Poverty can reduce brainpower, a contentious study

Editor,This is with reference to Dr Cory Couillard’s column, “Poverty can reduce brainpower, study”, published in The New Times edition of September 5.

Editor,

This is with reference to Dr Cory Couillard’s column, “Poverty can reduce brainpower, study”, published in The New Times edition of September 5.

While the study is interesting, it is also very contentious. Decision making can not only be a function of financial needs but also genetic (G) and other compound environmental (E) factors; (G by E).

If the findings were universally true, Rwanda (as case study) would not have been able to lift itself from below zero poverty, register an average GDP growth of 8.2% for the period 2000 to 2012.

It is projected to grow at an average of 11% (2013-2018), GDP per capita of US$644 in 2012 and forecast to rise to US$1240 in 2018. A government that started with nothing in 1994 has been able to lift over one million people out of poverty etc.

Surely, these outcomes indicate that the beneficiaries are able to make strategic economic decisions. I do not however want to be construed to suggest that this research has no degree of truth. May be, it has but not universally applicable.

If it were so, it would imply that to get out of poverty an outside helping hand is an imperative for moving up the economic ladder and that scarcity is inescapable trap. In my lifetime, I have seen young millionaires who started selling sweets and tomatoes.

They must be rational decision makers. In brief, those who are facing financial challenges should be rest assured that they can still think rationally and make it.

Mark, Kigali, Rwanda

 

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