Make Poverty History

If you’ve never heard about it before, Make Poverty History is a UK alliance of many charities decidated to… well, the clue’s in the title.

In order to do this, they have set out three broads areas which they want action on, namely:

[li]Trade justice[/li][li]Cancel debt[/li][li]More and better aid[/li][/ol]

All very laudable aims I’m sure, and on the surface on it worth supporting, but then again there are the critics of the movement such as Stephen Pollard who here argues that MPH’s three aims are respectively “dangerously misguided, pointless and counterproductive”. His argument goes that their trade justice is actually just protectionism which will be more harmful for the countries in the long run, and that more aid will just strengthen corrupt regimes. He argues that to really reduce poverty one should concentrate on better governance and more free trader.

So, uh, any Dopers with any more information or idea who’s right? I’d love to support the movement, but I just don’t really know enough detail (their website is fairly basic) to make a decision. Is the Make Poverty History campaign ultimately counterproductive?

I’m not in the UK, but my input is to stop from outsourcing jobs…I lost the last 3 jobs I had to outsourcing and division closures. Telling me to move to where the jobs are is futile, we have a mortgage, and mrAru has a job - you want BOTH of us to try to go somewhere with a mortgage and be without a job/enough cash to pay the deposites required for rent and utilities? We have just barely enough to support ourselves paycheck to paycheck on his pay and retirement pay only because our car is finally paid off and we no longer are saddled with a monthly payment.

If India wants to create jobs, let them build up their own industrial base, and found companies that need their own in country customer service. Sniping my job out from under me rather upsets me, and as customer service, it isn’t like I was making the big bucks anyway…

This story in the Sunday Telegraph reports that the construction of the nifty MPH wristbands is actually outsourced to Chinese sweatshops. Free trade indeed.

How would stopping outsourcing solve the problem? I mean, you lost your job to another person, who might have been unemployed otherwise (and potentially in a country where being poor means disease from malnutrition, not moaning about car payments). If anything, it sounds like outsourcing could alleviate poverty by spreading wealth from richer to poorer countries.

Does this apply to all industries, or just industries that are personally convenient? Do you feel the States should not be allowed to export products or services? Would you would resign in disgust the minute a foreigner called your customer service line, as the States should be building it’s own base?

I apologize in advance if you feel I’m being overly snarky, but your post comes dangerously close to the “only Americans have a divine right to jobs” attitude I sometimes see. I believe outsourcing is extremely beneficial to the countries that need it most, so they can build up the middle class that can actually buy the items produced by this built up industrial base you speak of.

I know practically nothing about how international loans work, so this may be a very ignorant question, but will future loans be more difficult to get if many past debts are cancelled? Will legislators of lending countries be less likely to vote for loans if there seems to be high chance of the debt being cancelled in the future and hence not getting any money back?

Maybe not by the government, but it could be a factor in proivate estimations. It depends a bit on who exactly holds the loans they want to cancel.

Then you’ll just complain that all the manufacturing jobs are going to India. How do you think a country builds an economic base?

Why do blame India for the shortsighted greed of big business?

Back to the OP’s topic:
Under the trade justice heading, there is this small remark:

It seems to me that the implication at the end of this paragraph is that the situation of the poor, living on under $2/day, is noticeably worse than it has been in the past. Is that true? Has the even been a time in the past when the global poverty situation is much better than it is today?

I’m not going to argue against the first two sentences: I believe that there is significant evidence that the current economic climate is not working for many of the world’s poor. However, I do not believe that this is an intrinsic property of free trade. Some of the significant problems that need to be combated are corrupt governance and lack of formal property rights such as those established in first world countries (Hernando de Soto (link contains several articles written by and about de Soto), mentioned in the Pollard article, is somewhat famous for his analysis of property rights in rich and poor nations).

I don’t have any information about electricity specifically, however, water privatization does appear to be working. Here is one short article about water privatization from Reason online. Another study that shows the effects of water privatization on child mortality rates in Argentina (the full report (pdf) is here). The report offers a rather positive picture of the effect of water privatization. One of the more interesting results was:

This is a very valid criticism. Lowering our farm subsidies (and our other barriers to free trade) is one of the many things we could do to help poor countries. Free trade advocates are certainly not advocates of protecting our own industries, while forcing others not to do the same thing.

Well, how would you like to be informed that your being out of work is your fault, and your not being able to find a job is your fault, and you not being able to find work in your own field is your fault. Then the big businesses jump in and say the reason they outsource to some place like india is because the cost of doing business in america [which includes paying their kick in of the unemployment insurance and social security, and a bunch of other public welfare contributions] is too expensive. The cost of supporting the social welfare programs is increasing because of the number of people out of work and needing to be in the system is increasing. Big hint, the number of people out of work increasing in my service industry is because the jobs are going offshore. If we had the damned jobs, we wouldnt be out of work and stuck in the social welfare programs…and costing big business more money. I would have the same opinion if I was german - my german friend is just as peeved at the influx of turks, illegals from north and central africa and eastern europe and taking jobs from germans. National identity is national identity. People will always object to losing out jobs no matter where they are.

How can I be anything but american? born here…my opinions are the way they are because i was raised here. I cant think like a ugandan, I am not ugandan. I can aproximate what I think a ugandan might think like but unless I actually grew up ugandan, it will be only an approximation. I am of the opinion that businesses that serve an american customer base in many matters that requires a good comprehension of american dialect english and cultural habits would best be served by a CS group of americans speaking american and understanding american culture.

sigh Like japan, korea, china they could find products they can develop and make to fill a marketing niche, like sony did with compact electronics, or germany did with legal drugs and chemicals. They are making a good start with custom fabrics for the fashion and decorating industries. They have a seriously good selection of woven-to-order shops. They also do some very good findings - wide selection and good quality.