By Javad Heirannia

Everybody has a role to combat global poverty: Abhijit Banerjee

November 10, 2019

TEHRAN (MNA) – Prof. Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, the winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in economics, says “everybody has a role for combating global poverty.”

Banerjee, who teaches economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), tells the Mehr News Agency that “the government, multi-laterals, NGOs, INGOs, private firms and donor organizations” should help alleviate poverty.

To alleviate poverty, he says, the government is central though, since it has “typically the most resources, the most influence on critical inputs for development and the most boots on the ground.”

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: Your project has been to tackle global poverty. The importance of the issue seems to have become increasingly clear to the world. What do you think is the operational solution to reduce global poverty?

A: Global poverty has been going down. Not as fast as it could, given how cheap it is to relieve extreme poverty, but still it has been going down. The current attempt by the U.S. to undermine global trade might slow that down.

Q: What is the task of combating global poverty in the first place? Sub-state institutions, governments or international institutions?

A: Everybody has a role. The government, multi-laterals, NGOs, INGOs, private firms and donor organizations. The government is central though, since it has typically the most resources, the most influence on critical inputs for development and the most boots on the ground.

Q: Do you focus just on the poor class or all classes of society to tackle poverty?

A: I think the poor need direct attention. You cannot just rely on helping the rich and then trickle-down.

Q: In development studies, the focus was primarily on economic development and political development. Nowadays in development discussions we are talking about participatory development. That is, all people in society should be involved in the development of society. What do you think of this?

A: Absolutely. Participation is important both for economic and political development.

Q: Is your project on eliminating global poverty focused on political development or economic development?

A: Both. They have the potential to feed into each other--good politics can help good economics and vice versa, as we argue in our book Poor Economics.

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