Monday, 2 August 2010

Unconditional cash transfers FTW!

So, the World Bank did an experiment in Malawi and - surprise, surprise - the poor people who were given money did what was in their best interests whether or NOT there were conditions attached. Imagine that: people doing things that are good for them even though they are poor. This makes me happy. It makes me happy for two reasons.

It's fan-freaking-tastic to see someone, anyone, is doing actual research on this instead of simply falling back on the tired arguments against unconditional transfers (UCT) that work only if you first accept that poor people are intrinsically stupid/irrational/unable to make decisions for themselves. Sure, the debate will still go on - largely because there are people in the system who like the idea of being able to control what recipients do - but at least there is some kind of evidence in favour of unconditional transfers.

It's also great to see proof (coming out of the World Bank, too) that the 'poor Africans' don't necessarily need the well-meaning 'conditions' to 'guide' them on the 'proper course'. I do love Africa some days.

Also, increasingly interested in cash transfers, particularly unconditional cash transfers. Hmm...

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