What do poor people do?

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What do poor people want? It’s a stupid question, because of course “poor people” aren’t a single homogenous group and everyone wants something different. But it’s also the only question that should matter. If what we are doing in development is trying to improve poor people’s lives, then their own definitions of what the problem is and how to fix it should be the starting point for what happens. So what do poor people want? Thanks to some very big studies, such as the World Bank’s Voices of the Poor, which involved 60,000 people in 60 countries, we have a pretty good idea. There’s a long list. But near the top in most countries is a desire for a job, better connections to the rest of the world, a reduced threat of violence, and an end to the regular daily humiliations and disrespect that are too often the reality for poor people.