Microfinance is the provision of financial services to those in poverty. This has generally taken three forms. First, there is microcredit – the provision of loans - which is the dominant and best-known form of microfinance. There is also microsavings, the provision of savings accounts, and microinsurance, the provision of insurance.
This July saw the first academic conference on effective altruism. The three-day event took place at All Souls College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. The conference featured a diverse range of speakers addressing issues related to effective altruism in a shared setting. It was a fantastic opportunity to share insights and ideas from some of the best minds working on these issues.
‘1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty.’
I think what happens to a lot of us when presented with a statistic like this is the following: we have a fleeting thought about how awful it is, and we then carry on with our lives: worrying about an exam, choosing between cereals at the supermarket, scrolling through our Facebook newsfeeds.
Although my friend has not yet found the love of his life, he once sought counsel from a female friend on his idea for a future marriage proposal: “Would you find it romantic if we met at an empty field in a poor African village, I got down on one knee and said, ‘With the money I could have used to buy you a beautiful diamond ring, instead I funded the construction of a new school in this empty field’?”
As someone fortunate enough to have never wanted for anything all my life, I've always struggled with the degree of absolute poverty of so many people in the developing world. The world bank's poverty line is just $1.25 a day (adjusted for purchasing power that too), but there are still an estimated 600 million people below this line.
Over the past two weeks I have interned at Giving What We Can and conducted research on the problem of child marriage. This blog post offers a summary of my report, detailing my main findings and overall impression of the problem. I focus on child marriage’s destructive effects and some promising interventions.
I studied some philosophy at university, and first came across Peter Singer’s work there. I’d always wanted to work out what the point of life was, and how I could help the world, so these ideas naturally resonated with me.
How Do Poor People Get Money?
About 50% of the poor living in Indonesia, 72% in Cote d’Ivoire, 84% in Guatemala, and 94% in Udaipur report working multiple jobs in order to get their income -- typically one agricultural and one non-agricultural, though not always.
In my previous post, I explained about the living habits of the extremely poor.
One might expect that an extremely poor person is working as hard as they can just to survive, putting every penny earned toward food. However, this actually isn’t the case -- across the thirteen countries studied, food only accounted for 56% to 78% of the budget.
This post is the first in a series of three on the lifestyle of a people living in extreme poverty. It was originally published on Peter's blog, Everyday Utilitarian.
What is it like to be extremely poor?
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