Ending global poverty: the fight goes on


Professors of economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-authors of Poor Economics, which won the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs business book of the year award in 2011

The goal of ending poverty is elusive, and those in the aid business seem to oscillate between giddiness and despair, between the excitement of the latest miracle cure and accusations of failure or worse. As the critics never fail to point out, billions of dollars have been spent on aid but the poor are still with us.

There is no one thing that can end poverty. And certainly no one thing that is within the capacity of you, or us, or any particular person or institution. The fight against poverty is not a crusade, with a well-identified and specific enemy, be it unbridled capitalism, rogue governments, over-regulation, hunger or malaria. All of these probably have something to do with the persistence of poverty. But none are easy to fix and, more importantly, even if they were fixed, poverty would still be with us.

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