Introduction. Cash Transfers and the New Welfare States
1. The “end of history” and “world is flat” arguments are associated with best-
selling books by Francis Fukuyama and Thomas Friedman, respectively. The most in-
fluential critical accounts operating at the same “meta” level are perhaps David Harvey
2007, Mike Davis 2006, and (in a more pop u lar vein) Naomi Klein 2008.
2. Even in Bangladesh (home of Muhammed Yunus’s Grameen Bank and long the
poster child for microcredit as anti- poverty remedy), Ananya Roy’s revealing study
(2010) has concluded that microcredit/microfinance programs there, successful as
they have often been, have in fact been less about investment and interest than about
public subsidies to the poor. “Despite the rhetoric of credit and entrepreneurship,”
she observes, “the Bangladesh institutions seem to be engaged in forms of social
protection,” following a “logic of development” that “fits much more comfortably in
the ‘social protection’ family of programs and policies than in the ‘micro- enterprises’
family” (2010, 116, 117).
3. Hanlon, Barrientos, and Hulme 2010.
4. “Southern Africa” is both a conventional unit of scholarly specialization and a re-
gion that is meaningfully integrated both eco nom ical ly (insofar as it is oriented around
the powerful industrial “core” economy of South Africa) and po liti cally (via the South-
ern African Development Community, a regional grouping that began as an associa-
tion of anti- apartheid “front line” states but today includes all the states in the region,
including South Africa). Note that I will give special attention throughout to two states
within the region, South Africa and Namibia, that have especially extensive and (from
my point of view) interesting systems of social assistance, but I will also refer where
appropriate to neighboring states where similar (if less extensive) programs have been