Nurturing Young Minds

Nurturing Young Minds

Monday, June 6, 2011

Erasing the Poverty Line in 2 years: The Story of the Quest: Part 1

Once I went to make a presentation of ‘Erasing the Poverty Line in 2 Years’ paradigm to a government department in New Delhi. A bureaucrat with whom I sat for some time heard about the proposal. He wanted to know if the economists and planners who had been working for poverty alleviation for the last 60 years were all fools that they could not achieve in sixty years what it was possible to achieve in just 2 years. I could see indignation in his eyes. I only told him that I was presenting no mystical formula, and he could join the presentation session to see for himself if what I was proposing was feasible. However, his protest was stuck somewhere in my heart, since it was apparently a valid comment. I myself wondered how the planners and economists missed out such simple recipe while working with various complex recipes for poverty alleviation. I did not get an appropriate answer to this question until, after some time, a read an anecdote about Isaac Newton, the great scientist.
    Once Isaac Newton was working in his lab, absorbed in big ideas. He noticed that a family of mice was struggling to get out of a hole in the wall of his lab room. He found that the mice were many and the hole was one. He felt anxious as to how so many mice would get out through one hole. Therefore, he called his assistant and asked him to make more holes in the wall so that each of the several mice could get out through them.  
    It is not known how authentic the story is, but one thing in the story is very authentic. People, whose minds are occupied with big things, or absorbed hundred per cent in something else, sometimes fail to notice the small and the obvious. It did not strike Newton at that time that all the mice could one by one get out through the same one hole if only the hole was a little widened to facilitate entry of one mouse. Similarly, while the economists and the planners keep themselves busy finding complex recipes to bring prosperity to the nations, they often overlook a few very simple facts, which can help them remove poverty and erase the poverty line in just two to three years’ time. One honest bureaucrat told me that very few of these economists, planners, bureaucrats and politicians were truly in the game of removing poverty. They had their own different games to play. That was the reason poverty lingered on from decade to decade.
   What is then the simple recipe for poverty alleviation that I proposed? 
    Before I came to that simple recipe, I would like to narrate the journey of somebody, who was not a qualified economist, that took him to the destination where he thought he had found the way extreme poverty could be removed within a very short period from the poorer areas of the country and the world.  

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