If you only read one thing this week…

Unintended Consequences of Poverty Reduction by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
May 20, 2008, 10:22 pm
Filed under: Articles, Development theory, If you only have 15 mins, Megatrend

Read on for a summary of The Risks of Fighting Poverty too Well by Mark Lange, first published in the Christian Science Monitor. Or read the full article and see video footage here.

It is ironic that China’s stunning success in reducing poverty brings unintended consequences for the rest of the world. China’s breakthrough has created an explosion in greenhouse gases; it has triggered intense competition for resources which has led to China’s sponsorship of the world’s most savage and dysfunctional regimes. China’s enormous supply of workers makes it harder for other nations to contribute labor and trade in world markets. Within China, as poverty in declines, inequality is rising rapidly. 

Policymakers need to learn how to mitigate these and many other unintended consequences of success. Many economic and aid institutions are unwittingly set up to resist progress—to run projects and perpetuate themselves. The bigger the problem, the bigger the operating budget.  Institutions should fundamentally reconsider incentives and rewards, not simply to last-billion governments, but to their own organizations. For example, rather than link managers’ seniority to the number of people and dollars under them, they should be rewarded for analytic assessment, experimentation, and country-based outcomes (not activities).  Good people should get recognized and rewarded for doing the right thing, rather than defending budgets. Politicians should hold honest conversations about the need for worker retraining for better-paying, higher-value jobs.  And to help the worst-off, humanitarian activists need to be open to enlisting, managing and regulating commerce. If we’re serious about eradicating abject poverty, it’s critical that we learn to manage the real-world consequences of getting it right. 





2 Comments so far
Leave a comment


How can you fit such an article under a category of “if you only read one thing this week”?

I am sorry to tell you this: This article looks, sounds, and feels like propaganda, full of dogma, and almost ready to broadcast from the BBC or the VOA !, weather you realise it or not !

Please … there are so many tings that are happening around you this week that are much more worthy of the category name.

I wish you all the best.


Comment by بكر التميمي


Thank you for your comments on the article – we try to post a range of opinions and articles that represent different points of view (not just our own!) as you may have seen on the debate around the current food crisis. If you have any counter opinions or something that you think might be more relevant right now please send it on to us and we will look at hosting it here.

And do keep the comments coming –


Comment by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: