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75

Thinking Small Won’t End Poverty

2
terms
2
notes

Immerwahr, D. (2015). Thinking Small Won’t End Poverty. Jacobin, 19, pp. 75-80

75

[...] Shoppers can donate their bag credits — the five-cent rebate they receive by forgoing plastic bags — to a microfinance fund.

Combining this with traditional donations, Whole Foods hopes to raise $5 million to fund 40,000 small loans to “impoverished entrepreneurs” around the globe. They say that these direct financial transfers, unmediated by government agencies, can “empower the poor and the communities around them.”

a couple of things kinda obvious, but: Whole Foods does NOT need shoppers to "donate" anything; they are perfectly capable of donating excess profits on their own if they so choose to, without involving the consumer at all. this is just so blatantly PR-focused that i wanna vomit. reminds me of when BA makes its flight attendants collect donations for some children's charity why on earth would anyone believe that direct financial transfers (which require repayment) from shareholder-beholden corporations are a way of EMPOWERING the poor, compared to governments that are at least theoretically accountable to the people? surely the govt is always the right org for the job here, and if it's not, the solution should be to fix that problem first of all? whence does this libertarian belief that an institution NOT beholden to the people it's trying to serve is the best way to serve those people come from??? i am dying

—p.75 by Jacobin 2 years, 9 months ago

[...] Shoppers can donate their bag credits — the five-cent rebate they receive by forgoing plastic bags — to a microfinance fund.

Combining this with traditional donations, Whole Foods hopes to raise $5 million to fund 40,000 small loans to “impoverished entrepreneurs” around the globe. They say that these direct financial transfers, unmediated by government agencies, can “empower the poor and the communities around them.”

a couple of things kinda obvious, but: Whole Foods does NOT need shoppers to "donate" anything; they are perfectly capable of donating excess profits on their own if they so choose to, without involving the consumer at all. this is just so blatantly PR-focused that i wanna vomit. reminds me of when BA makes its flight attendants collect donations for some children's charity why on earth would anyone believe that direct financial transfers (which require repayment) from shareholder-beholden corporations are a way of EMPOWERING the poor, compared to governments that are at least theoretically accountable to the people? surely the govt is always the right org for the job here, and if it's not, the solution should be to fix that problem first of all? whence does this libertarian belief that an institution NOT beholden to the people it's trying to serve is the best way to serve those people come from??? i am dying

—p.75 by Jacobin 2 years, 9 months ago
78

If community programs have consistently floundered, both in the past and today, what’s left? A return to the rule of experts? Bigger dams and better seeds? If faced with two approaches — that of the development expert, asking “What can we do for the poor?” and that of the community developer, asking “What can we do with them?” — then the grassroots approach seems at least less condescending.

Yet there is a third question that inhabitants of the Global North might ask, one that would be far more productive. “What have we been doing to them?”

That question implies a different framework, one that proponents of participatory development rarely consider. It raises the possibility that there might be some causal relationship between government policies in the Global North and the continued poverty of the Global South. Rather than focusing merely on poor people in poor places, it zooms out, capturing the North and South together through a wide-angle lens.

^^^^^

—p.78 by Jacobin 2 years, 9 months ago

If community programs have consistently floundered, both in the past and today, what’s left? A return to the rule of experts? Bigger dams and better seeds? If faced with two approaches — that of the development expert, asking “What can we do for the poor?” and that of the community developer, asking “What can we do with them?” — then the grassroots approach seems at least less condescending.

Yet there is a third question that inhabitants of the Global North might ask, one that would be far more productive. “What have we been doing to them?”

That question implies a different framework, one that proponents of participatory development rarely consider. It raises the possibility that there might be some causal relationship between government policies in the Global North and the continued poverty of the Global South. Rather than focusing merely on poor people in poor places, it zooms out, capturing the North and South together through a wide-angle lens.

^^^^^

—p.78 by Jacobin 2 years, 9 months ago

(noun) defensive wall

78

Community development, one of its officers giddily explained, could be a bulwark “against the leftist takeover of every hamlet in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.”

this is wild

—p.78 by Jacobin
notable
2 years, 9 months ago

Community development, one of its officers giddily explained, could be a bulwark “against the leftist takeover of every hamlet in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.”

this is wild

—p.78 by Jacobin
notable
2 years, 9 months ago

(noun) government by the wealthy / (noun) a controlling class of the wealthy

79

Similar mechanisms prevail at the un, the World Trade Organization, and the World Bank. Nationally, we aspire to live in democracies. Internationally, we inhabit a plutocracy.

referring to voting power in the IMF being based on economy size not pop size

—p.79 by Jacobin
notable
2 years, 9 months ago

Similar mechanisms prevail at the un, the World Trade Organization, and the World Bank. Nationally, we aspire to live in democracies. Internationally, we inhabit a plutocracy.

referring to voting power in the IMF being based on economy size not pop size

—p.79 by Jacobin
notable
2 years, 9 months ago