You know? I think Oxfam are lying here

Oxfam said that despite rapid growth in gross domestic product (GDP) – which averaged at 5% between 2000-2016 and caused the country to be included in economics Civets list of fast growing emerging nations – “poverty reduction slowed to a near standstill”. Based on the World Bank’s “moderate” poverty line of $3.10-a-day, some 93 million Indonesians are living poverty.

I think if we used absolute poverty then we’d find a very large reduction in it over that time.

32 comments on “You know? I think Oxfam are lying here

  1. I love arguing about poverty with the left; it’s the most evidence-based argument that their system doesn’t work.

    Want to lift millions out of extreme poverty? Don’t send aid, buy stuff from them. Ask the Indians how that’s worked over the last 30 years where their middle class went from 7% to 45%. How many people did that move up the scale?

  2. Based on the World Bank’s “moderate” poverty line of $3.10-a-day, some 93 million Indonesians are living poverty.

    Based on their “moderate” poverty line. What does the absolute poverty line say?

    They don’t seem to be making much of an effort to hide their lie here. But then they probably don’t need to.

  3. the report says “There is a general consensus that increased inequality reduces the rate of poverty reduction”, but with no citation or footnote. Any idea what they’re on about?

  4. napsjam – “using absolute poverty the graph shows a massive reduction. so yes, a lie.”

    That graph shows a pretty steep decline in absolute poverty. Actually if you play with the menu you can get the moderate rate of poverty as well. That too shows a massive drop in the numbers living in moderate poverty.

    So they are lying twice over – and knowingly lying. You cannot look at that decline and just focus on the total number unless you want to deceive. Shameful.

  5. Relative poverty is a godsend to them. They can always adjust the threshold and there will always be some sort of inequality in any free society.

    So they have a lifetime of fruitful activism and lying ahead.

  6. In his book Progress, Johan Norberg repeatedly makes the point that when it comes to poverty you cannot look at absolute numbers because of population growth, but even in this case the absolute number is falling.

    The only way they can make their statement work is by looking at the “PEOPLE LIVING BELOW NATIONAL POVERTY LINE” poverty headcount ratio curve, which is a completely different discussion.

    They are beneath contempt.

  7. They’re desperately fighting for survival, like any organisation whose original purpose has been rendered obsolete.

  8. Lefties
    – ignore Gapminder or dismiss it.
    – Inequality is up in China ‘cos there are more rich people!
    – Inequality in Spain is up ‘cos Oxfam say so.
    – The richer are getting richer and making the poor get poorer!

    It is like arguing with a fact-free zone. You are pushing your way through waist-high thick treacle whilst being hit with wet lettuces.

    I always go back to Maggie Thatcher’s last hurrah in parliament when she put down the liberal from some constituency. He complained that the gap between rich and poor was greater after her tenure and wasn’t she ashamed?

    The answer was ‘All income groups are better off now’
    and
    ‘You would rather the poor were poorer as long as the rich weren’t richer. You didn’t mean to say it, but it slipped out.’

    That was my Maggie!

  9. Some reform of charity status is overdue, isn’t it?

    From this briefing:

    http://www.russell-cooke.co.uk/media/1800/can-you-lose-your-charitable-status-aug-12.pdf

    In their response to the House of Commons, the Charity Commission stated that an organisation would not lose charitable status simply because the purposes of the organisation were no longer charitable.

    That just strikes me as bizarre.

    Every few years, you’d think they’d have to re-apply and give proof that the specific problem(s) they were set up for still exists and they’ve made reasonable progress toward solving the problem since last time.

    Most charities should be expected to go out of business after a few years, simply from achieving their initial aim. Sure, there’s some like hospices that will never go away, but we can deal with reasonable exceptions.

    Or, as there’s loads of tax benefits, we could just get rid of the silly taxes on regular business (incidence) and simplify the whole lot.

  10. Should have used the full quote, it’s not so bad then:

    In their response to the House of Commons, the Charity Commission stated that an organisation would not lose charitable status simply because the purposes of the organisation were no longer charitable. This could occur as a result of a change in social circumstances. In this instance, the organisation’s trustees would be under an ongoing
    obligation to secure the effective use of the assets for charitable purposes. This would involve the trustees either changing the objects of the organisation, or applying to the Charity Commission for a cy-pres scheme. A cy-pres scheme will change the purposes for which the organisations asset’s can be applied so that they continue to be charitable.

    Though that would point to a need for periodic checks, and to be very careful of ever-moving goalposts with this bit, “changing the objects of the organisation”.

  11. Cynic: Some reform of charity status is overdue, isn’t it?

    Absolutely.

    Any organisation that receives funding from the state is an agency of government and should be removed from the register of charities.

  12. Cynic,

    Good points ref charitable status. So does that mean some charities have been, and others are, obtaining money under false pretences?

  13. BiND look at Oxfam. Donations make up roughly half their income and is easily enough to deal with the humanitarian activities – disaster relief etc. The other half of the income comes from Government and is spent on “development”, such as ending violence against women in Zambia or advancing gender justice or sustainable water supplies in Tajikistan, or “campaigning” for ending extreme inequality. I sense a bit of mission creep into a branch of the UK Foreign Office

  14. So does that mean some charities have been, and others are, obtaining money under false pretences?

    Most larger charities receive money, either directly or indirectly, from the state (UK, EU, etc). Many of those charities willingly spend funds “campaigning” for political issues that government would like them to campaign for.

    Most people contributing to those charities don’t see the link between such “political state funding” and related charitable (or political) campaigning.

    Whatever their formal objectives / status, I regard that as obtaining money under false pretences, and most certainly an abuse of charity status (ie fraud?). And I’m happy to tell the more aggressive chuggers that (it wastes a bit of their time).

    Diogenes – I would suggest that “mission creep” might be an understatement..:)

  15. I could have added under “Development” helping Bangladesh deal with the impacts of climate change…..

  16. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/12134804/Too-many-of-our-charities-are-nothing-of-the-sort.html

    Aside from this being another excuse to use those lovely blockquotes, I’ve reformatted what the Telegraph wrote by adding line breaks for clarity:

    It revealed that some of these “charities” had hundreds of different public funding streams. One, Leonard Cheshire, had over 4,000.

    The report uncovered a huge disparity between publicly funded income, and charitable donations.

    Of the £218 million income identified for Action For Children, £196.7 came from public money.

    Of the £164 million income for the “charity” Mencap, £155 million came from public funding .

    I assume the website has gone, as I remember there being one that detailed charities that are largely funded like an arm of the state. I think it referred to them as “fake”, which might be why it isn’t up anymore.

    I seem to remember somewhere stating there were cases of the government funding organisations to lobby them. Essentially paying a third party to make a fuss to persuade the State to do what the State wanted.

    Sadly, the effort to stop that went south:

    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/dec/02/ministers-ditch-anti-lobbying-proposals-for-charities-and-universities

  17. Cynic,

    Sadly, the effort to stop that went south

    Not surprisingly, I recall Spud being very energised on that issue!

  18. They will never discuss absolute poverty, they will always work with relative poverty, because it keeps them in a job forever.

  19. The trouble is that whenever a politician – tory, labour or lib-dem – has a dinner party, half the spouses at the table have well paying jobs in the charity business and many of their offspring are also sucking at the same teat.

    For a politician to try taking away the six-figure salaries for three or four days of attendance per month from these parasites would not go down well.

  20. I imagine trying to enforce a reasonable cap on pay in order to qualify for charity status would get a similar response.

    You get the usual glib line about “needing to attract the best people”, but they never seem to think about needing to attract the best people that also care about the charity objective itself.

    (the same applies to the public sector: “it’s about patient safety”, “here’s a payrise”, “okay!”).

  21. I assume the website has gone, as I remember there being one that detailed charities that are largely funded like an arm of the state. I think it referred to them as “fake”, which might be why it isn’t up anymore.

    fakecharities.org – run by DK. It folded due to his lack of time AIUI. This is the latest snapshot on archive.org.

  22. Cynic – regarding Leonard Cheshire I imagine much of what they do is provide care for the elderly in social care. In which case that is much like Timmy’s preferred method of healthcare provision, publicly funded, privately provided. Plus they aren’t doing the political campaigning so far as I have noticed. So I wouldn’t have a problem with them receiving public funds.

  23. Fair point.

    The DT article was inspired by the Kids’ Company fiasco, so was critical of the running of that charity as well as the funding.

    Later on, in the section I posted, it is referring only to the funding of those orgs rather than making any judgement on whether their work is worthwhile.

    Insofar as the funding goes, I think it is fair to differentiate between arms of the State and private charities, regardless of the work they do.

  24. It’s just struck me that because Leonard Cheshire is/was funded that way and is registered as a charity, that is why it got named in an article talking about Kids Company.

    Unfair guilt by association.

    Unfortunate it appeared in a right-wing rag, given I expect middle-class righties are more charitable and pay more tax.

  25. “fakecharities.org – run by DK. It folded due to his lack of time AIUI. This is the latest snapshot on archive.org.”

    Correct but TBF DK was supported by a couple of people.

    The main problem was that they designated any charity receiving more than 50% of their funds from the State as fake and that needed volunteers to go through their accounts every year. It was an interesting project but needed a lot of funds and time.

  26. Speaking of Kids’ Company, whatever happened to Carmina Batmanandrobin? She seems to have coasted off into the sunset like a chintz-covered Zeppelin.

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