How can we alleviate extreme poverty? It’s the question that underpins the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), and almost all development projects. Because poverty almost always shows itself as a lack of resources in poor communities – food, safe water, sanitation, education, healthcare – it’s reasonable to theorise that poverty is a resource problem. So, based on that assumption, we execute a push strategy of development – pushing the resources poor communities lack in order to solve the issue. But while we might alleviate poverty, we don’t do much else.
Our strategies will not create sustained growth that leads to prosperity because we are solving the wrong problem. Almost all development projects focus on alleviating poverty rather than creating prosperity. This is a fundamental flaw.