World Bank Goes into the Mind & Heart of Poverty

Photo Credit: Photo: World Bank/Dana Smillie

Besides an interesting title, the World Bank goes outside the box, and we might add into our minds, in its recent publication: “Mind, Society and Behavior.” The World Bank has recently moved beyond traditional finance and being the Globe’s Banker.  From countering engrained discrimination against women/girls to promoting cultural programs, The World Bank is shaping attitudes and the new global citizen. This Report, linked below, proposes: “Suggests that poverty constitutes a cognitive tax that makes it hard for poor people to think deliberatively, especially in times of hardship or stress. When used with existing policy approaches, new tools ranging from simple, low-cost changes such as better framing of messages and changing the timing of aid, can significantly improve outcomes.”


The above message is ostensibly targeted at government, decision makers and social work practitioners. However, the message is relevant to all of us, at least in terms of stereotypes about the poor, the causes for their plight, and why it may be so difficult to escape the vicious cycle. It may not be about intelligence, talent, culture, character or willingness to engage in hard work. Rather, poverty disengages the victim from what most see as natural and normal. The need for survival and stress allow for only a limited vision of the now and little of the future potential.


This Report also presses digital-diplomacy one step forward. The World Bank has become increasingly engaged via social media to broaden and deepen the reach of its message.  (See: “World Bank Development Report 2015 Explores ‘Mind, Society & Behavior’.”)

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