From Publishers Weekly
In recent years, the Global South (nee "the third world") has embraced a system of cash transfers directly to the poor, as opposed to top-down government aid, to foster human development. As directors at Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester, experts Barrientos and Hulme, along with journalist-researcher Hanlon (Do Bicycles Equal Development in Mozambique?), dissect the growing trend in a number of countries, including China, Mexico, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and South Africa. The inherent problem with such programs, including how to target recipients and how to overcome prejudice against the poor, are discussed in detail, complete with charts, tables, and extensive notes. Though cash transfers do not automatically reduce inequalities-typically, they amount to no more than 1 percent of GDP-they can change conditions on the ground level: "a beneficiary in rural Mexico explained that with money from the grant, 'We saved 600 pesos ($50) to buy wood and the other materials for building a chicken coop, and with what was left we bought a few chickens." Though dry, this primer on the failure of past aid efforts and the promise of a bottom-up approach reveals the rapidly evolving ways in which the Global South is finding a foothold.
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"The simplest of ideas can still hold much value. The collaborative work of Joseph Hanlon, Armando Barrientos, and David Hulme, Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South
discusses this revolutionary concept and how some developing countries are simply granting the poor money and watching how they use that money wisely, for education and for businesses to sustain the money they are given. Debating the problems and values of such a simple plan, Just Give Money to the Poor
is a scholarly and thoughtful read that shouldn't be missed."
"The hidden challenge of living on $1 or $2 a day is that these are just averages: incomes swing up and down across weeks and seasons. The variability means that keeping families healthy, fed, and educated becomes far harder. Just Give Money to the Poor
makes a convincing case for a simple but powerful idea: that guaranteeing families an assured base income will create a platform upon which they can build their futures."
"This is a book that we have been waiting for: a lucid overview of an ongoing rights-based revolution in low- and middle-income countries. Regular, reliable cash transfers prove to be one of the most effective ways to give real aid, serving both short-term welfare and longer-term processes of transformation. Hanlon, Barrientos and Hulme present the evidence with clarity and brio, and place it in a suitably big historical and ethical framework concerning the evolution of attitudes of the monied towards ‘the poor’, within countries and between countries."
"Knitting together the growing evidence that regular cash transfers can break the intergenerational transmission of poverty by improving nutrition, health and education outcomes, Just Give Money to the Poor
calls for a rethinking and a dramatic simplification of the entire anti-poverty aid industry. It calls into question the wisdom and effectiveness of complex anti-poverty programs, and questions even the necessity of the behavioral conditionalities attached to many cash transfer programs. It remains to be seen if poverty can indeed be made history, but this book argues that the best approach is to trust the ingenuity and motivation of the poor by just giving them the money."