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Easier simply – Cash in the News

In a video on technological unemployment, Robert Reich concludes, “Interest in a basic income is surging,” before describing our pilot and it’s ability to produce rigorous evidence on the impact of a basic income. Outside the United States, The Economist described how cash can help solve another of the world’s pressing problems: the refugee crisis. They write about how cash results in a host of advantages like flexibility, choice, and dignity for beneficiaries, while simultaneously reducing costs. Put concisely, “it would be easier simply to hand out cash.”

GIVEDIRECTLY IN THE NEWS AND BLOGS

1. US charity to trial universal basic income in rural Kenya
RN Breakfast, Fran Kelly, September 30, 2016
Now one US charity, Give Directly, is about to conduct the largest trial of the approach by giving 26,000 poor, rural Kenyans a universal basic income for up to 12 years.

2. Why We’ll Need a Universal Basic Income
Robert Reich blog, Robert Reich, September 29, 2016
Interest in a basic income is surging, with governments debating it from Finland to Canada to Switzerland to Namibia. The charity “Give Directly” is about to launch a basic income pilot in Kenya, providing an income for more than 10 years to some of the poorest and most vulnerable families on the planet. And then rigorously evaluate the results.

3. TOR119 — GiveDirectly with Paul Niehaus
Terms of Reference podcast, Paul Niehaus, September 2016
My guest for the 119th episode of the Terms of Reference Podcast is no newcomer to the cash discussion. Paul Niehaus is a co-founder and president of GiveDirectly, which is currently the top-rated nonprofit by GiveWell and ranked among the 25 most audacious companies (Inc) and 10 most innovative companies in finance (Fast Company). GiveDirectly is a recognized leader in the use of modern technology to transfer funds directly to the extreme poor, and in the use of rigorous scientific methods to document its impact.


CASH TRANSFER NEWS

4. Food for refugees; Fat help
The Economist, September 29, 2016
The WFP has learnt that some forms of cash-based aid are better than others, however. The food vouchers it once used turned out to be a good way of transforming photocopiers into aid-printing machines. They also irritated users, who had to queue for the vouchers and spend them all at once. Maya prefers her e-card, though she still has to queue at the supermarket. Sometimes fights break out in the rush to the shops when the cards are topped up.

5. ​Here Are 10 Practical Solutions to the World’s Big Problems
The New York Times, Michael Hirsh, September 29, 2016
But the ­“rabble-rouser metamorphosed into the Great Conciliator,” Tepperman writes, and to address Brazil’s terrible income inequality Lula launched Bolsa Família, an innovative and relatively inexpensive cash-transfer program that didn’t just give people handouts but required “counterpart responsibilities,” including government demands to use some of the money to send one’s kids to school and ensure they are immunized and get regular checkups (along with their mothers). Lula ended up winning over even conservatives in his country and dramatically reducing poverty, leading the former World Bank expert Nancy Birdsall to conclude that Bolsa Família is “as close as you can come to a magic bullet in development.”

6. Cash restores dignity to the elderly in Murang’a
Standard Digital (Kenya), Daniel Wesangula, October 2, 2016
He says poverty eats up one’s dignity. And for him, the monthly cash transfers have restored some bit of it. “I can afford some medicine every month. I can buy my own food,” he says. Ndura is almost two decades older than Agnes Wambui, another beneficiary of the cash transfer programme. She too lives in Kiang’ombe slums. The residents of this area who had for many years been squatters were in 2003 allocated land by the government.


OTHER DEVELOPMENT NEWS

7. A cheap, simple experiment just found a very effective way to slow deforestation
Washington Post, Chris Mooney, July 6, 2016
In a convincing new study conducted in Uganda and based on a program sponsored in part by its government, a team of researchers have found an effective and affordable way to combat deforestation in a country showing some of the fastest tree loss rates in the world. How? The program simply paid owners of forest land not to cut down their own trees for either agricultural purposes or to sell them for timber.

BASIC INCOME

8. The Progressive Case for Replacing the Welfare State with Basic Income
The Huffington Post, Scott Santens, October 3, 2016
It appears some establishment voices have picked up on a way of opposing the idea of the monthly citizen dividend of about $1,000 per month, known as universal basic income (UBI), in a way that successfully leaves some progressively minded people afraid.