, he mentions the “Players on the Bench” — by that, he means The United States—referred to as “Washington” and the World Bank. McArthur Criticizes the USA’s refusal to engage with MDGs earlier on. He says, “United States missed an opportunity to highlight its contributions to development efforts and foster international goodwill.” He goes onto say, “Furthermore, by resisting a project on which most of the world was actively collaborating, Washington missed easy opportunities to build political capital for solving much thornier and divisive international issues.”

McArthur also criticizes Washington by calling it “disengaged” in regards to the MDGs due to a long-time “aversion to fixed foreign aid spending, especially when defined by an international agreement.” He goes on to call their fear “baseless” and says that MDGs don’t have the power to dictate pledges or “aid commitments.”

McArthur criticizes the bank because “as a main interlocutor with the developing world, (banks) should have helped poor countries assess how they could achieve the MDGs and sounded the alarm about donor financing gaps.”

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In the article, “How to Help Poor Countries” –The authors mention early in the text, “even in the best-performing countries, growth and productivity remain modest, and investment depends completely on foreign aid infusions.” With this being said, when talking about ‘more aid’ the authors note: “Boosting assistance to the poorest countries of the world is a central recommendation of the recent reports of the UN Millennium Project and British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s commission on Africa, and, along with reduced corruption and better management in poor countries, it is a cornerstone of the strategy envisaged to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.” More aid has helped eradicate small pox, lower infant mortality rates, river blindness/diarrhea have been widely treated, women’s access to modern contraception. The authors go onto say that aid pays for some of the limited access to aids medicine, and aid has also helped restoring peace in Bosnia, Sierra Leone, and East Timor.

The authors said, “If aid is increased and delivered more efficiently and trade inequities are addressed, then the two traditional pillars of development will yield rewards.”

The authors recognize the benefits of aid by saying, “At its best, aid has helped nations rebuild after conflicts and assisted in achieving specific objectives. But its role in creating and sustaining key institutions and long-term economic health has been much less clear.”

Though they see the benefits coming from foreign aid, they suggest that countries help the countries in need build a sustainable platform to grow off of, and not depend on the help.

The authors made several suggestions: for one, they believe that “wealthy nations must begin to lift the burdens they impose on the poor.” Currently, the developed world uses international trade agreements to impose costly burdens on poor countries.

Wealthy nations can build a sustainable platform for places in need “by taking action against corrupt leaders, assisting research and development, and enhancing global labor mobility.”

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