Fighting Poverty By Giving Poor People Money
From Slate Articles
December 25, 2012 - 9:19am
There's more to life than just this, but I've come to think that directly transfering cash money to people in need is the most underrated tool around for fighting poverty. So I was incredibly excited to read Dana Goldstein's profile of GiveDirectly last week and this morning I sent them some money for Christmas.
They take advantage of the fact that Kenya has a widely used mobile phone-based payment and banking system to take money from those who want to give and deposit funds directly in the accounts of impoverished families. About ten percent of the money goes to overhead (electronic payments processing alone is three percent) and ninety percent of funds reach the recipients. Obviously there's a risk that some of the money will be "wasted" on booze or tobacco but in practice that looks like much less wastage than the guaranteed waste involved in a high-overhead prescriptive c...
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