Jeffrey Sachs on Extreme Poverty
Jeffrey D. Sachs recently wrote an article about extreme poverty:
Around one billion people live in extreme poverty, suffering from economic deprivation so severe that they must struggle daily for survival. Extreme poverty is sometimes defined as living on under $1 a day, but more accurately it is the lack of reliable access to basic needs, including adequate food, basic health services, safe drinking water and connectivity with the wider world (via roads, power and telecommunications).
Recent orthodoxy holds that extreme poverty results from corruption, mismanagement and weak institutions. A corollary is that institutional improvements take considerable time, so the escape from extreme poverty is likely to take decades. Without denying the benefit of stronger institutions, I suggest that excessive focus on institutional reforms has gotten the policy sequencing more wrong than right. Often, more direct aid can dramatically reduce extreme poverty in just a few years.
I highly recommend reading the entire article linked to above. Jeffrey Sachs wrote the well-known book, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time.