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Jacqueline Novogratz in her TED talks brings up the question on how to define poverty. She addresses that many government and world standards define poverty by a number. More specifically defined by making less than $4 a day. Her overall message was about how to help these individuals and families help themselves. It is one thing to send in supplies, like clothes from our Goodwills, which could possibly run the local clothes industries out of business, and another to go in and help locals create their own businesses. Jacqueline worked with a group in Tanzania that made malaria nets. The local women took a US business model and formatted it to selling the nets. She watched as the women took the small opportunity and made a profit. Jacqueline made a clear point that poor people can make smart economic decisions if they are given the chance.

The vision and goal of the Sustainable Development Goals is to promote inclusive and sustainable economic development. Many of the current goals are to reduce hunger and poverty while working towards a greener and cleaner functioning society. Equal opportunity and access to materials despite economic status or gender or race is another way to look at the SDGs. I am unclear on the effect of neo- liberalism. My opinion is that it pushes more thoughtful thinking into the funding of certain projects. Instead of throwing large amounts of money into programs to help certain companies, the money is focused on more practical approaches that might benefit more individuals around the world.

The “Players on the Bench” in John McArther’s Own the Goals refers to President Bush and his administration. During his time in office, Bush supported many of the intentions of the MDGs. President Bush pushed for a 50% increase in the US foreign aid in three years. In 2003, Bush put together the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. There was no doubt that the US was in support of providing aid for other countries. While drawing many ideas from the MDGs, the Bush Administration refused to acknowledge any of them due to the fact that they appeared as “UN-dictated aid quotas”. McArthur criticizes this approach because the United States missed out on several opportunities to do more. Much of the world had accepted the MDGs and by not acknowledging them, the United States alienated themselves. The consequences of their actions will be felt later as they try to solve a bit less agreed upon problems in the world.

Similar to Jacqueline Novogratz, the article “How to Help Poor Countries” focuses on the idea of helping countries help themselves. Poverty is not solved by simply writing a check to clear all of the debt a country has built up. Sending aid does not always benefit the entire country either. It is often common belief that countries economically allied with the richer countries such as the United States would do better off as well. The article points out the situation of Vietnam and Nicaragua to counter that belief. Vietnam is not part of the World Trade Organization and had a US embargo placed on them until 1994. However, it is still doing better than Nicaragua which has had continuous access to the United State’s resources. The reasoning is due to Nicaragua’s history of power being left to just a few political elites with no amount of aid able to overcome that history. In other words, the root of most economic problems stems from government corruption or week regimes. Instead of providing straight aid, countries need to be cleared of their corrupt leaders. Aid only goes as far as a country uses it efficiently.

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