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Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1565493339
ISBN-10: 1565493338
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Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"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."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Kumarian Press (April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565493338
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565493339
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #505,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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This book was useful in compiling recent thinking about development models for the world's poor. Not too technical, this is good for the understanding of policy makers that are interested in the strategic level of engagement in the field. It raises serious questions about decades of international development projects and the usefulness of the West's typical "missionary" approach to exporting solutions to problems of the world's poorest communities.
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By tfk on March 20, 2011
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Just give money to the poor is an interesting idea. It is like "don't give fish to people, but give money, so they can buy fish and other things they need."
Many people disagree with this idea. I had a tough discussion with my classmate on unconditional cash transfer project. The concern of the opponents is very classic, dependency and sustainability. In fact, many development projects also create dependency and not sustainable, even though they label its as sustainable and promoting self-relience projects. Both unconditional cash transfer and other approach have risk of creating dependency and unsustainable project. The other thing is why we should be jealous when poor people get free little money? while at the same time development labors enjoy high salary from development projects by sitting in fancy offices in DC or other capital cities.
So, instead of wasting money for complicated projects, why not to try this approach. Having money in your hand increase your capabilities to obtain more functionings. This approach will reduce the power of donor to control the project, since decision will be made in the hands of the people, not the project manager. I am not saying that this project is flawless, however this is worth to try.
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Well written and well researched, Just Give Money to the Poor shows how small monthly transfer payments can take the edge off of extreme poverty. Transfer payments represent an extraordinarily cost effective and scalable approach to mitigating poverty with documented impact on nutrition, school attendance and business development. This is a must read for anyone concerned about the vast amount of development assistance that is squandered and how just giving money to the poor is often the best approach.
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