poverty, migration, and terrorism

2011-10-03 12.07.30

This post has nothing to do with coaching. This post is just scattered thoughts about about poverty reduction and terrorism, from someone with no background in economic growth.

1 – Aren’t remittances from overseas family members just a form of unconditional cash transfer? Couldn’t existing research on the household impact of remittances provide useful insight into the likely impact of unconditional cash transfer programs? Specifically, could we use it to identify the exact situations in which UCTs will be used for goods like health and education instead of general household consumption?

2 – I suspect the poor Tajiks and Kyrgyz who migrate to Russia and Kazakhstan for work are the same people who would migrate to Syria for ISIS. Either way, they are young men (almost entirely men) who see no productive future where they are and leave to do dangerous work for a chance at something better. From the interviews with Central Asians who have joined ISIS, it’s really not about theology. It’s just desperation. I know the general link between terrorism and poverty has been disproven, but this precise situation might be different. And I wonder if creating decent work for men to do in their home countries would keep them from radicalizing.

3 – I’m still thinking about the Atlantic article about American financial insecurity that I linked last week. When we have seen small amounts of unsecured credit in the forms of credit cards devastate American households, why did we go so nuts about providing the same kind of debt to poor people via microfinance? Why did we assume that poor people in poor countries would do better than us? Irrational faith in the entrepreneurial brilliance of poor people seems just as condescending as irrational disdain.

4 – The evidence just keeps mounting that child sponsorship works. Grizzled development hands have no idea what to do with this information. World Vision must be day drinking in sheer joy at this point. Or having sedate Christ-focused celebrations.

I’d love to do some useful reading on all of this. If you can suggest some, please leave a comment.

One thought on “poverty, migration, and terrorism

  1. Hi, this is my first time read your blog, it’s amazing! I am a student of development practice, and all these questions you are thinking about actually are bothering me as well.
    For your first statement, I would think that how families spend their remittances from family member in foreign countries depend on: the original income level; culture; individual preference; education level. Families would prioritize food or basic needs consumption if they are too poor to afford education even with remittances. Some cultures like traditional Chinese culture highlight the value of education. Such as Chinese families would like to sacrifice anything to offer better education for their children. It can not be denied that poor people are also normal people who demands entertainment and other needs, thus some individuals may prioritize consumption which are not that necessary. Finally, I believe higher education level family would be better at spending their remittances.
    For your second question, I can only say that I totally agree with you that refugee problem can only be eradicated through indigenous economic revitalization.
    For the third question, I personally prefer microfinance programs that are aiming at incentivize saving or offering emergency insurance. Also, I would prefer to limit microfinance programs in the field of NGO, rather by for profit banks.

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