Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • I suspect that

  • every aid worker in Africa

  • comes to a time in her career

  • when she wants to take all the money for her project

  • maybe it's a school or a training program

  • pack it in a suitcase,

  • get on a plane flying over the poorest villages in the country,

  • and start throwing that money out the window.

  • Because to a veteran aid worker,

  • the idea of putting cold, hard cash

  • into the hands of the poorest people on Earth

  • doesn't sound crazy,

  • it sounds really satisfying.

  • I had that moment right about the 10-year mark,

  • and luckily, that's also when I learned

  • that this idea actually exists,

  • and it might be just what the aid system needs.

  • Economists call it an unconditional cash transfer,

  • and it's exactly that: It's cash given

  • with no strings attached.

  • Governments in developing countries

  • have been doing this for decades,

  • and it's only now, with more evidence

  • and new technology that it's possible

  • to make this a model for delivering aid.

  • It's a pretty simple idea, right?

  • Well, why did I spend a decade doing other stuff

  • for the poor?

  • Honestly, I believed that I could do more good

  • with money for the poor

  • than the poor could do for themselves.

  • I held two assumptions:

  • One, that poor people are poor in part

  • because they're uneducated and

  • don't make good choices;

  • two is that we then need people like me

  • to figure out what they need and get it to them.

  • It turns out, the evidence says otherwise.

  • In recent years, researchers have been studying

  • what happens when we give poor people cash.

  • Dozens of studies show across the board

  • that people use cash transfers

  • to improve their own lives.

  • Pregnant women in Uruguay buy better food

  • and give birth to healthier babies.

  • Sri Lankan men invest in their businesses.

  • Researchers who studied our work in Kenya

  • found that people invested in a range of assets,

  • from livestock to equipment to home improvements,

  • and they saw increases in income

  • from business and farming

  • one year after the cash was sent.

  • None of these studies found that people

  • spend more on drinking or smoking

  • or that people work less.

  • In fact, they work more.

  • Now, these are all material needs.

  • In Vietnam, elderly recipients used

  • their cash transfers to pay for coffins.

  • As someone who wonders if Maslow got it wrong,

  • I find this choice to prioritize spiritual needs

  • deeply humbling.

  • I don't know if I would have chosen to give food

  • or equipment or coffins,

  • which begs the question:

  • How good are we at allocating resources

  • on behalf of the poor?

  • Are we worth the cost?

  • Again, we can look at empirical evidence

  • on what happens when we give people stuff

  • of our choosing.

  • One very telling study looked at a program in India

  • that gives livestock to the so-called ultra-poor,

  • and they found that 30 percent of recipients

  • had turned around and sold the livestock they had been given

  • for cash.

  • The real irony is,

  • for every 100 dollars worth of assets

  • this program gave someone,

  • they spent another 99 dollars to do it.

  • What if, instead, we use technology to put cash,

  • whether from aid agencies or from any one of us

  • directly into a poor person's hands.

  • Today, three in four Kenyans use mobile money,

  • which is basically a bank account that can run

  • on any cell phone.

  • A sender can pay a 1.6 percent fee

  • and with the click of a button

  • send money directly to a recipient's account

  • with no intermediaries.

  • Like the technologies that are disrupting industries

  • in our own lives,

  • payments technology in poor countries

  • could disrupt aid.

  • It's spreading so quickly that it's possible

  • to imagine reaching billions

  • of the world's poor this way.

  • That's what we've started to do at GiveDirectly.

  • We're the first organization

  • dedicated to providing cash transfers to the poor.

  • We've sent cash to 35,000 people across rural Kenya

  • and Uganda

  • in one-time payments of 1,000 dollars

  • per family.

  • So far, we've looked for the poorest people

  • in the poorest villages, and in this part of the world,

  • they're the ones living in homes

  • made of mud and thatch,

  • not cement and iron.

  • So let's say that's your family.

  • We show up at your door with an Android phone.

  • We'll get your name, take your photo

  • and a photo of your hut

  • and grab the GPS coordinates.

  • That night, we send all the data to the cloud,

  • and each piece gets checked

  • by an independent team

  • using, for one example, satellite images.

  • Then, we'll come back,

  • we'll sell you a basic cell phone

  • if you don't have one already,

  • and a few weeks later,

  • we send money to it.

  • Something that five years ago

  • would have seemed impossible

  • we can now do efficiently

  • and free of corruption.

  • The more cash we give to the poor,

  • and the more evidence we have that it works,

  • the more we have to reconsider

  • everything else we give.

  • Today, the logic behind aid is too often,

  • well, we do at least some good.

  • When we're complacent

  • with that as our bar,

  • when we tell ourselves that giving aid

  • is better than no aid at all,

  • we tend to invest inefficiently,

  • in our own ideas that strike us as innovative,

  • on writing reports,

  • on plane tickets and SUVs.

  • What if the logic was,

  • will we do better than cash given directly?

  • Organizations would have to prove

  • that they're doing more good for the poor

  • than the poor can do for themselves.

  • Of course, giving cash won't create public goods

  • like eradicating disease or building strong institutions,

  • but it could set a higher bar

  • for how we help individual families

  • improve their lives.

  • I believe in aid.

  • I believe most aid is better than just

  • throwing money out of a plane.

  • I am also absolutely certain

  • that a lot of aid today

  • isn't better than giving directly to the poor.

  • I hope that one day, it will be.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

I suspect that

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

A2 TED cash aid poor poorest livestock

【TED】Joy Sun: Should you donate differently? (Joy Sun: Should you donate differently?)

  • 1882 114
    CUChou posted on 2014/12/04
Video vocabulary