Changing the question of poverty to wealth

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“Feeling good about yourself, is not the same as doing good.” -Theodore Dalrymple

The “problem” of poverty is one which has befuddled humanity for centuries. And while we as a race have made great strides in combatting this scourge, reflections on the past half-century of international aid have surfaced new realizations:

Perhaps we’ve been asking the wrong question.

“Instead of asking what causes poverty, we begin to ask, what causes wealth? What are the conditions for human flourishing from which prosperity can grow? And how can we create and protect the space for people to live out their freedom and responsibilities?”

What do I mean? Check out this video trailer from the folks at PovertyCure:


PovertyCure proposes we shift our thinking:

  • “From aid to enterprise
  • From poverty alleviation to wealth creation
  • From paternalism to partnerships
  • From handouts to investments
  • From seeing the poor as consumers or burdens to seeing them as creators
  • From viewing people and economies as experiments to pursuing solidarity with the poor
  • From viewing the poor as recipients of charity to acknowledging them as agents of change with dignity, capacity, and creativity.
  • From encouraging dependency to integrating the poor into networks of productivity and exchange
  • From subsidies and protectionism to open trade and competition
  • From seeing the global economy as a fixed pie to understanding that human enterprise can grow economies”

I find this a powerful new way to think, and one which accords the poor the dignity that is proper to them, and sets a place for them at the table of human flourishing.

After doing some research, one way I came across to participate in this effort, is the micro-lending platform, Zidisha. By creating a way to lend money at low interest rates to individual small business owners in developing countries, who can put them to good use in their communities, Zidisha hopes to expand the pie of wealth for all. I made four micro-loans this past weekend, and Zidisha will give you $25 credit to loan just for trying it out.

We can make a difference. And lives can be changed.