Attend Spring Meetings on Development topics from Apr 17-21. Comment and engage with experts. Calendar of Events

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Submitted by Anonymous on
I tend to agree with most of your arguments but a few points need some comments: 1. Do you really think that Politicians can ignore technical advisers and external actors, but they can’t afford to ignore the citizens of their country? This is how they do it: (i) They exclude, intimidate or push the most competent advisers away and (ii) they ignore, disenfranchise most of the electorate against them. Most rebellions are caused by the perpetuation of such a continuous disenfranchisement 2. You said: Many work 15 hours a day and cannot be expected to attend village Meetings. Actually, did you consider the amount of time they spend at weddings, birthday parties, funerals and other cultural events? Conscious change is required and people must be enlightened to make that change themselves after realizing what is holding them back into poverty. However, poverty does not result from one’s behavior only. The system may contribute to it. In fact most cases show that the poor are trapped in situations where they lack opportunities, they have low labor productivity, they have no access to markets, they have no collateral to have access to finance, and the elite prey on them to keep their privileged positions. The case of teacher absenteeism you mentioned is exacerbated by cases where some teachers extort money from parents in exchange for better grades for their kids and others often even abuse the very students they are paid to teach and educate. Many bad teacher conducts are tolerated when victims are children from poor parents and the circle continues. in countries where the judiciary is generally weak, the poor are trapped and afraid that they might actually be punished further for raising their voice. The failure of Governments to understand what is expected from them by all the people and how to provide for it, the political leaders inability to reduce the gap between their hunger for reaches and privileges and the welfare they need to provide to their people to eradicate poverty, the lack of interest for a whole lot of people who are ignored, mistreated, disrespected and disenfranchised with little or no consequences are all contributing to the current nightmare. It is a failure of Government and institutions that should be put in place to take corrective measures to protect individual rights in a civil society setting. Let's take one simple example where Villagers own their land but have no official land titles or certificates. When a company wants to build a plant in this village, the Government makes the deal and local villagers get nothing. Let's compare this with an urban area where land is distributed and land property prices rises with surrounding improvements made out of Government investments in Infrastructure etc. with no additional effort made by the landlord who can still get 50 or 100 times better off than his counterpart in the village. This lack of fairness perpetuates poverty and could only be corrected if urban landlords are taxed to help improve infrastructure in rural areas, but unless villagers get lend titles they will hardly make up any difference. One approach used to create incentives and accountability could be to introduce indicators of social accountability among basic Economic Indicators. For instance, a Government would have to report and track progress on its efforts to increase the percentage of people or households with land / house / apartment ownership. Every CAS could include a program component to issue land titles and disclose their value. A poor citizen owning a piece of land with a significant value would no longer be considered a poor with nothing. It could start with something as simple as this to incite Governments to establish land titles where they are crucially missing and allow Institutions to put in place all legal instruments to govern the occurrence of trade, acquisition, exchange or inheritance. Governance should be more about increasing opportunities rather than making the few elite filthy reach at the expense of the majority poor. Economic growth should focus more on Governance efforts that shed light on microeconomic performance that tackle social justice and welfare issues for sustainable peace and security that ensure a healthy, respectful and productive living environment. The poor should neither be neglected nor disenfranchised; they actually need to be identified, organized, educated, empowered and given opportunities to take care of themselves and contribute more effectively to the broader community. Governments that have no plans to do that are simply creating a ticking bomb that will at some point threaten peace and stability not only in their country, but also their region and the World. The Arab Spring and the breakup of Mali are just the latest examples that still unfolding before our eyes. Leadership should be put under more pressure to deliver better results. By law, any president with poor records on poverty reduction efforts (To be specified in advance) should simply be denied or disqualified to run for another term.