Do we really understand how to fight poverty? Decades after some of us have experienced some fashion of poverty; others have actively worked in reducing it; institutions have been devoted to its understanding; and the world has officially acknowledged it, it seems that not only this question represents an ongoing project, but also its obligated precedent “what is poverty?” does.
In short, if you had 1 million USD to invest in the fight against poverty, what would you do? Some researchers have proposed to identify the main issues that hamper economic growth, whilst others have focused econometric endeavors in measuring the associated effect of a certain element (strategy, program, policy, activity) in welfare with the hope of translating the results into development guidelines. Some multinational institutions have made the explicit statement of provide the deprived with what they should have. What do they should have? What do we all must have? Does a structurally depressed community should have roads, electricity, urban-mix used areas? Do they have to have TV? Internet? Or just the option to access education, income and health services?
Do we really understand what they need… what they want? Furthermore, is it possible to acknowledge that a person in a wealthier environment has a higher probability of being happy than a person in an economically backward one? Some people have proposed a methodology for evidencing that such relationship does not necessarily exist. However, what is the capacity of an outsider, someone who writes this, someone who reads this, someone who wears these glasses to determine that someone in poverty is happier or can be better throughout the establishment of a development strategy?
Today, the Blog Action Day is dedicated to poverty; millions are writing on the same questions and thinking on other development paradoxes. Yet, and despite the fact that the fight against poverty is full of questions, it doesn’t entail hesitation on the very basics of poverty’s socioeconomic impact: vulnerability to suffer a loss in welfare from the occurrence of disruptive events and an unequal access to society’s goods. In this sense, the fight, the action is clear: to give every person in the world the option (to thrive by achieving her/his own goals with the protection of a social security system).