Worldwide, richer people express fears about handing money to poorer people. Giving poor people money is no way to stop them being poor, the thinking goes: Surely they will just waste it. Instead, we design complex, bureaucratic programs like SNAP, the supplemental nutrition assistance program (formerly known as food stamps), to help poor families buy food and only food. That way, they can’t buy a trip to Disney World with our tax dollars.
A growing number of studies suggest that this is wrong-headed, that just handing over cash even to some of the world’s poorest people actually does have a considerable and long-lasting positive impact on their incomes, employment, health, and education. And that suggests we should update both our attitudes about poor people and our poverty reduction programs.
Click to read the article in Businessweek.