Charity in Hard Times

If governments or individuals use the global recession as an excuse to reduce assistance to the world’s poorest people, they will only multiply the seriousness of the problem of poverty for the world as a whole. In fact, given the recession's disproportionate impact on the poor, it has never been more important to increase official and private aid donations.

PRINCETON – As I tour the U.S. promoting my new book, The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty , I am often asked if this isn’t the wrong time to call on affluent people to increase their effort to end poverty in other countries. I reply emphatically that it is not. There is no doubt that the world economy is in trouble. But if governments or individuals use this as an excuse to reduce assistance to the world’s poorest people, they would only multiply the seriousness of the problem for the world as a whole.

The financial crisis has been more damaging for the poor than it has been for the rich. Without in any way minimizing the economic and psychological blow that people experience when they lose their jobs, the unemployed in affluent countries still have a safety net, in the form of social security payments, and usually free health care and free education for their children. They also have sanitation and safe drinking water.

The poor in developing countries have none of these benefits, which proves fatal for an estimated 18 million of them each year. That’s a higher annual death toll than during World War II, and it’s easier to prevent.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/aA3O0r9;
  1. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
  2. Italy unemployed demonstration SalvatoreEsposito/Barcroftimages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

  3. Latin America market Federico Parra/Getty Images

    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

  4. Startup office Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.