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The luxury of the rich and the responsibility of the poor

June 30, 2011

We tend to be patronizing about the poor in a very specific sense, which is that we tend to think, ‘Why don’t they take more responsibility for their lives?’ And what we are forgetting is that the richer you are the less responsibility you need to take for your own life because everything is taken care for you. And the poorer you are the more you have to be responsible for everything about your life….My lesson is to stop berating people for not being responsible and start to think of ways instead of providing the poor with the luxury that we all have, which is that a lot of decisions are taken for us. If we do nothing, we are on the right track. For most of the poor, if they do nothing, they are on the wrong track.

This is a really great quote from Esther Duflo during a talk at the Center For Effective Philanthropy. I can’t take credit for finding this quote, I got it straight from A View From The Cave.

What do you think about this?

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