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Unjust Conditions follows the lives and labors of poor
mothers in rural Peru, richly documenting the ordeals they face to
participate in mainstream poverty alleviation programs. Championed
by behavioral economists and the World Bank, conditional cash
transfer (CCT) programs are praised as efficient mechanisms for
changing poor people's behavior. While rooted in good intentions
and dripping with the rhetoric of social inclusion, CCT programs'
successes ring hollow, based solely on metrics for children’s
attendance at school and health appointments. Looking beyond these
statistics reveals a host of hidden costs for the mothers who meet
the conditions. With a poignant voice and keen focus on
ethnographic research, Tara Patricia Cookson turns the
reader’s gaze to women’s care work in landscapes of
grossly inadequate state investment, cleverly drawing out the
tensions between social inclusion and conditionality.