Every child should be
able to grow up with love and prospects for a better future.
Young girl, Ilha Grande, Brazil
The world has all the resources and
proven techniques to make this happen. You can help support this
We've done it before We advocate that the governments of the world’s
richest nations give 1.5 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (total
national income) - just a penny and a half for each dollar - to the most
This is substantially more than the estimated 0.23 percent of
GDP in our current foreign aid, but no more than the USA spent to help a
devastated Western Europe escape poverty after World War II. The Marshall
Plan would never have succeeded if it depended on private donations.
Our proposal would bring over $500 billion more a year
to help hundreds of millions of people lift themselves from extreme poverty.
We realize this is a tough sell in the current
political climate. We also
advocate that the aid we already spend is used much more wisely than it is
Poverty hits hardest on the world's poorest people.
They are also the most cost-effective to help. We also advocate increased
private giving and stronger incentives for businesses to participate.
Much better techniques Wise giving and effective legislation can create and
fund targeted, well monitored, comprehensive programs with strong incentives
for honest and efficient management.
Current programs often do more for domestic
campaign contributors and special interests than for impoverished
people. Billions of dollars are also lost to bureaucratic waste and
We can directly fund local people, empowering them to
choose and monitor the programs that work best for them.
For example, we should not be shipping corn for as much as $300 a ton all the way from
Iowa to eastern Africa. This raises our own food prices and produces extra greenhouse gases. Corn can be bought in local African markets for as little as $30 a ton, supporting local,
Wise giving by individuals and effective government
programs can work together. Some changes, including trade and debt reform,
must happen on an international scale. We can also create and fund well monitored programs adapted for specific,
Establish free but
fair trade. Include strong incentives to ensure decent working conditions
and environmental protection. Reduce our price-distorting,
anti-competitive domestic subsidies and trade barriers. This includes US-produced
crops such as cotton, soy and grain. Workers and
farmers worldwide can compete fairly and sell their products in a fully
Build essential infrastructure,
including roads, ports, electrification, and communications.
Offer massive debt relief. Impoverished nations
should not be spending their funds to repay old loans. We often made
these to corrupt
leaders for inefficient programs we required
them to fund.
Make it easier for immigrants to send
low-fee remittances to their families in developing nations. This bypasses corrupt bureaucracies and goes direct to those
in need. Despite expenses and
obstacles, remittances worldwide to developing nations are already over $400
billion a year, compared to total global foreign aid estimated at only $135
billion a year. For larger transfers, precautions can still be taken to
prevent money laundering.
Create incentives for national and
local leaders to implement these programs successfully, free of
corruption. The United Nations can empower an authoritative
international criminal court to prosecute corrupt officials for crimes
against humanity. Local democratic organizations must be supported and
strengthened to encourage properly functioning governments.
Positive incentives can come from well-publicized
recognition of the most successful leaders. Monetary rewards would then
be offered. This innovative idea is already pioneered by Mo Ibrahim, founder
of Celtel International, one of Africa's most successful companies.
much of the world, there's a huge economic and educational gap between a
few neighborhoods in big cities and everywhere else
with proven records of success rather than
giving funds to corrupt dictators or bureaucrats.
Provide substantial additional funding to promote democracy and
civil society in developing countries. This is a major help for economic
development. Programs must encourage grassroots, citizen
Structure aid programs to empower all citizens as active
participants, doing much of the work to help themselves. They need this power
to ensure accountability and fairness for programs in
their local areas. Local people can provide feedback that help ensure
aid projects are managed in ways most likely to work in their area. They can be trained to maintain their new, local
Ensure that local leaders
profit from helping as many people as possible or face removal by the majority of
those they are assigned to help.
Support microfinance - cost effective programs of small loans,
savings accounts, and other financial services for the poverty-stricken to
start their own businesses and support themselves. This is already revitalizing
entire communities globally. Micro-lending programs have high repayment rates,
recycling funds for new loans to aid more people. Cash transfers and
banking by cell phone can play a role.
Support social entrepreneurship worldwide.
These proven, innovative programs make a
huge difference at remarkably low cost, as described in David
Bornstein's, How to Change the World and as promoted by
organizations like Ashoka.
As explained in Making Globalization Work by Nobel Prize laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz, the whole
world can benefit from more flexible international intellectual property agreements.
Developing nations will benefit greatly. For example, they could
manufacture life-saving medications at a fraction of the price
pharmaceutical corporations charge them. For-profit and social entrepreneurs
can also create and market a wide range of additional innovations to help their
Offer incentives to developing nations to simplify their
real estate property laws and make their court systems more accountable, monitored by unbiased third parties.
Good legal infrastructure and secure personal property
are major factors in the great economic success of the West.
Give the poor full, verified, legal ownership of their
land and homes on government or unused land, except for environmentally
sensitive areas. They can then secure loans to build
valuable businesses that would create sustainable jobs, often in the
neighborhoods where they are needed most. This is further explained in Hernando de Soto's
book, The Mystery
Use a homesteading program to encourage people to
live in locations that are environmentally friendly with access to clean
water, electricity, sanitation, jobs and public transportation.
Make direct cash transfers or distribute coupons, similar to food stamps, to the
world’s poorest people. They can choose what best meets their needs,
including inexpensive water filters to prevent disease, anti-malaria bed
nets, drip irrigation, solar stoves and
other products that make
excellent use of scarce resources. Subsidize the research and marketing of new, innovative,
cost-effective products that help the poor.
Provide emergency food when
needed, but also help people raise their own food and earn a decent
living. Increase aid for farmers
to learn and implement much more productive but
sustainable crop growing techniques that minimize use of poisonous
easy access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
Support a full range of sexual and reproductive
health education and services. Premarital abstinence should be
encouraged, but this alone fails to prevent millions of unwanted births,
the spread of AIDS and other serious diseases. Comprehensive programs
are much better at preventing unwanted pregnancies and back-room
abortions. Condoms and medical treatment
should be available to all, including the most effective medications for AIDS
and other diseases, regardless of ability to pay.
Fund the most cost-effective, preventative health
programs. Initial programs can target the illnesses that hurt the most
people and are least expensive to prevent and cure. This includes
routine immunizations, anti-malaria bed nets, vitamin supplements and
oral rehydration packets. These measures are all low-cost. They
already prevent millions of deaths per year.
Studies have demonstrated that the less children a family has, the more
likely the family will survive.
of boys in Quito, Ecuador
Invest in a full range of health, nutrition, and
education for all children. This will prevent greater expenditures later
for rehabilitation, unemployment, and imprisonment of those who have
faced great obstacles.
We can pay
parents when they bring their children for routine health care and again
when they keep their children in school. These incentives are proven to work.
In many cultures woman are overworked and neglected.
We can deliver much of the aid directly to women, empowering them for
greater control over their lives.
Protect children from slavery and exploitation by
enforcing strict labor laws.
Implement effective programs to stop the flow of
weapons to ruthless warlords and terrorists. This must include internationally
penalties for those who sell illicit arms, even when indirectly through
Use programs that help protect the environment, including
incentives for more sustainable practices.
Fund cultural programs that encourage arts and traditional
crafts in developing nations as a source of income.
Cultural exchanges can build the market for these crafts.
Art plays a major role in creating a better
world. For example, mural displays on
buildings have been linked to reducing crime. Art helps people find
inspiration, hope and pride in their own cultures and local areas.
People all over the world can better understand each other through art
that communicates the importance of social justice, tolerance, peace and
Expand the Peace Corps,
starting with a
cost-effective, visionary campaign and financial incentives to recruit
at least 300,000
volunteers from the USA. This is less than 0.1 percent of our
population. It will cost just a fraction of the same size armed force.
Volunteers can be thoroughly trained to help create and monitor the
above programs worldwide.
These volunteers can do more than teach one classroom, as valuable as
that can be. They can be active throughout a local area, helping make
sure all the above aid programs really help those in need. They will
work as facilitators, helping empower rather than dictate to local
Volunteers also foster international
understanding by communicating with others about their experience. This
work could go in in areas where volunteers' safety is assured. In less
secure areas, there are other ways to gather direct feedback from people
on what kind of aid they really need, and to foster transparency for
corruption-free distribution of aid. This includes openly publishing how
much money is budgeted for each village and neighborhood.
We can strongly urge all the
world's wealthiest nations to follow our example with the same level of
support for all these programs.
The main thing missing is the political will. That's where
you come in!
Making it better The
Campaign Platform is open to learning what works best. We will continue adapting the most effective, proven ideas.
Hearts & Minds will also gather
on poverty, economic development, participatory democracy, and other
disciplines to make sure we use the most effective methods.