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

Hanlon, Joseph; Barrientos, Armando and Hulme, David (2010). Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South. Sterling, VA, USA: Kumarian.

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Amid all the complicated economic theories about the causes and solutions to poverty, one idea is so basic it seems radical: just give money to the poor. Despite its sceptics, researchers have found again and again that cash transfers given to significant portions of the population transform the lives of recipients. Countries from Mexico to South Africa to Indonesia are giving money directly to the poor and discovering that they use it wisely – to send their children to school, to start a business and to feed their families.

Directly challenging an aid industry that thrives on complexity and mystification, with highly paid consultants designing ever more complicated projects, Just Give Money to the Poor offers the elegant southern alternative – bypass governments and NGOs and let the poor decide how to use their money. Stressing that cash transfers are not charity or a safety net, the authors draw an outline of effective practices that work precisely because they are regular, guaranteed and fair. This book, the first to report on this quiet revolution in an accessible way, is essential reading for policymakers, students of international development and anyone yearning for an alternative to traditional poverty-alleviation methods.

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