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In response to Jim Kim’s question about how to end poverty

The effective theme of the long term sustainable solution to poverty is to focus on the gap between the poorest and the poverty level within each sovereign area and ask each sovereign area which has minimized poverty to then wage prosperity on its poorest neighbor. Below a certain level of destitution it is impossible to “fish.” Given a baseline my bet is that enough will work hard that we can tolerate any long term self selected parasites as long as we do not spend money and resources trying to manage them.

In the US, for example (even with its very high definition of the poverty level as compared to desperate people around the world facing a real possibility of near term starvation) we could very nearly eliminate poverty for the persons legally resident here for the amount we already budget if we simply stopped trying to evaluate who “deserved” help and issued funds as a negative income tax along the lines agreed to by the surprising trio of pre-Watergate Nixon, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Milton Friedman.

If no barriers or “welfare traps” are erected and you get to keep in net about 75 cents on each dollar earned the side effect savings (such as elimination of crimes of desperation)would generate huge increases in funds available to help Mexico. Reducing the prosperity gradient at sovereign area borders is key to ending illegal immigration as a criminal enterprise. In the very long term, low country to country prosperity gradients make international relations easy. (Consider the US and Canada.) This may sound a bit Utopian, but we can actually make this happen if we simply stop trying to regulate who deserves the poverty level. And we should start this right here in the US and the sooner, the better.

We miss you Jim, but my classmate Phil seems to be doing a great job.

As for the World Bank, I would suggest you use some of your resources to calculate for various countries whether they are spending too much trying to regulate the distribution of baseline support and whether it is practical to experiment with just giving it. My hunch is that this is applicable in many sovereign areas, but I don’t have the resources to do comprehensive data gathering and calculations. I’m supposing that you do. It is likely even profitable to determine the current beneficiaries of the slices of foreign aid that are taken by corruption and pay them off above the table to just not interfere.