Scott Anderson

Friday Roundup ? 7/22/11: The Price to Pay to End Poverty

Charles Kenny, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, this week had a fascinating column in Foreign Policy magazine that placed a price tag on ending extreme poverty: $100 billion.

(That’s just $24 billion or so more than current Apple Inc.’s cash on hand, incidentally).

My knee-jerk reaction, as I suspect yours might be, was: How could it possibly be this low? Condensing his argument, Kenny examines trending data showing increased incomes among emerging markets and/or BRIC countries, coupled with the power of effective cash transfers and/or government subsidies to break poverty cycles. Money quote:

(Laurence Chandy and Geoffrey Gertz at the Brookings Institution) suggest that by 2015 there may only be 586 million people living below $1.25 a day, suggesting that the annual cost of eliminating poverty in poor countries could be only $40 billion in four years’ time. By that time, too, more countries will be rich enough to handle poverty on their own, and the income gap will have fallen further, meaning that the actual number could be even less.

There isn’t a mention of social entrepreneurship or enterprise development in his column, but I suppose it could be assumed in his estimation of income growth. He takes a circuitous route to reach the final price tag, but nevertheless arrives at a $100 billion charge to buy off poverty.

What do you think? Is Kenny onto something here or on the wrong track?

Paying What the Job is Worth

Building a job vs. building a business

Either can work, both do, but don’t confuse them.
The shoemaker/copywriter/plumber who seeks a regular itinerary of gigs is building a job, a job with multiple bosses at the same time there is no boss, but it’s still a job. You wake up in the morning and you do your craft, with occasional interruptions to do the dreaded looking-for-work dance.
The entrepreneur is in a different game. For her, the gig is building the gig.

– Seth Godin

That’s a post this week from the marketing guru’s blog. Of course, we shouldn’t confuse a job vs. a business. But now, perhaps more than ever, they’re in intertwined, and, well, maybe a bit harder to discern. Take, a social networking job connection site, which NextBillion featured nearly four years ago. Babajob helps connect low-income Indians with a variety of often low-skilled jobs – typically paying about $250 a month, or Rs 10,000, or less. In four years, the site has witnessed explosive growth, as VC Circle reports:

Only last week, has crossed six lakh (hundred thousand) job listings and now features around 38,399 employers (both companies and individuals) online. Traffic to the website and the mobile site is growing at 400 per cent year-on-year and together they register 250,000 page views, of which 60,000 are unique visitors.

Yet again, here’s is a trend percolating up from the bottom up. Look out for Western countries with stubborn unemployment to turn to this model. In fact, one startup already is, according to Wired. RunMyErrand is matching employers (either companies or private citizens) with part-time workers – as in very part time – even less than an hour, through a portal called TaskRabbit. The labor transaction works much like eBay, with “senders” the employers and “runners” the job seekers bargaining over just how much a job is mutually worth – whether it’s painting a fence or cleaning out a cat litter box.

The bottom line: If we can connect the people who need work with the people who need work done, we might just be able to reach full employment, or at least fuller employment, on a global scale.

In Case You Missed It … This Week On NextBillion

NextThought Monday Guest Post: The Road to Self-Sufficiency By Yuniya Khan

Applying Behavioral Economics to the Developing World By Chris Cuellar

In the Philippines, Tablets, Smartphones Lift Market-Based Approaches to Universal Care By Rose Reis

Beyond BASE: The Needs Are Here Now, So Are the Markets By Susan Olsen

Emerson on Impact Investing: Passionately Pragmatic! By Diana Hollmann

Introducing Citi Foundation, NextBillion’s Sponsoring Partner By Scott Anderson

The Citi Foundation’s ’More Than Philanthropy’ Approach Explained By Scott Anderson