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Publishers WeeklyIn recent years, the Global South (nee "the third world") has embraced a system of cash transfers directly to the poor, as opposed to top-down government aid, to foster human development. As directors at Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester, experts Barrientos and Hulme, along with journalist-researcher Hanlon (Do Bicycles Equal Development in Mozambique?), dissect the growing trend in a number of countries, including China, Mexico, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and South Africa. The inherent problem with such programs, including how to target recipients and how to overcome prejudice against the poor, are discussed in detail, complete with charts, tables, and extensive notes. Though cash transfers do not automatically reduce inequalities-typically, they amount to no more than 1 percent of GDP-they can change conditions on the ground level: "a beneficiary in rural Mexico explained that with money from the grant, 'We saved 600 pesos ($50) to buy wood and the other materials for building a chicken coop, and with what was left we bought a few chickens." Though dry, this primer on the failure of past aid efforts and the promise of a bottom-up approach reveals the rapidly evolving ways in which the Global South is finding a foothold.
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