I got mine…?

Last month (January 2012) the Inter-American Development Bank attempted to answer the question:

Does Inequality Breed Altruism or Selfishness?

The answers are based on data about Brazil’s redistributive programs, also known as cash transfer programs.

One conditional cash transfer program in Brazil is called Bolsa Familia (Family Grant). Described simply, through Bolsa Familia, a small monthly grant is given to participating families living in poverty. The families agree to keep their children in school and vaccinated. Programs like these are designed to reduce poverty.

Rich and poor agree, according to the survey, that the government should have programs to address social inequality. But they do not necessarily agree on how the government should address poverty. The rich people surveyed, for example, place an emphasis investing directly on education, whereas the poorer respondents did not. Overall they prefer cash transfer.

So…it comes down to priorities, doesn’t it? If you are hungry, you first put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.

What do you think is the most important thing we should invest in to end poverty? Health? Education? Jobs?


4 responses to this post.

  1. Doesn’t some psychologist have a hierarchy of needs with food and shelter being the very first — well, maybe safety? — David


  2. I think the more thoughtful programs emphasize education. I read one article that promoted the idea that the education of the women produced the best “results”.


    • Hi, John. I’ve heard the same- that social investment in women and girls gets the greatest returns. One international NGO I admire that takes this approach is CARE .


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