Joseph Hanlon is senior lecturer in development and conflict resolution at the Open University and visiting senior research fellow at the LSE. He is a journalist and author or editor of more than a dozen books. A former journalist on New Scientist and then policy advisor for Jubilee 2000, he is a specialist in making complex technical issues lucid and accessible. Armando Barrientos, Research Director at the Brooks World Poverty Institute of the University of Manchester, is the world expert on cash transfers and social protection. He is a senior researcher at the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, which gives him access to the most up-to-date and unpublished literature on cash transfers. David Hulme is Professor of Development Studies and Founder-Director of the Chronic Poverty Research Centre and the Brooks World Poverty Institute, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester.
The hidden challenge of living on $1 or $2 a day is that these are just averages: incomes swing up and down across weeks and seasons. The variability means that keeping families healthy, fed, and educated becomes far harder. Just Give Money to the Poor makes a convincing case for a simple but powerful idea: that guaranteeing families an assured base income will create a platform upon which they can build their futures. This is a book that we have been waiting for: a lucid overview of an ongoing rights-based revolution in low- and middle-income countries. Regular, reliable cash transfers prove to be one of the most effective ways to give real aid, serving both short-term welfare and longer-term processes of transformation. Hanlon, Barrientos and Hulme present the evidence with clarity and brio, and place it in a suitably big historical and ethical framework concerning the evolution of attitudes of the monied towards the poor, within countries and between countries. Knitting together the growing evidence that regular cash transfers can break the intergenerational transmission of poverty by improving nutrition, health and education outcomes, Just Give Money to the Poor calls for a rethinking and a dramatic simplification of the entire anti-poverty aid industry. It calls into question the wisdom and effectiveness of complex anti-poverty programs, and questions even the necessity of the behavioral conditionalities attached to many cash transfer programs. It remains to be seen if poverty can indeed be made history, but this book argues that the best approach is to trust the ingenuity and motivation of the poor by just giving them the money. The simplest of ideas can still hold much value. The collaborative work of Joseph Hanlon, Armando Barrientos, and David Hulme, Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the Global South discusses this revolutionary concept and how some developing countries are simply granting the poor money and watching how they use that money wisely, for education and for businesses to sustain the money they are given. Debating the problems and values of such a simple plan, Just Give Money to the Poor is a scholarly and thoughtful read that shouldn't be missed.