PILAR OLIVARES / REUTERS

Brazil's Antipoverty Breakthrough

The Surprising Success of Bolsa Família

In recent years, as public anxiety over growing inequality has intensified, policymakers and academics have started scrambling for some increasingly extreme solutions. India, for example, has launched massive programs to provide the poor with food and jobs, and the French economist Thomas Piketty has famously proposed a redistributive global wealth tax. But there are big problems with such efforts. Huge, heavily bureaucratic programs such as India’s have proved inefficient and expensive. And the planet’s richest citizens are certain to use all their influence to block any proposals along Piketty’s lines from being implemented. The good news is that …

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