The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time Paperback – Feb 28 2006
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Celebrated economist Jeffrey Sachs has a plan to eliminate extreme poverty around the world by 2025. If you think that is too ambitious or wildly unrealistic, you need to read this book. His focus is on the one billion poorest individuals around the world who are caught in a poverty trap of disease, physical isolation, environmental stress, political instability, and lack of access to capital, technology, medicine, and education. The goal is to help these people reach the first rung on the "ladder of economic development" so they can rise above mere subsistence level and achieve some control over their economic futures and their lives. To do this, Sachs proposes nine specific steps, which he explains in great detail in The End of Poverty. Though his plan certainly requires the help of rich nations, the financial assistance Sachs calls for is surprisingly modest--more than is now provided, but within the bounds of what has been promised in the past. For the U.S., for instance, it would mean raising foreign aid from just 0.14 percent of GNP to 0.7 percent. Sachs does not view such help as a handout but rather an investment in global economic growth that will add to the security of all nations. In presenting his argument, he offers a comprehensive education on global economics, including why globalization should be embraced rather than fought, why international institutions such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank need to play a strong role in this effort, and the reasons why extreme poverty exists in the midst of great wealth. He also shatters some persistent myths about poor people and shows how developing nations can do more to help themselves.
Despite some crushing statistics, The End of Poverty is a hopeful book. Based on a tremendous amount of data and his own experiences working as an economic advisor to the UN and several individual nations, Sachs makes a strong moral, economic, and political case for why countries and individuals should battle poverty with the same commitment and focus normally reserved for waging war. This important book not only makes the end of poverty seem realistic, but in the best interest of everyone on the planet, rich and poor alike. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Sachs came to fame advising "shock therapy" for moribund economies in the 1980s (with arguably positive results); more recently, as director of Columbia University's Earth Institute, he has made news with a plan to end global "extreme poverty"--which, he says, kills 20,000 people a day--within 20 years. While much of the plan has been known to economists and government leaders for a number of years (including Kofi Annan, to whom Sachs is special advisor), this is Sachs's first systematic exposition of it for a general audience, and it is a landmark book.For on-the-ground research in reducing disease, poverty, armed conflict and environmental damage, Sachs has been to more than 100 countries, representing 90% of the world's population. The book combines his practical experience with sharp professional analysis and clear exposition. Over 18 chapters, Sachs builds his case carefully, offering a variety of case studies, detailing small-scale projects that have worked and crunching large amounts of data. His basic argument is that "[W]hen the preconditions of basic infrastructure (roads, power, and ports) and human capital (health and education) are in place, markets are powerful engines of development." In order to tread "the path to peace and prosperity," Sachs believes it is encumbant upon successful market economies to bring the few areas of the world that still need help onto "the ladder of development." Writing in a straightfoward but engaging first person, Sachs keeps his tone even whether discussing failed states or thriving ones. For the many who will buy this book but, perhaps, not make it all the way through, chapters 12 through 14 contain the blueprint for Sachs's solution to poverty, with the final four making a rigorous case for why rich countries (and individuals) should collectively undertake it--and why it is affordable for them to do so. If there is any one work to put extreme poverty back onto the global agenda, this is it. (Mar. 21)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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As I read through the book I found myself agreeing, nodding my head at parts, but then a growing frustration began to build as I kept reading, feeling as though he were leaving out some crucial detail. Perhaps it's because Sachs is mainly an economist (the book's subtitle is, after all, 'Economic possibilities for our time'), but I felt that the over reliance on charts, statistics and numbers left a gaping hole in the discussion of the effects of these aid packages on the ground. He talks about Bolivia, China, Russia, and India as developing nations and implementing free market policies and establishing things such as Free Trading Zones (areas where companies are exempt from national laws and taxes), but hardly goes into the effects of these on a population. Sachs main error is that he constantly charts the progress of a nation simply by its economic output, or GDP. But are the people happy? Is the culture flourishing? Are they working hard, producing money yes, but being exploited?
I became more and more frustrated and alienated from Sachs book as I read and the human aspect of the book became further and further out of reach.Read more ›
The book does a great job of summarizing most of my four year international development degree, from discussions of absolute versus relative poverty, to the best way to address the issues of environment, health, education and livelihoods in the developing world. And Sachs does it in a way that makes development concepts accessible: he looks at development as a ladder, and those facing extreme poverty have not been able to get their feet on even the first rung. Thus, the requirements of aid can be seen as inputs to help that group reach the bottom of the ladder and begin to work their way up. He also brings down the issues to a single number: $75billion dollars a year until 2025, at which point he believes that all human kind could be on the development ladder and extreme poverty would be eliminated. Hence, the End of Poverty!
Situated, as he is, in the heart of American development politics and economics, Sachs was also able to do a good job of explaining the successes and deficiencies of his country's aid contributions. Like the discussion in the previous post, this has helped to give me a more detailed view of America's role in the development world, which I find really interesting. He called on a number of American thinkers and activists to give power to his arguments for the potential of the end of extreme poverty.Read more ›
in the economically less developed countries. Sachs has been on the ground, looked, studied and talked to people
he writes about.He is not scared to wade into scary topics such as corruption and dictatorships. In addition he is
academically "respectable" and appears in many places such as the Scientific Anerican while running a kind of think tank at Columbia University.My only complaint is, that he could have used some editing, and thus made the book a
little shorter and easier to digest.
Most recent customer reviews
Needed it for a class. Good insight concerning development issues, good quality and was delivered to my house the next day through regular shipping!Published on Feb. 16 2012 by Lu
Absolutely one of the best books I have read, and economics is not my preferred subject. Readable, engaging, realistic and compassionate, Sachs is a social activist with both feet... Read morePublished on April 22 2007 by Dark Seraphim
Economics is not exactly what I would consider a sexy subject to read about but I was hooked from the first sentence. Read morePublished on June 20 2006 by Carolyn Gardner
Prof. Sachs has some fix set of ideas and wants to apply them globally. And this book shows it. My feeling is that it has little new insight. Read morePublished on June 9 2006 by china-life 20 years
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