Tag Archives: poverty

Global poverty is worse than you think

A few weeks ago the World Bank changed the international poverty line from $1.25 to $1.90 (R27) a day. Normally, changes to the poverty line slide by without attracting much attention, but for some reason this time people got excited. At first glance, it looks as if the bank has finally admitted that the old…

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Neoliberal capitalism is a violence against women (16 days of activism)

Sixteen days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is upon us again this year. As usual it will come and go but very little will change for the majority of women and children in South Africa. The middle class will be a little more aware of the heinous gender-based violence statistics that…

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The UN is hiding the true extent of global hunger

As the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire, the United Nations and the international NGO community are rallying around the conclusion that this has been “the most successful anti-poverty movement in history”. Poverty has been cut in half, they tell us. And hunger has taken a serious hit, falling narrowly shy of the target. It’s a…

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The microfinance delusion: who really wins?

I’m always amazed at how many students show up each year in the classrooms of the London School of Economics, where I teach, quivering with excitement about microfinance and other “bottom-of-the-pyramid” development strategies. Like eager young missionaries, they feel they’ve stumbled upon the One Idea that is sure to save the world. Would that it…

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Deals at high levels that don’t deliver for the people

By Donné Cameron This is turning out to be a big week of big deals; first Greece, now Iran and very soon Addis. I am writing from within a bubble, albeit a loud bubble, of bureaucracy in the middle of downtown Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the UN has chosen to host people to talk about…

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The problem with ‘buying, swapping and selling’ domestic workers

I recently came across an advert about a domestic worker. The advert was a Facebook post written on a group called “Westville buy, swap and sell”. The group is used by a variety of people wanting to get rid of household appliances. I became uncomfortable when a black woman was made part of the list…

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The pointless hypocrisy of pretending to be homeless

The eThekwini Municipality recently offered “an opportunity of a lifetime” for residents to sleep on the streets – for a night. Along with I-Care, a non-profit helping homeless kids, the purpose was to give people a taste of the hardships experienced by being homeless. “Participants will spend one evening with homeless people of the city…

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Why we’re wrong to celebrate CEOs for simulating poverty for 12 hours

By Natasha Skoryk and Caitlin Spring We’re a generation of clicktivists, incessantly raising awareness for a wide assortment of causes and social justice issues. But we rarely follow through with any tangible action or put our money where our “shares” are. So, logically, when initiatives do attempt to physically address societal problems, we should be…

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Let’s talk about ‘black tax’

The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife — this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost … he simply wishes to make it possible for a man to…

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The delusion at the heart of the sustainable development goals

This is a big year for the development industry. In September, the world’s heads of state will gather in New York City to decide on the new sustainable development goals (SDGs), which will replace the millennium development goals as they expire. This process might sound mundane and wonky to people who don’t follow the development…

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