Despite the good intentions behind intergovernmental projects like the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and numerous development charities, international aid programmes have so far had a negligible influence on reducing destitution and cannot be relied upon to fill the gap. It seems that destitution will go on indefinitely destroying lives on a massive scale in forgotten corners of the world.

Yet there is something we haven’t tried yet, despite its stunning obviousness: giving destitute people money. $1.25 is a very small amount of money. That is why it is the World Bank’s threshold for utter destitution. But the other side of that is that $1.25 is also a trivial piffling amount of money, and the average shortfall per destitute person from that threshold is even smaller. Imagine if the richest 1.2 billion people in the world were twinned with the poorest, and each rich person gave 50 cents per day to their poor twin: destitution would be pretty much eliminated and the rich would hardly even notice the cost.