Argentina’s former secretary of domestic trade this week publicly expressed doubt over the validity of the 32 percent poverty rate released last fall by the government’s statistics agency.
The annual public letter from Bill and Melinda Gates has become a much-celebrated event in the global development calendar. But the self-described ‘impatient optimists’ paint a picture that is so selective in its use of facts that it amounts to little more than propaganda for a failing industry, and indeed a failing ideology. The 2017 letter is especially striking for just how out-of-sync it feels with the current zeitgeist.
Poverty is back in the headlines thanks to a pair of public figures. The comments illustrate divergent views, and only one is correct. “Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told CNN. “So maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest that in health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.”
The amount of money sent home by migrants and refugees from developing countries exceeds foreign aid – making migration a powerful anti-poverty, too. Despite this overwhelming evidence, countries are shutting their doors to foreigners. The effort by Western governments to limit the entry of migrants and refugees is fueled by nationalism and rising inequality … and a fair amount of misinformation.
Much like eradicating a disease, ending poverty requires knowing where it exists. A new project uses satellites and artificial intelligence to measure poverty rates – reaching places missed by traditional household surveys. Researchers say this can help track changes more quickly and improve the ability of governments and nonprofits as they try to end extreme poverty by 2030.
In a world of rising inequality and automation, the idea of a universal basic income is gaining momentum, from the most developed countries to some of the poorest. Finland made headlines when it launched a trial at the start of the year, and France’s left-wing presidential contender Benoît Hamon included it in his platform. Now, India’s chief economic adviser says it’s time for “serious public deliberation.”
Here’s some good news from 2016: Costa Rica is still steadily reducing its poverty rate, bolstering its economy and its reputation as one of the best development success stories in Latin America.
Mobile money is more than a way to send and receive money. For some people, it is a path out of poverty – particularly for women. A new study in Kenya found that the M-PESA mobile money platform lifted 194,000 households out of poverty.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s recent assessment of Nicaragua reinforces the narrative that the country has made tremendous strides in fighting poverty, but many experts stress the importance of staying vigilant against the country’s still deep inequalities and precarious economy.
For today’s Humanosphere podcast, we talk about food and agriculture with Nathanael Johnson, a writer for the entertaining and insightful environmental news website Grist.org.