By Ilan Kelman
It is exciting to see journalism finally picking up what development researchers have been saying from the beginning http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17312819 regarding the attempt to measure development by how many people live on less than a dollar a day. The journalist’s insights into how the World Bank is claiming to have met poverty reduction goals are excellent, but sadly just scratch the surface regarding the use of data to promote targets for which the reality is vastly different. The main lesson relates to the importance of always being wary of quick fixes and simple, quantitative targets. These approaches frequently claim to show conclusions regarding sustainability and development, but the results are often designed to justify what was done, irrespective of its true effectiveness. In the end, it often just obscures what is really happening to the people who most need help.