[I]t's about time Indonesian politicians start to think in a systematic way about policy support for the poor that minimizes the incentives to the broader economy. I think this can be done -- for all its faults, especially as a program designed and implemented in such a short time, the cash transfer program was relatively successful in achieving such an objective. It's high time that we think of such programs, especially given the expected global food price hikes.
While we're at it, I should mention that I agree with Becker's recommendation that
[T]here are far more effective ways to help poor nations of Africa and elsewhere speed up their rates of economic development and reduce the impact of malaria, Aids, and other devastating diseases. Probably the single most important step is to encourage much more market-friendly policies by African and other governments in poor countries. In addition, it would help to reduce, better still eliminate, tariffs by rich countries on the agricultural and other exports from developing countries, encourage more widespread use of DDT and mosquito netting in combating malaria (see my post on deaths from malaria on Sept. 24, 2006), and provide private and perhaps public subsidies to the development of new drugs that help fight diseases mainly found in poor countries.
Of course, next is to translate that into actions. For which, Dani Rodrik's superb new book may provide good insights.