The WorldBank just published a 60,000 person study on the reasons people flow in and out of poverty. My favorite line (which pretty much sums up why we do babajob):
"the answers most frequently emphasized (for why people moved out of poverty were) people’s own initiative in finding jobs
and starting new businesses"http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/27/opinion/27iht-ednarayan.html?_r=1&ref=global
The common perception about poverty is that we are slowly pulling people out of it. The truth is otherwise: Though the world pulls many millions out of poverty each year, it counteracts those gains by sending millions who were not poor into poverty. We must understand this two-way highway if we genuinely aspire to end poverty. A study we conducted at the World Bank, “Moving Out of Poverty: Success from the Bottom Up,” sought to survey this two-way highway, investigating who escapes poverty, who falls in, and why. Among our diverse findings, two striking truths stood out.
The first is that poor people, contrary to their image in the developed world, are born capitalists in the Horatio Alger mold, more capitalist than the average New Yorker or Londoner. They believe in the power of their own effort — they try and try, and even if they are foiled or cheated, they try again. Though the poor are commonly believed to be fatalistic, our conversations with 60,000 poor people in 15 countries showed this to be patently untrue.
When the world meets the hopeful poor halfway, people rise out of poverty. They open shops, move to big cities to work as cooks or chauffeurs, send their children to learn new skills and languages. They ask little of their governments. They take matters into their own hands.