How Academics Can Help People Make Better Decisions Concerning Global Poverty

Ethics and International Affairs 26 (2):265-278 (2012)
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One relatively straightforward way in which academics could have more impact on global poverty is by doing more to help people make wise decisions about issues relevant to such poverty. Academics could do this by conducting appropriate kinds of research on those issues and sharing what they have learned with the relevant decision makers in accessible ways. But aren’t academics already doing this? In the case of many of those issues, I think the appropriate answer would be that they could do so much better. As an illustration, I examine the academic input into one decision about an issue concerning global poverty in some detail in this paper. I argue that that input has been seriously deficient, and suggest some ways in which it might be improved. Building on this discussion, I then formulate two questions that can be applied to any such decision, answers to which would indicate the quality of the input academics are currently providing. In cases where that input is deficient, and the decision in question an important one, I suggest that academics consider organising themselves in ways that will improve that input. I finish by briefly discussing how Academics Stand Against Poverty might help them do so.
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Archival date: 2012-10-13
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