By Clay

Social Impact Bond News“In order to get to a stage where these innovations are scaled and serve high proportions of targeted populations, a much more strategic approach is required.  And that process is worth doing, even if no SIB is ever financed. The simple process of government articulating what its problems are, what its goals are, and what the potential solutions could be would be a tremendously positive reform in its own right.”

Dr. Roman discusses some legitimate criticisms of the SIB idea.  Particularly the fact that SIBs target a very narrow population as he discuss more here, and aren’t necessarily looking for a strategic/comprehensive solution.

Speaking of thinking strategically, as a former Air Force officer, I was trained since my first days to think strategically—as airpower and its doctrinal focus is on attacking an enemy’s vulnerabilities at the strategic level (as a former boss discussed here) --so I’ve instinctively tried to envision a strategic approach for the SIB projects here in north Georgia.  That’s essentially what Dr. Roman is advocating.  It is great to take the evidence-based approaches to solve problems for targeted populations, but how do we focus on the larger picture and fulfill ARPI’s mission of ending rural poverty?  Focusing on a target population may be a part of it, but you need the strategic impact as well. 

I love the Air Force and will always be an Airman, with that said, it is important to note the Air Force hasn’t always embraced its strategic thinking revolutionaries.  The propagandist Mitchell got court-martialed and more Marines attended the memorial service of Col Boyd than members of the Air Force.

More AF related reading here and here.

I was nodding on some of the stuff that Hampton was saying, although not from his comments, the non-pilot leader concern is silly, although I'm sure it will cause problems initially, which I believe is perpetuated by the fighter-pilot mentality and those unofficial hierarchies.  But what do I know? I was just a JAG.    

RFK and Ryan 2016?:  “But Ryan appears to be grounded, perhaps by his Catholic faith and commitment to family and community, Woodson said.  He remembers asking Ryan one day: ‘Why do you give a damn about poor people? You are popular; you don't need this. He looked me in the eye and he said, ‘I am concerned about this country and how divided we are, and we've got to heal that.' You can't lip sync that.’”

I applaud Congressman Ryan’s efforts.  He will bring more intellectual heft to the poverty debate, and his concern seems real (he has also drawn a lot of criticism on the issue).

I’m currently reading The Last Campaign by Thurston Clarke about RFK’s 1968 presidential campaign.  Clarke is no Kennedy critic (this book is part hagiography as most of his Kennedy efforts have been) so I was surprised to read this:

“[RFK] was suspicious of welfare because he thought it robbed the individual of self-respect and a place in the community.  He believed that the government could not improve inner-city neighborhoods without the participation of their inhabitants, that poverty programs should be designed and administered by community organizations, that jobs were crucial, and that the most effective way of creating them in poor communities was through a partnership between local people and private enterprises.”  (80).

I think a lot of people today would be surprised by that quote.  It’ll be interesting to see how this issue develops on both sides of the political aisle.

Dogooders Womp Womp:   We’re all in the process of discussing what should replace the Millennium Development Goals as targets for the future development of the global economy. If this has happened to pass you by, that this discussion is happening, then don’t worry there’s an endless stream of NGOs and other make work busybodies doing the discussing on your behalf. Or perhaps you should worry because they all seem to have exactly the wrong end of the stick about human poverty.”

Why does he have to bring Nelson Mandela into it, and wouldn’t capitalism be a human action that would overcome it?  I kinda believe he didn’t read the entire quote that he placed in his article.  Although, I guess no human has an invisible hand so maybe the author is right.

Side note, just got done watching Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom last night.  It was fun watching Idris Elba completely capture the majesty of the man.  Which makes me wonder where Stringer Bell, that exemplar of free market capitalism, would weigh in on this poverty argument?  

Rural Poverty Rising: “Those in deep poverty have also increased. Deep poverty, the USDA report Rural Poverty & Well-being indicates, is commonly defined as having cash income below half of one’s poverty line. In 2012 that meant a subsistence level of less than $1,000 per month for a family of four.  Deep poverty was more acute in 2012 in rural areas (12.2 percent) than urban areas (9.2 percent). Since 2012, little additional information has accumulated about the demographics of persons experiencing poverty and deep poverty.”

We are going to fight this and this here at ARPI.