Midget-sized solutions to poverty

by Debra Efroymson

Riding in a rickshaw in the colorful but noisy city of Barisal, I passed a tiny box that was a vendor’s stall. Amused, I wondered if it had been designed for a midget. When I passed it again a couple hours later, imagine my delight on finding a midget inside! When we talk about small businesses, we may forget just how small they can be. Many governments seek to ban rather than encourage vendors, or as I like to call them, Independent Outdoor Businesspeople (IOB). Where in economics is the discussion of the importance of money working its way down the system and then circulating there? If money always goes right back up to the rich, then obviously the poor will never be better off. How much better if our rickshaw pullers use their fare to buy food from IOB who source their goods from local farmers and other IOB, with the money circulating amongst them!

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