The Hearts and Minds Platform
To help end extreme global poverty
The world has the resources and proven techniques to help millions more people lift themselves from extreme poverty.
We’ve done it before
After World War II, enlightened aid and trade policies helped impoverished Europe, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan join us in growing prosperity.
We advocate that the world’s richest nations give 1.5 percent of our GNI (gross national income) – just a penny and a half for each dollar – to the most effective programs. This is what the USA spent in the Marshall Plan. We helped a devastated Western Europe escape poverty after World War II.
This is substantially more than the estimated 0.23 percent of our GNI (gross national income) in the USA’s current foreign aid. The Marshall Plan would never have succeeded if it depended on that smaller percentage or private donations.
Our proposal would bring over $500 billion more a year to help hundreds of millions of people lift themselves from extreme poverty. We realize this is a tough challenge in the current political climate. So were slavery, child labor, civil rights and other issues.
Much better techniques
We also advocate the USA’s foreign aid be used wisely.
Current programs often do more for domestic special interests than for impoverished people. Billions of dollars are also lost to bureaucratic waste and corruption in developing nations.
Wise giving and effective legislation can create and fund targeted, well monitored, comprehensive programs with strong incentives for honest and efficient management.
We can support:
- Work directly. Poor people have strong motivation to ensure accountability and fairness. Local feedback helps adapt and improve aid.
- A larger Peace Corps. An inspiring marketing campaign and financial incentives can recruit 300,000 volunteers from the USA. This is less than 0.1 percent of our population. It will cost just a fraction of the same size armed force.
These volunteers can be trained to help create and monitor a wide range of effective programs. Empowering local people, they can help make sure aid programs described below really help those in need.
Volunteers also foster international understanding by communicating with others about their experience.
They will work where their safety is assured.
- Technology and mass media work even In less secure areas. Cell phones, already widespread, can increase transparency for corruption-free distribution of aid. This includes publishing how much money reaches each village and neighborhood.
Large scale policy changes
- Free and fair trade Including strong incentives to ensure decent working conditions and environmental protection. Reduce our price-distorting, anti-competitive domestic subsidies and trade barriers. Workers and farmers worldwide can then compete fairly. American consumers will pay less.
- Debt relief. Impoverished nations should not have to spend billions of dollars to repay old loans. We often made these to corrupt leaders for inefficient programs we required them to fund.
- Promote democracy and civil society. Grassroots organizations encourage properly functioning governments.This will reduce corruption, boosting economic development.
- No funds to the corrupt dictators or bureaucrats. Positive incentives come from well-publicized recognition of successful leaders.
- Legal reform. Offer incentives to developing nations to simplify property laws and make their court systems more accountable, monitored by unbiased third parties. Good legal infrastructure and secure personal property were major factors in rich nations’ economic success.
Give the poor full, verified, legal ownership of their land and homes on government or unused land, except for environmentally sensitive areas. They can then get loans to build businesses, often in neighborhoods where it’s needed most.
Use a homesteading program to encourage people to live in locations that are environmentally friendly with access to clean water, electricity, sanitation, jobs and public transportation.
More reforms in the USA’s policies
- End wasteful ethanol from corn programs. They raise food prices for us and the world’s poorest people. It also uses more fossil fuel energy than it produces.
- Make it easier for immigrants in the USA to send low-fee remittances to their families in developing nations. This goes directly to those in need. Despite expenses and obstacles, remittances worldwide to developing nations are already over $400 billion a year. In comparison, total global foreign aid is estimated at only $135 billion a year. For larger transfers, precautions can still be taken to prevent money laundering.
Big changes in poor nations
- Stop weapons reaching ruthless warlords and terrorists. This must include internationally enforced criminal penalties for those who sell illicit arms, even when indirectly through other nations.
- Protect the environment, including incentives for more sustainable practices.
- Build essential infrastructure, including roads, ports, electrification, and communications.
- More flexible intellectual property agreements. For example, developing nations manufacture life-saving medications at a fraction of the price pharmaceutical corporations charge. For-profit and social entrepreneurs can also create and market a wide range of additional innovations to help their people.
High-impact direct service
- Social entrepreneurship, innovative programs that make a huge difference at remarkably low cost.
One example is microfinance – small loans, savings accounts, and other financial services that empower poor people to start businesses. This revitalizes entire communities. Microlending programs have high repayment rates, recycling funds for new loans to aid more people.
- Direct cash transfers or coupons, similar to food stamps, for the world’s poorest people. They can choose what best meets their needs, including inexpensive water filters to prevent disease, anti-malaria bed nets, drip irrigation, solar stoves and other products that make excellent use of scarce resources. Cell phones can be used for secure banking and transactions.
- Research and marketing for new, innovative, products that cost-effectively help the poor.
- Sustainable food. Provide emergency food when needed, but also help people raise their own crops and earn a decent living. Increase aid for farmers to learn and implement much more productive and sustainable crop growing techniques that minimize poisonous chemicals.
- Sexual and reproductive health education and services. The less children a family has, the more likely the family will survive. Premarital abstinence should be encouraged, but this alone fails to prevent millions of unwanted births, AIDS and other serious diseases. Comprehensive programs are better at preventing unwanted pregnancies and back-room abortions. Condoms and medical treatment should be available to all, including the most effective medications for AIDS and other diseases, regardless of ability to pay.
- Basic health can target illnesses that hurt the most people and are least expensive to prevent and cure. This includes routine immunizations, deworming pills, anti-malaria bed nets, vitamin supplements and oral rehydration packets. These already prevent millions of deaths per year.
- Protect children from exploitation and slavery. Support their health, nutrition, and education. This prevents greater expenditures later for rehabilitation, unemployment or imprisonment of those who face great obstacles.
- Safe drinking water and sanitation.
- Family incentives pay parents when they bring their children for routine health care and again when they keep their children in school. This is proven to work.
- Empower women. In many cultures, they are overworked and neglected. Deliver much of the aid to women, empowering them for greater control over their lives.
- Cultural programs can encourage arts and traditional crafts in developing nations. Cultural exchanges build a market for these crafts.
Art helps people find inspiration, hope and pride in their own cultures and local areas. For example, murals on buildings are linked to reduced crime.
People all over the world can better understand each other through art that communicates the importance of social justice, tolerance, peace and sustainability.
We strongly urge all the world’s wealthiest nations to follow our example with the same level of support for all these programs.
The main thing missing is the political will. Here’s where you come in!
Even a few minutes of your time can make a difference. Please Join the Campaign!