The arbitrarily poor

I have no idea

I have no idea

Quico and I had a non-quibble a few days ago about poverty. I criticized poverty measures, and he beat me up about it.

Truth is that I agree with him. Poverty is a very complex thing with many definitions: income, savings, choices, and even expenditure. People have tried to package it in a single indicator, but numbers end in utter failure and, in many cases do more harm than good.

I think that’s also the case when talking about Unmet Basic Needs (UBN) but it is also true when looking at a line and defining poor people as all those who fall below that line. For example, when one goes out to create policy whose intent is to bring kids from farms and into classrooms where they learn nothing, then you do a disservice to society. You end up having adults that don’t know how to read, nor work on a farm. But hey! It looks great when you see the percentage of kids attending school going up.

And don’t get me started on the lack of an electric grid, and lack of regulation enforcement that causes fires and ends up killing children. I think Quico’s argument about poverty measures being the best there is … is rather conformist. UBN may be the best available, but the way we measure each can be greatly refined, and those tools are out there.

Defining poverty in terms of income is, at best, arbitrary. What does $2/day mean exactly? Poverty lines are typically constructed by some required caloric intake, in some other cases you add some other goods and services, and that’s it. In Venezuela, it is based on “la Canasta Alimentaria.” A multiplier of that creates the “Canasta Basica.” The first defines extreme poverty, and the second, plain old poverty.

But in the words of Lant Pritchett, the line is arbitrary: “no one celebrates crossing the poverty line”. This number means even less when backward policy-making and government subsidies distort them. But instead of me telling you about it, let’s play making policy. Let’s look at the year 2005. Figure 1 shows the monthly income per capita distribution in Venezuela.

(a) blue line: income distribution (b) red line: poverty line

Figure 1. (a) blue line: income distribution (b) red line: poverty line. Source BCV.

This shows the income inequality in Venezuela. It also shows the poverty line, and the percentage of people below it. But what would be fair? How would you redistribute this? Well, the government has been trying to do it better … with mixed results.

The graph also shows the limitations in the measurement. Consider first household income.

To get the per capita figure you must divide by the number of people in that household. This creates a distortion, particularly in high income households where there is one member of the family (typically the father, but not limited to) who makes most of the income lifting everyone out of poverty. The children, in turn, can be very well in their twenties, college graduates, and working in companies yet still living with their parents. If they would pursue independence, the result in the graph is that the remaining rich household members became richer, and the detached children are now poorer. We don’t see this happening frequently as middle-upper because when they de-attach, in many cases they emigrate or start with a humongous amount of help from their parents when they marry. But you get a sense to how sensitive the measurements are.

Let’s talk about the GINI coefficient and how the government policies show it to be more equal, but also how they selectively tinker with it. Figure 2 is taken from a presentation outlining the results of the National Census of Household Budget (Encuesta Naciona de Presupuesto Familiar 2005). In it, basically we can see a “traditionally” calculated GINI and how, by assigning some cash value to the social programs and “pretending” to transfer that cash to the people, you move from one GINI index, to another one.

GINI Coeff before and after "adjustment"

Figure 2. GINI Coeff before and after “adjustment”. Source BCV. ENPF 2005

But what social programs are those? The truth is that it includes only misiones. For instance it doesn’t include public education, particularly higher education, which benefits more the middle and upper classes. It doesn’t include the gas subsidy, with its horrible subsidies to the rich, making our imcome distribution more regressive.

Gas subsidy benefits. Barrios and Morales, 2012

Figure 3. Gas subsidy benefits. Barrios and Morales, 2012

What would the GINI be if you universally apply the same methodology on all social programs? I don’t know. But I think we should.

Now let’s say that we do distribute oil wealth universally using an scheme like the one shown here. Well, we get a shift that roughly looks like this:

(a) Green line: Income plus oil income UCT (b) blue line: Income with no UCT (c) red line: poverty line

Figure 4. (a) green line: Income plus oil income UCT (b) blue line: Income with no UCT (c) red line: poverty line

Very nice! No one is poor by the pretty much arbitrary standard of the poverty line. We could also establish the poverty line as the amount of money required to get 2,100 calories with sugar. If we do that, there wouldn’t be any poverty.

The question that arises is: is this true development? Maybe.

If we do this, but other structural aspects of the economy aren’t fixed – scarcity, poor supply of basic services to the poor, etc – would we improve the life of the poor? Perhaps. Would we do more if instead of UCTs we pursued infrastructure investment to improve those UBNs indicators? Maybe, if done well. Very important questions all of them, and they boil down to how much we want government (and the people employed in it) doing.

Why is this so important?

Well, poverty reduction has been a flagship for chavismo, one that has kept the idea that this sinking ship is, after all, still a viable, worthwhile project.

The data seems to agree with them, unless we look further and see the meaningless information that they provide if one doesn’t see the whole picture. The “canasta basica” is today 4.8X the minimum wage. Soon new poverty figures should be published, and I am sure there are a lot of people in the BCV and INE trying to figure out how to make this more palatable, and we as readers must understand what lies behind this figures (or what lies are in those numbers?). The whole picture is looking bleak.

Ultimately, a healthy, skeptical attitude to any poverty measure is always worthwhile, whatever your political inclinations.

21 thoughts on “The arbitrarily poor

  1. Brilliant piece.
    I know it is difficult to get hard data on certain things but it shouldn’t be so difficult to determine what data currently used we should exclude to measure poverty.

    Again take water access. According to the government, there are more people with tap water in Venezuela now. I can only talk for Carabobo but Carabobo has around 8% of Venezuela’s population. What I know is this: in 1998 most people could drink water from the tap. Now that water is highly, highly polluted, all the time. It stinks, it is either yellow or really black stuff.
    According to this
    88% of Venezuelans had “drinkable water” in 1998. Now it’s +-95%.
    Well: in Carabobo I would say access to really drinkable water might have gone from 88% to 5%, at least if you use Hidrocentro. I know lots of people everywhere. The poorest boil the water and go through a lot of diseases because boiling is not enough as there are non-organic poisons there – and the majority, including a lot of poor, buy water. That was not the case in 1998.


  2. I thought I read in the last couple of weeks in El Nacional that the canasta basica was 2.8 minimum wage, but I could be misremembering, or maybe they got it wrong. Either way, by Chavismo’s measure of how the economy is meeting the basic needs of people, which does not give us the whole picture, things look pretty dire.


    • On the chart below I plotted the kilograms someone could buy with a minimum wage in Venezuela in Q1 1998 and Q1 of 2014.

      Of course, a Madurista would tell me now:
      “dude, you are so fool! No one would want to eat 42 kilograms of onion in a month”


    • If you look at the news, in March it was 5.6 minimum wages. Later 4.6. It is a moving line where everything else moves too. I showed here the 2005 snap since there is no data to actually show the movie.


  3. Anybody decently-educated living in Venezuela knows that it is a very poor country for the large majority of its population, compared to developed first-world countries, no matter how simple nor esoteric the valuation measure. Now, just project a future with Govt.-hoped-for 1mm bbls./da. sent to China, but with no income since advanced payments have already been spent, 700-800m bbls./da. internal consumption, 200-300m bbls./da.Cuba/Petro-Caribe giveaways, and 200m bbls./da.refined products imports at international market prices due to local refinery failures, vs. 2.4-8 mm bbls./da. declining oil production–now, THAT’S real poverty–move over Haiti, here we come!!


  4. nice piece. One quibble:

    “Would we do more if instead of UCTs we pursued infrastructure investment to improve those UBNs indicators?”

    That’s a false dychotomy, for several reasons.

    -UCT and infraestructure investment need not be either/or. In Venezuela, the oil rent could be distributed among every Venezuelan equally (I state it like this for simplicity’s sake), and simultaneously a Tax reform could allow the government to keep the same budget, taxing the money from the people instead of PDVSA. If the tax reform is progressive, everyone’s income (pre-taxes) increaes, while income inequalite diminishes (because the people who made more money will now pay more in taxes than they are receiving as their oil rent quota).

    – UCT money isn’t neccessaily going down as regular expenditure (food, booze, vacations, etc). Poor people receiving UCT are likely to improve their own infrastructure, like their homes (new roof, build an annex to rent out), build an annex to set up a business (hair salon, restaurant, trade shop, a small store), get a computer, getting a motorcycle to improve their mobility, etc. It can also contribute to improve their income if used as seed capital for a small business (renting out mobile phones, setting up small booth to sell food or drinks), getting a motorcycle to work as mototaxista, buying wholesale and them selling retail in their community, etc.

    The economist had a great piece on UCT, traditional expenditure and CCT:

    The Namibian Basic Income Grant Coalition was a successful project, by many accounts, in the village of Otjivero, using funds from a German Protestant Church and several NGOs.

    They gave USD 13 a month to every town local under 60 (in the case of children they gave to their mothers). To have an idea, in Venezuela USD 13 is VEF 650 at SICAD 2, or VEF 975 using the other exchange rate.

    ‘Parents are now able to pay tuition, and the proportion of children attending school rose to 92 percent last year. The school has used the additional revenue to buy paper, pens and ink for its printers. The rate of malnourishment among the children has plunged from 42 to 10 percent. The local police crime statistics show a decline in theft and poaching. People with AIDS are responding more effectively to treatment, now that their nutritional needs are being met more consistently. “Suddenly the children were wearing shoes,” says the teacher. A man went to see Dirk and Claudia Haarmann. Beaming from ear to ear, he asked: “Don’t you see?” They asked him what he meant. “Don’t you see? I now have trousers and a t-shirt. I am now a person.”‘

    ‘The report also stated that the basic income could be funded through the tax system by increasing the value-added tax or income tax by a few percent. Only 3 percent of the gross domestic product, or €115 million, would be enough to provide a basic income for all Namibians.’

    They privately run and funded initiative ran out of money in 2013, but has sinced resumed

    There’s even a story on a substandard classic project of government bureaucrats deciding what the people in Otjivero need, instead pf letting each decide


    • J, “UCT and infrastructure investment need not be either/or. In Venezuela”. What I am referring to is to do something like Norway. Grand infrastructure projects can only be financed by something like this and not through taxation unless you ask for financing elsewhere.

      What you say about UCT is true as long as poor people have access to goods and services. A dangerous assumption (USSR dixit). A friend of mine told me: “bueno, si un gobierno implemento UCTs tambien ha implementado otras cosas de pinga”. But the point is, that even in an economy with no price regulations but with oligopolies/monopolies/very low production the increase in cash would lead to the increase in prices in goods. Venezuela’s economy has so many bottle necks, from bureaucracy to ports. Naim’s accounts on the political reforms have many anecdotes of why the book solution didn’t work, and the reasons are amazing.

      UCTs I think they would be effective as a mean to solve other issues that revolve around the petrostate and make certain political reforms more viable (no currency exchange controls, no gas subsidies, etc.) and via a more informed citizenship you would get development, but UCTs won’t be a silver bullet against poverty.

      My key take away from doing this research and writing it, is that ridding yourself of poverty does not lead to development, but development has as a by product the eradication of poverty. Policy makers should strive for development, not to eradicate poverty. When you do the second you inevitably fall in the indicator trap and forget that the poor are people, not a number you have to tweak.


      • “Grand infrastructure projects can only be financed by something like this and not through taxation unless you ask for financing elsewhere.”

        Maybe you inverted the terms. Grand Infraestructure projects usually have to be carried out by the state. But a state focused on Grand Infraestructure is a bit like tree swing-software development analogy. These are likely to build houses in places people don’t want to live (Ciudad Caribia), build stadiums too big to be supported by the local population (as happened in Monagas), leave projects too incomplete to be useful (the Eastern Highway is only completed in Monagas, but to be useful it needs to be completed in Anzoategui; the Valencia Metro is useless until it reaches the north side of the city and the same goes for Maracaibo), and also more money is lost in corruption through shady contracts, something UCT’s don’t have.

        “the increase in cash would lead to the increase in prices in goods”

        I might need an economist to back me up here (or to say I’m wrong). But UCT creates no new money, it merely distributes it differently. Therefore, I suspect it’s introduction should not impact overall inflation. What it could do is increase demand for the things poor people will likely buy but so did ther income, the crux of the issue is whether their purchasing power increases at the end or not. On the other hand, as poor people begin investing the money, supply of other things would increase thus bringing some other prices down (more annexs to rent out should bring lower rent cannons, more hot dog stands should lower hot dog prices, more household computers should lower ciber-cafes prices, etc).

        I believe we could see some benefits from UCT even if the rest of the economy remains unchanged. But it is uncontroversial, that it would have a larger impact if the economic distorsions are eliminated.

        Increased economic freedom usually translates in increased political freedom. UCTs have the potential of empowering the people, because they can’t be revoked on someone specific, therefore taking away possible political blackmail (Lista Tascon style).


        • I agree on the UCT implementation. But it is not going to be a silver bullet. You must go in knowing this.

          But, with the caveat, that doing infrastructure “right” (that adjective is written in the article) then, it also may have very positive effects.

          Ciudad caribia is not a grand project. Highways, power plants, ports, airports, reservoirs, aqueducts, water treatment plants, etc. are grand projects.


          • A few quibbles : taxes are very difficult to collect in venezuela unless you have a steady job or they are collected at the source via a kind of flat withholding tax which in fact would operate as a direct reduction in amounts being distributed . there is no tax culture in Venezuela only the law of the picaro who tricks his way out of any formal obligation . second quibble if the govt controls taxation and it is a corrupt govt then by increasing taxation they can siphon off a lot of the money meant to be recieved by everyone , the problem them becomes one of avoding having a corrupt govt that wastes, steals and makes a poor use of its tax income whoever they collect it from..

            People who have nothing to eat in africa may make a good use of their money , but we are not africa , poverty does not reach the levels of africa in this country , we have a different culture . there are a lot of other quibbles but my basic take is that unless you trasform the way any public money is used in this country by taking it away from the political class you ve accomplished nothing . the solution is much more radical and much more complex .

            The political class in any democracy develops a clientelar model using the money it recieves to corrupt the voters via populistic measures , grand subsidies etc. not enough attention is made on producing resources for the country and its people and too much on making their constituencies happy with irresponsible management of those resources. !!

            We have to figure a way of having public money used wisely or rationally in the pursuit of goals with cannot directly benefit the popularity of pols that now control the purses. That means they can take broad political decisions but not actually run the instituions which actually excute or implement the plans that the country needs for the benefit of its people . that means dividing public activities between those where popularly elected official take the big decisions with the help of independent expert councils that transform vague ideas into workable policies with a set budget and meritocratic institutions that are entrusted with the implementation of those plans at a operating and functional level. .

            In the US when a big business person takes a govt job his money is placed in a blind trust managed by expert professional money people so the former cannot use his govt position to favour his interests . Generally people who own shares dont control how its invested or used that job being given to a managerial class that makes money professionally but without catering to the private whims and preferences of each shareholder in his personal life . This might serve as a metaphore for what may be done to sanitize the political model from having a direct intervention in how the money is spent and making that the task of independent managers and experts not contaminated by the political interests of the pols . :


          • Doing anithing “right”, including infraestructure, can be expected to give the intended results. But the less centralized decision making is, the more you avoid “single point of failure” problems, as happens when the one guy in charge isn’t doing things right.

            I agree, UCT is not a silver bullet and I’d even go as far as admiting that it isn’t stricly neccessary to reduce poverty or even to alleviate it.

            But it’s on of the mechanisms with less overhead. UCT expenditures need not be scrutinized once they reach people’s hands, and don’t need hundreds of accountants, HR personnel, lawyers, fake companies, subcontractors to decide how it is spent or to spend it.

            Otherwise, you end up setting up a Ministries and public organizationsto run all sorts of (wrong) inferences on what it is people need, which hires people on a partisan basis, increases the administrative burden of bureocracy, assigns contracts without tender, gives a cut to political figures, drops people from the system on political whims, etc; and also you have to send people to make sure that there’s no overpayment of supplies, that the projects are being well executed, etc.

            I also admit I’m staunch supporter of phasing public services from “administered by the state” to “funded by the state”, as in moving from public hospitals to single payer.


            • Traditional govt bureaucracy is not only incompetent as a rule but subservient to political goals that subvert the efficient use of govt funds and allow its misuse and waste on politically inspired projects (not to mention its propinquity for corruption) . This inept and corrupt bureaucracy beholden ot its political masters is a huge part of the problem , one inevitable task of a reformer must be to replace this bureaucracy with a system where meritocratic corporations ( as many as needed on a descentralized basis) , acting professionally and pragmatically , isolated from any political or partisan pressures , same as any well run business concern are given the task of carrying out those public functions as can best be performed without the involvement of professional pols . Democracy is the system to use for decision making on a really basic general scale . Planning and implementation tasks in contrast can only be advanced by well organized public or even publicly enabled private meritocratic bodies or corporations under the control of democratically organized institutions , were control means not managing things but preventing management from incurring in flagrant abuses .!!

              Lets not kid ourselves: Distributing free dole from govt revenues to the whole population of a country and collecting the tax on that dole will inevitably require huge bureaucratic controls and administration.!! .


  5. I didn’t completely got the point of this article, but I would agree that it is very difficult to define poverty in such a distorted economy, I would say that a person is poor if it lacks the means to feed the family and pay for basic services like water, health, education, housing and health.

    But I guess that if you consider that education, health and housing are nominaly free by constitutional right, and food is so heavely subsidized or regulated, some wood-face (cara e tabla) chavista could say that no one is poor or that our poor are better off than those of the USA.

    Of course that we know that those free or subsidized services dont have enough coverage and quality to meet decent standars, so people with a more than minimal income that aspires for something from life, start to pay for private providers in a way in wich inflation ends up pulverising any possibility of trully getting out of poverty.

    You end up being unable to pay for more than basic needs, and you spend anything left in your account as quickly as you can because you can’t protect your savings (unless you have an huge income), as a result the middle class is way poorer than 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago, and the poor majority are probably slightly better than before with all the assistance and subsidies, at least until it all collapses.


  6. Rodrigo Linares,

    Just to point two other things out:

    A) I don’t think most non poor truly realize how much 2USD per day would represent to people with zero income, especially if they know it’s guaranteed and not just a two dollar tip that they got in a cup one day but have no idea if it will happen the next day. The psychology behind the guarantee feature and the pragmatism imposed by the daily feature are life changing. Along the same lines, there is an underappreciated advantage to removing any shame associated with having to publicly accept one’s poverty needs in registering for social programs, while providing a new sense of empowerment with knowledge that a bonus income is a right and not a handout.

    For example, I know of a company that provided laptops to its executives. The laptops would fail constantly and the executives would repeatedly blame their IT department for the failure and any lag in getting the laptops working again. The company decided to stop providing laptops, instead *giving* new laptops to each executives. The executives became the owners of the laptops. Failures almost ended, and when the failures occurred, the IT department became the friend that they could turn to for help, instead of the enemy, root of all frustration. Same laptops, different psychology.

    UCT methods provide people with the empowerment of ownership of their own money. Ask poor people if they think that a family of five receiving a guaranteed 10USD per day gets them out of poverty or not.

    B) I hear many arguments against UCT that seem to ignore a basic fact about money. Distributed cash is like energy in that, rather than being created or destroyed, it just changes hands. Whether the oil revenues enter the economy at the top or at the bottom, the difference will not be in the total money in the economy, but in the distribution and rate of travel within an economy. By using UCT methods for injecting money into an economy, you are guaranteeing a certain amount of distribution, which is impossible to beat with any other method. As to rate of travel within an economy, consumer economics is also very difficult to beat in a market context where government policy is such that it allows, and even helps, the market do its thing.

    Another analogy to the cash distribution is the water cycle. Even if you let it rain everywhere, the water will invariably find its way to the ocean from where it will rain again. Cash doesn’t just go to waste, ever. It will invariably get traded for the best goods and services as per a distributed decision system of what entails the best, not a corruptible centralized point of failure decision system.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t presented here any argument in favor or against UCT. Like any other social program, which is what it is (not the establishment of a fundamental right, as you are presenting here) it will have some effect over that income distribution. Is the effect on the income distribution that one we desire as a society? Maybe. But it is a discussion that must be had in those terms. As noble as it is to increase the income of those that have none, there are a small (tiny) percentage in Vzla. And as undeserved as they may be, one must also think about every else. Do UCTs really maximize the state of welfare?

      If UCTs are accompanied by a healthy economy and good fiscal responsibility I am sure the effects will be positive. Else, it will cause inflation.

      But like a friend said: “it is better to print money and give to the people than to PDVSA”

      Managing UCTs is not a silver bullet to our problems nor is as simple as people may think.


      • Rodrigo Linares,

        I believe you need to rethink a few things.

        A) When a government proposes cash distributions as a social program, then it is a social program. When I propose a daily, unconditional bonus income to all citizens as a constitutional mandate, it is not a social program; I propose a new citizen fundamental right.

        B) A bonus, unconditional, daily income, call it BUDI, would have several effects that are what we desire as a society. The first and foremost is that it would eliminate at least one form of poverty, the one defined strictly by income. In fact, study the formula for the most widely used GINI coefficient calculation and you’ll see that the improvement in the GINI coefficient is directly and linearly related to the amount distributed by BUDI.

        Another effect BUDI would have is that all citizens, from very early on, have the opportunity, but mostly the incentive, to stretch that money as far as it will go. Any social program alternative does not maximize this incentive as efficiently. And this incentive is one of the most important factors in getting the markets motors running at their most efficient. Of course, there need to exist sound market policies, too, but so do all the other alternatives, which is why you don’t find me mentioning those when talking about BUDI, not because they are not needed, but because they are a given with any alternative.

        In Venezuela’s particular case, using natural resource revenues for BUDI has an all important desired effect on society: the elimination of the petro state model. Any alternative that does not take out of government’s hands any money from the natural resources maintains the petro-state model, which has many counter incentives to what we wish for our society. You may try to point to societies that despite those incentives do well, but that’s like pointing to success stories of people from broken homes as support for keeping our home broken. The petro-state incentives must go.

        You mention a “small (tiny)” percentage of people with no income in Venezuela. I am not only referring to those people. I am referring to all the people whose lives would improve *significantly* with a guaranteed 2USD per day per person. That percentage is, not only not tiny and not small, enough to win an election.

        C) Yes, UCTs maximize the state of welfare. Consider that any spending by the government, whether for infrastructure or services or what have you, is a transfer of value to its citizens. Some spending will transfer the value of the spending more directly to its citizens, others will be more indirect, but they are all value transfers originating from cash. Technically, all government spending is a Cash Transfer, just that it is not a transfer of power. The power resides in the spender’s decisions. Leaving out the obvious conflict of incentives that arise from money for which the government never had to work, the transfer becomes dependent on the efficiency of the spending in providing value to the citizens in ways that doesn’t let anyone fall through the cracks. The BUDI proposal, being so direct, is the alternative that minimizes citizens falling through cracks, minimizes overhead, minimizes mismanagement, etc.

        D) Your mention of a healthy economy and good fiscal responsibility are not a requirement for UCTs to have a positive effect. BUDI would make a healthy economy and good fiscal responsibility more likely, because it corrects many of the worst incentives that are causing the unhealthy economy and lousy fiscal responsibility. But even if you don’t agree with that, I’ll turn your argument around. Assume you’re right, then the same is not only true for any alternative, it is worse so for any alternative.

        E) Funny thing about it being better to print money and give it to the people than to PDVSA. Printing money takes value away from all money as a flat percentage. It is, effectively, a flat capital tax. Giving the same amount to everyone is, effectively, a progressive negative capital tax. Taking the same percentage of capital from everyone, but giving out the same amount of capital to everyone you can keep everyone out of income poverty while unevasibly taxing everyone without a SENIAT overhead (this would include money launderers)! Can’t get more efficient than that.

        F) Nobody is claiming BUDI is a silver bullet, nor that it is easy. Those are straw man arguments. The claim is that BUDI is easier, more effective, and more efficient than anything else.


        • A) You need to rethink what a fundamental right is. Fundamental rights are not something that one proclaims.

          B) Perhaps you will, perhaps you won’t depending if those $2 will actually grant you access for material things.

          C)Yes, you are probably right about this one but there isn’t such a thing as a proof.

          D) The key (and slippery) word here is “likely”. I agree, but it is not certain.

          F) I absolutely agree which is why I am not saying that one shouldn’t do it.


          • Rodrigo Linares,

            A) I’m not proclaiming. I believe that the right to survive without having to work is something that is, or inevitably will be, a consequence of already accepted fundamental rights. It is something that the future will require as technology and science allows levels of efficiency from a few to produce enough for the many.

            B) Even if $2 sit in your pocket because there is no access to purchase anything, two things happen: A) the $2 are not in someone else’s pockets getting spent elsewhere, thus creating a market for goods chosen by others elsewhere, and B) you become an increasingly valuable market to target with goods and services. In other words, if you sold flip-flops, would you go sell them to the favelas where no one has money for them, or to the beaches where the tourists have plenty? Would you reconsider selling in the favelas if everyone there had $2 daily accumulating in their pockets?

            C) If by proof you mean evidence, you’re asking for the wrong thing. Proof can be deduced, if the government spending has overhead and points of failure and wrong incentives, but the UCT does not, that is the proof. If you want a successful trial, then you have to try it, which is what I’m supporting, because no logic seems to find a flaw with the proof.

            D) No, the key word is “more”. UCT is *more* likely than the likelihood of the alternatives. Why would you support something *less* likely?

            E) Yes, but you’re still not suggesting that we should.


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