The past year has produced evidence on some of the most successful anti-poverty programs in history. “Cash, livestock, and training” seems to be a simple and scalable way to help thousands and maybe millions out of poverty. This is great news. But while we should celebrate, we should pause before pouring millions into these programs. Paternalism and high price tags could mean that the charities are helping only one person when they could be helping two, three or four.
About two weeks ago, I opened the New York Times to see a full-page ad from a private charity called FXB (at left, click to expand).
“We know how to end global poverty” read the ad:
There’s now a proven approach. The journal Science just published a study proving what works to raise people permanently out of extreme poverty. It worked. And was cost-effective, paying for itself many times over.