Betrayed: Politics, Power, and Prosperity by Seth D. Kaplan (auth.)

By Seth D. Kaplan (auth.)

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I wake up still from bad dreams. ”43 Even where violence does not erupt, the insecurity that social conflict brings is itself a major cause of poverty. People refrain from making all sorts of investments, worry about the safety of their property, and refrain from taking any step that will not pay off immediately. Emigration increases. Prices rise. Governments often react by becoming more repressive and more exclusionary, and officials may become more corrupt as they worry more about their own futures.

But, as the table shows, almost all poor people in the developing world face one thing in common: little or no access to opportunity. This chapter explains how this lack of opportunity prevents the poor in the developing world from bettering their lives. It begins by looking at the role of social divisions in this tragedy and then goes on to discuss how the poor’s own governments—deliberately in many cases—deny them the opportunity to escape poverty. First, however, it presents a story—Maymana and Mofizul’s story—that offers a window into the lives of the poor across the less developed world.

41 Maymana and Mofizul’s Story Maymana and Mofizul live in a fertile and densely populated area of central Bangladesh. Their village is near to a main road, which ensures that trade with surrounding areas is brisk. The location also gives villagers access to important government services and major NGOs that provide training, health care, and loans. In the early 1990s, their household had five members: Maymana, her husband Hafeez, and their three children. Hafeez had three rickshaws that he hired out and an acre of land that he farmed.

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