Dette er via Ezra Klein, som linker til en artikkel av Tina Rosenberg (Pulitzer journalist), som kikker på Brasil og en økende Gini koeffesient, dvs. inntektsulikheter. Som hun presiserer, Brasil var blant landene i verden med størst inntektsubalanse, men fra 2003-2009 har de fattiges inntekt vokst i imponerende hastighet. Tittelen på artikkelen er ‘For å sla tilbake fattigdom, betal de fattige’. Et latterlig enkelt konsept som blir ufattelig komplekst som et dypere tankeinstrument.
Several factors contribute to Brazil’s astounding feat. But a major part of Brazil’s achievement is due to a single social program that is now transforming how countries all over the world help their poor.
The program, called Bolsa Familia (Family Grant) in Brazil, goes by different names in different places. In Mexico, where it first began on a national scale and has been equally successful at reducing poverty, it is Oportunidades. The generic term for the program is conditional cash transfers. The idea is to give regular payments to poor families, in the form of cash or electronic transfers into their bank accounts, if they meet certain requirements. The requirements vary, but many countries employ those used by Mexico: families must keep their children in school and go for regular medical checkups, and mom must attend workshops on subjects like nutrition or disease prevention. The payments almost always go to women, as they are the most likely to spend the money on their families. The elegant idea behind conditional cash transfers is to combat poverty today while breaking the cycle of poverty for tomorrow.
Rosenberg skriver for ett utvidet miljø av journalister og reportere, kalt Fixes, og forteller videre:
Most of our Fixes columns so far have been about successful-but-small ideas. They face a common challenge: how to make them work on a bigger scale. This one is different. Brazil is employing a version of an idea now in use in some 40 countries around the globe, one already successful on a staggeringly enormous scale. This is likely the most important government antipoverty program the world has ever seen. It is worth looking at how it works, and why it has been able to help so many people.
In Mexico, Oportunidades today covers 5.8 million families, about 30 percent of the population. An Oportunidades family with a child in primary school and a child in middle school that meets all its responsibilities can get a total of about $123 a month in grants. Students can also get money for school supplies, and children who finish high school in a timely fashion get a one-time payment of $330.
Det kommer sikkert ikke som en overraskelse at slike sosiale program kjøres ikke bare i Brasil, men på alle kontinenter i alle størrelser. Man skal merke seg størrelsen på akkurat Bolsa Familia, fordi det er en av de to viktigste pengeoverføringene til fattige i Brasil. Her er en kjapp innføring i Bolsa Familia fra Britto et. al. (PDF)
The Bolsa Familia Programme is a cash transfer launched in the end of 2003, which resulted from the unification of a series of pre-existing conditional cash transfer programmes. It is directed to families whose monthly per capita income is lower than R$ 60 and families with pregnant or lactating women and children and adolescents up to 15 years of age whose per capita income is lower than R$ 120 per month (as of October 2006). Municipalities, through their departments of social assistance are largely responsible for the selection of the beneficiaries. The MDS is in charge of the programme management and the Caixa Econômica Federal (a federal financial institution) operates the transfers. The programme includes education and health conditionalities for the receipt of transfers, basically related to school attendance, children’s immunizations and pre and post-natal care, according to the composition of beneficiary families.
(PS: MSD står for Ministry of Social Development)