The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time

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by Jeffrey D. Sachs
     
 

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The landmark exploration of economic prosperity and how the world can escape from extreme poverty for the world's poorest citizens, from one  of the world's most renowned economists

Hailed by Time as one of the world's hundred most influential people, Jeffrey D. Sachs is renowned for his work around the globe advising

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Overview

The landmark exploration of economic prosperity and how the world can escape from extreme poverty for the world's poorest citizens, from one  of the world's most renowned economists

Hailed by Time as one of the world's hundred most influential people, Jeffrey D. Sachs is renowned for his work around the globe advising economies in crisis. Now a classic of its genre, The End of Poverty distills more than thirty years of experience to offer a uniquely informed vision of the steps that can transform impoverished countries into prosperous ones. Marrying vivid storytelling with rigorous analysis, Sachs lays out a clear conceptual map of the world economy. Explaining his own work in Bolivia, Russia, India, China, and Africa, he offers an integrated set of solutions to the interwoven economic, political, environmental, and social problems that challenge the world's poorest countries.
 
Ten years after its initial publication, The End of Poverty remains an indispensible and influential work. In this 10th anniversary edition, Sachs presents an extensive new foreword assessing the progress of the past decade, the work that remains to be done, and how each of us can help. He also looks ahead across the next fifteen years to 2030, the United Nations' target date for ending extreme poverty, offering new insights and recommendations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Book and man are brilliant, passionate, optimistic and impatient... Outstanding." —The Economist

"If there is any one work to put extreme poverty back onto the global agenda, this is it." ——Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Paul Wolfowitz should read Jeffrey Sachs’s compelling new book." —Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek

“Professor Sachs has provided a compelling blueprint for eliminating extreme poverty from the world by 2025. Sachs’s analysis and proposals are suffused with all the practical experience of his twenty years in the field—working in dozens of countries across the globe to foster economic development and well-being.” —George Soros, financier and philanthropist

"Sachs proposes a many-pronged, needs-based attack...that is eminently practical and minimally pipe-dreamy...A solid, reasonable argument in which the dismal science offers a brightening prospect for the world's poor." —Kirkus 

"This is an excellent, understandable book on a critical topic and should be required reading for students and participants in public policy as well as those who doubt the problem of world poverty can be solved." —Mary Whaley, Booklist

Time magazine called him "the world's best-known economist" and The New York Times Magazine singled him out as "probably the most important economist in the world"; but Jeffrey Sachs wins our support for his lucid, elegant explanations of emerging trends in wealth and poverty. The End of Poverty, the culmination of 25 years of research, addresses the most pressing economic issues confronting world leaders. He describes disturbingly divergent patterns in international development and explains how problems can be solved in this age of extremes. A prescription for world economic health.
Leon Wieseltier
This is a serious book by a serious man.... He is especially stirring about the desperation of Africa.
The New Republic
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 2005 Reed Business Information.
Foreign Affairs
This unusual book is part autobiographical odyssey of Sachs' consulting with countries in crisis, part passionate yet reasoned program to eliminate extreme poverty. Sachs began his crisis consulting in Bolivia in the mid-1980s and went on to work with Poland in 1989, Russia in 1992 and 1993, and countless other countries since. These experiences gave the scholarly Sachs on-the-ground experience and brought him into occasional confrontation with the IMF, the doctrine of which he considered poorly suited to the actual problems at hand. The main thrust of his book, however, builds on his time in sub-Saharan Africa, where he has seen extreme poverty, malnutrition, and disease on a scale not previously encountered and been appalled by the meager efforts of the international community to help Africans out of the poverty trap. The last third of the book, accordingly, makes the case for a globally coordinated and well-funded program — emphasizing practical improvements in health, education, and infrastructure — to eliminate extreme poverty by 2025 (a logical extension of the UN's Millennium Development Goals, which aim to halve extreme poverty by 2015). The proposal is bold, ambitious, and worthy. Sachs pays too little attention, however, to obstacles created by civil disorder, which plagues dozens of poor countries, especially in Africa.
Library Journal
Economist and UN Special Advisor Sachs convincingly proposes a means to ending extreme poverty (defined here as a per capita income of less than $1 per day-a standard one-fifth of the world's population meets) by 2025. He presents a carefully constructed plan for improving local infrastructure, education, healthcare, technology, and other such needs in poor countries, all for a mere annual cost of .7 percent of the world's wealthiest nations' incomes. In this way, he argues, long-term sustainable economic development can be fostered. Sachs is no bleeding-heart liberal-he sees Third World sweatshops as opportunities to improve on even more egregious conditions and prescribes for poor nations a program of free-enterprise capitalism once the basic groundwork of his proposal has been laid. What's more, he claims that extreme poverty is already being eliminated through investment, trade, and free enterprise in countries such as China, India, and Bangladesh. It is in the self-interest of wealthy nations, Sachs insists, to end extreme poverty, as such action would expand the world economy while eliminating the breeding grounds for disease, civil unrest, and terrorism. This informative and impassioned work is highly recommended for all libraries.-Lawrence R. Maxted, Gannon Univ., Erie, PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Must the poor be with us always? Probably. But there are degrees of have-notness, and, argues UN special advisor Sachs, "extreme poverty can be ended not in the time of our grandchildren, but in our time."The poor, even the one billion poorest of them, are not necessarily fated to be so. In early modern times, much of the world lived at much the same economic level, which explains why European explorers could have been impressed by the sumptuousness of places such as Timbuktu and Tenochtitlan. But after 1800, writes Sachs, "both population and per capita income came unstuck, soaring at rates never before seen or even imagined." The West outstripped the rest of the world over the space of the next 200 years, creating a vast gulf between rich and poor nations, the product of uneven patterns of growth that have many causes. Some of them are social and political; it is difficult, for instance, to foster growth when corrupt officials skim the cream, ethnic hatreds mark one group or another as outcast, and people reproduce too quickly. Some of them are also geographic; farming on exhausted soil and mining tailings are recipes for disaster. ("Americans," Sachs exhorts, "forget that they inherited a vast continent rich in natural resources.") Taking issue with international-development economists concerned mostly with capital and credit formation, Sachs urges an account of poverty that takes a multifaceted view of the kinds of capital the poor lack (health, nutrition, infrastructure, biodiversity, an impartial judiciary, access to knowledge, and so forth). While agreeing with those economists that private initiatives are generally more effective than state programs, Sachs also proposes amany-pronged, needs-based attack on the worst extremes of poverty that requires, yes, the rich to help the poor, but that is eminently practical and minimally pipe-dreamy-and that, he notes in passing, would help restore the reputation of the US and the usefulness of the UN in the world. A solid, reasonable argument in which the dismal science offers a brightening prospect for the world's poor.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143036586
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/28/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
209,718
Product dimensions:
5.47(w) x 8.44(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

The path from poverty to development has come incredibly fast in the span of human history. Two hundred years ago, the idea that we could potentially achieve the end of poverty would have been unimaginable. Just about everybody was poor with the exception of a very small minority of royals and landed gentry. Life was as difficult in much of Europe as it was in India or China. With very few exceptions, your great-great-grandparents were poor and most likely living on the farm. One leading economic historian, Angus Maddison, puts the average income per person in Western Europe in 1820 at around 90 percent of the average income of sub-Saharan Africa today. Life expectancy in Western Europe and Japan as of 1800 was probably about forty years.

There was little sense a few centuries ago of vast divides in wealth and poverty around the world. China, India, Europe, and Japan all had similar income levels at the time of European discoveries of the sea routes to Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Marco Polo, of course, marveled at the sumptuous wonders of China, not at its poverty. Cortés and his conquistadores expressed astonishment at the riches of Tenochtitlán, the capital of the Aztecs. The early Portuguese explorers in Africa were impressed with the well-ordered towns in West Africa.

Until the mid-1700s, the world was remarkably poor by any of today’s standards. Life expectancy was extremely low; children died in vast numbers in the now rich countries as well as the poor countries. Disease and epidemics, not just the black death of Europe, but many waves of disease, from smallpox and measles to other epidemics, regularly washed through society and killed mass numbers of people. Episodes of hunger and extreme weather and climate fluctuations sent societies crashing. The rise and fall of the Roman Empire, for Arnold Toynbee, was much like the rise and decline of all other civilizations before and since. Economic history had long been one of ups and downs, growth followed by decline, rather than sustained economic progress.

The Novelty of Modern Economic Growth

If we are to understand why vast gaps between rich and poor exist today, we need therefore to understand a very recent period of human history during which these vast gaps opened. The past two centuries, since around 1800, constitute a unique era in economic history, a period that the great economic historian Simon Kuznets famously termed the period of Modern Economic Growth, or MEG for short. Before the era of MEG, indeed for thousands of years, there had been virtually no sustained economic growth in the world and only gradual increases in the human population…;

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Book and man are brilliant, passionate, optimistic and impatient... Outstanding." —The Economist

"If there is any one work to put extreme poverty back onto the global agenda, this is it." ——Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Paul Wolfowitz should read Jeffrey Sachs’s compelling new book." —Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek

“Professor Sachs has provided a compelling blueprint for eliminating extreme poverty from the world by 2025. Sachs’s analysis and proposals are suffused with all the practical experience of his twenty years in the field—working in dozens of countries across the globe to foster economic development and well-being.” —George Soros, financier and philanthropist

"Sachs proposes a many-pronged, needs-based attack...that is eminently practical and minimally pipe-dreamy...A solid, reasonable argument in which the dismal science offers a brightening prospect for the world's poor." —Kirkus

"This is an excellent, understandable book on a critical topic and should be required reading for students and participants in public policy as well as those who doubt the problem of world poverty can be solved." —Mary Whaley, Booklist

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Meet the Author

Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, as well as Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development and Health Policy and Management. He is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals. He has twice been named among Time Magazine's 100 most influential world leaders. He was called by the New York Times, "probably the most important economist in the world," and by Time Magazine "the world's best known economist." A recent survey by The Economist ranked Sachs as among the world's three most influential living economists of the past decade. His other books include Common WealthThe Price of CivilizationTo Move the World, and The Age of Sustainable Development.

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End of Poverty 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Way too optimistic, reviving outdated theories of the '50s and '60s (esp Rostow), forgetting all about the reality of evil, corruption, injustice, both of the rich and of (leaders of) the poor and forgetting almost all about participation, empowerment and advocacy, assuming that macro scale economics are the same at micro (village) scale. Just a small example: one of the main ideas in the book is: give villages a big push, so that they can start climbing the economic ladder. Increased economic activity leads to increased taxes which leads to increased public services, which helps increase economic activity. The first causal relation overlooks the fact that 80-90% (to sometimes 100%) of economic activities in African villages take place in the informal economy, where there are no official tax systems. The second causal relation overlooks (as said above) the fact of corruption. The example of Nigeria (enough income through oil exports, and corruption not mainly at the lower ranks but even at the very highest rank) shows that corruption is not a matter of need because of lack of money. The milleniumvillages approach is, as a friend of mine said 'thinking big inside the box'. I have not yet met people who have lived in an African village for an extended period of time (more than just a honeymoon time of 3 months) who believed Sachs' methods are workable. Is it a case of 'give it a try'? Well, you are working with people, impacting their mentality and worldview. It's not a business which if it goes bankrupt you just say 'I've tried, let's start another'. I agree though, with someone who said: Sachs is the best fundraiser of the age. he is performing well in that area.
CountDracula More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book. I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book does have some points that I disagree with but overall, it gives some specific insights into the complexities behind poverty. The traditional, 'one-approach-fits-all' approach to trying to help a country or region out of a negative financial cycle doesn't work. There are so many variables to an impoverished nation, that a clinical approach is required specific to that situation. Many books in this realm take a simple liberal approach such as 'the rich countries simply don't give enough' or 'poverty begets violence' and not the opposite in the latter case. Sachs does his honest best to be fair in my understanding of this book. Finally, his comments and assessment of the IMF are 'spot on'. The IMF, World Bank and UN are amongst the many organizations that need to reorganize and retool to be effective.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had my reservations about this book from the start. My initial resevations turned into alarm when I found out that the book was foreworded by Bono (there is always something to say about an academic's self-esteem if he turns to a music celebrity for endorsement some might argue it is a sagacious marketing ploy though but I find call it insecurity). On the first 80+ pages of the book the author provides the 2+2=4 version of economics which completely misses the audience as it seems to be too non-inclusive for the uninitiated and completely redundant in its simplicity for those with a background in economics. One important thing to remember is that Sachs didn't set out to write a cursory overview of a balanced approach to the eradication of poverty but was agenda-driven from the get-go. There are several items on his agenda: (1) advocate for external debt cancellation for ... well, basically, anyone state which wants it, (2) smear the work of the IMF in all its applications, (3) the world's poverty is, in one way or another, the developed countries' -- particularly the West's -- fault which he considers to be a debt owed to the developing ones. The rest of the book is a kaleidoscope of Sachs' personal travelog (which sometimes gets entertaining for what it is) and the continued lambasting of the West for everything that is wrong with the present economic -- and sometimes political -- situation of the developing world. In these assessments Sachs gives the reader a polarized view of world politics, a matter in which he does not cut an imagine of an astute expert. Examples of this are legion throughout the book. One thing that comes to mind is Sachs' portrayal of the Renamo as 'violent' and tacitly supported by the US and South Africa while, I presume, assuming that the USSR-bankrolled Frelimo were angels pillaged by the evil forces of the Renamo. Anyone who has studied the Mozambique conflict for half a day knows that this wasn't the case and that there is a wealth of scholarship attesting to the fact that both the Remano and the Frelimo were equally brutal and committed horrific acts of atrocity. The author, however, gives no credence to these assertions of others because they don't fit his agenda which is to smear the West and its foreign policy. Another glaring example of such misrepresentation is Sachs' reference to the African slave trade which he determines as having existed for 300 years, a totally untenable argument since it is a well-established fact that slave trade in Africa was started by Africans, not Europeans, to which Europeans were late-comers and contributed, some argue, not more than 10% to it. Slave trade in Africa continues to this day and is powered by Africans themselves. There are literally thousands of NGO reports to this effect, which Sachs chose to ignore because they don't work for his agenda. If you absolutely have to get this book, get it on audio and get it over with while on the road. Otherwise, there are plenty of quality titles on economics, history of conflict, history of international organizations and other topics that this book purports to deal with. Go with those, particularly if you are not yet in a position to tell scholarship from demagoguery. I got a tremendous kick out of this book for all the wrong reasons ¿ I merely enjoy misguided arguments too much, particularly when they come from esteemed Harvard scholars, to miss this pearl.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is really two books in one - the first part, detailing the education and experience of a developmental economist, is a fascinating retelling of Sachs' experience advising the governments of Bolivia, Poland, etc. The second part, the argument in favor of ending poverty is fascinating and impassioned but at times wrong-headed, for example, in its excessive reliance upon the corrupt and discredited United Nations, gratuitous swipes at the Bush administration, etc. On balance, an important, interesting, impassioned but somewhat flawed book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If one is interested in world development, economics, or international studies than this is the book to read. Jeff Sachs really opened my eyes and helped me to understand the world in a manner I had not previously understood.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At 50 fewer words than Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, I'd make these powerful facts from Jeffrey Sachs a memorization requirement for every student in America. These 235 words were issued by him on ABC's 'This Week,' Sunday, March 13, 2005: 'There are still about a billion people that are struggling for survival every day, extreme poverty that is so unrelenting that it means chronic hunger, it means disease, and it means early death. 'That kind of extreme poverty afflicts about one sixth of the planet. 'The amazing thing is that we live in an age of such scientific and technical know how, and in an age when prosperity is spread to so many places that we can really envision the end of extreme poverty within our generation by the year 2025. 'This can be done through the practical steps of helping the poorest of the poor to be empowered to grow more food, to be healthy, for the children to grow up with the proper education, and to have the basic means to be productive members of the world economy. 'The rich countries have said that they would give seven cents out of every $100 of their income, just that little amount, 0.7 percent, seven cents out of $100, to the poorest places on the planet to help them grow more food, have safe drinking water, have the children in school, be able to fight the diseases like AIDS, TB, and malaria. If we do that, we will succeed. 'We haven't done it yet. I think we will do it because it really is the bargain of the planet. It's the bargain of the century.'
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Very coool
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Willp More than 1 year ago
Jeffrey Sachs is special adviser on the UN's Millennium Development Goals to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. The Goals are to halve extreme poverty by 2015 and end it by 2025. Sachs points out that $27 billion a year could save eight million lives. Three million people die every year of malaria, which is preventable and treatable. He recounts his work in Bolivia, Poland, Russia, China, India and Africa. He notes, "today's development economics is like eighteenth century medicine." He attacks the IMF, writing, "The main IMF prescription has been budgetary belt tightening for patients much too poor to own belts." It still always says, "cut welfare spending, privatise, liberalise, pay your debts". In the 1990s, the IMF (and the EU) refused to reschedule Yugoslavia's debts, pushing it into chaos and war. The G7 hurt Russia by opposing support for the rouble, aid for the poorest, and debt cancellation. The G7 backed what Sachs calls 'the massive theft of state assets under the rubric of privatization', 'selling' $100 billion of Russia's oil, gas and other resources for just $1 billion. Sachs argues for the public sector to provide health services (particularly anti-malarial bed nets, vaccines, contraceptives, antiretroviral medicines and oral rehydration therapies), education, railways, water and sanitation, and for public controls to prevent overfishing, pollution, logging and deforestation. He argues strongly against privatisation and against 'social marketing', i.e. charging user fees for health, education, water and sanitation. He urges cancelling the debts of highly indebted poor countries and strengthening the UN. He observes that the world's nations could easily reach the Millennium Development Goals - if the rich countries paid the aid, 0.7 per cent of their GNP, that they have been promising for 35 years. So why are his good and humane policies not being applied? What stands in the way? The money is there. $3 trillion went on the Iraq war. $50 billion a year went on Bush's tax cuts for the USA's super-rich - more than enough to pay the US share of reaching the Goals. (Sachs, absurdly, writes, "the reason for this dramatic shift toward the rich is not really known.") He writes, "There is nothing in economic reasoning to justify letting the companies themselves set the rules of the game through lobbying, campaign financing, and dominance of government policies." No, but this is what they do: capitalist states act in capitalism's interests; economics is not separate from politics. We must face facts - the block on reaching the Goals is what another economist called the furies of private interest, the greed of the capitalist class. Sachs admits that opposition comes from 'the political bosses in the United States and Europe', but he ignores the opposition from the employing class. The fatal flaw in his programme is his belief that the Goals can be reached while living with capitalism. We will never reach the Goals, until we stop capitalism misruling us all.
KDubbz More than 1 year ago
The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time by Jeffrey D. Sachs is an amazing award-winning economic piece of literature. By using such heart-wrenching examples such as the poverty stricken youth in areas such as Russia and Bolivia. By using strong world examples to convey normally boring economic facts, Sachs uses a common writing device to educate the masses. With plentiful usage of charts, diagrams, and textual examples, Sachs clearly brings his points across, leaving not much room for inference. By sticking to his topic despite the many stories he tells, Sachs shows that even economics can make for an interesting read.
LauraReviews More than 1 year ago
We all know poverty is a problem, but for those of us who live in privileged societies, we often forget it about it, it doesn't hit close enough to home. We feel bad that poverty exists, but it is not necessarily our personal problem. Sachs challenges our complacency on so many levels that there's no way we can ignore reality. He hits us not only with compelling statistics but with real-world here and now solutions. Sachs posits that solving extreme poverty is not about creating lofty academic governance models but about investing in the basics - water, sanitation, disease control. And he shows us that the cost of doing so is not as daunting as we might think. If you're into reading about ways we can individually help povery and other social problems, you'll want to read this.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
In Jeffrey Sach¿s bestseller The End of Poverty, he gives his own plans away about ending extreme poverty with a little bit of the world¿s help. He explains the economic situations the world, and what exactly we can all do to pitch in and help those who are less fortunate by far. The story actually starts off by comparing different countries economic status, from rich too poor, and then escalates into a source for information on Jeffrey¿s plan to achieve global satisfaction. In conclusion Jeffrey¿s plan would end extreme poverty worldwide by the year 2025. What I found most intriguing about the story is that most poor countries have received a lot more help than expected. Even though Sub-Saharan numbers of extreme poverty have doubled, the birth rate is very high. Most surprisingly, Eastern Asia had the biggest number of extreme poor in 1981 and has dropped from 800 million to less than 300 million, lower than the total of sub-Saharan numbers in 1981. From my perspectives, I have great hopes for the world to come and I think that Jeffrey¿s plan was well though and should make a break for the world¿s poverty. Who knows, maybe we can achieve contentment internationally sooner than we think.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book takes you on a journey through the early developments of economic success and the current status of many of the impoverished nations. The various countries that Sachs focuses on and analyzes helps to create a visual understanding of his concept of the 'economic ladder'. While ending extreme poverty isn't the easiest idea to grasp, Sachs does offer various ideas and goals to help ensure this possibility. This book clearly shows a wide spectrum and demonstrates how an analysis of a particular economic problem is key to providing a solution to it. I highly recommend this book to all, whether it be someone who has a a small interest, or well informed economist.