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Bjorn Lomborg

Get the facts straight

Poverty: The direct approach isn’t always best

2018-05-25

Sometimes in life, it is clear that the direct approach isn’t the best one. This is true in many areas, even when it comes to policymaking. Take, as an example, the area of extreme poverty. It seems logical, at first, that the most effective response should be head-on: giving money and assets to protect people from income shocks.

In recent times, microcredit schemes have been presented as a panacea, attracting a lot of money around the world. However, a series of trials have shown that microcredit doesn’t do much good—often not even increasing average incomes, and burying the poor in debt.