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In the River They Swim: Essays from Around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty

Overview

The sociologist Thomas Sowell writes, "We need to confront the most blatant fact that has persisted across centuries of social history—vast ddifferences in productivity among peoples, and the economic and other consequences of such differences." Poverty demeans dignity, shrinks the soul, wastes potential, and inflicts suffering on three billion people on our planet. We must also acknowledge that, during the past fifty yyears, the record in international assistance to the least developed countries has been ...

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In the River They Swim: Essays from Around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty

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Overview

The sociologist Thomas Sowell writes, "We need to confront the most blatant fact that has persisted across centuries of social history—vast ddifferences in productivity among peoples, and the economic and other consequences of such differences." Poverty demeans dignity, shrinks the soul, wastes potential, and inflicts suffering on three billion people on our planet. We must also acknowledge that, during the past fifty yyears, the record in international assistance to the least developed countries has been disappointing; the economics-based abstractions developed in the think tanks of Europe and North America are insufficient.

In the River They Swim is the antithesis to that search for solutions the next big theory of global poverty. From the fresh perspective of advisors on the frontlines of development to the insight of leaders like President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Pastor Rick Warren, it tells the story of change in the microcosms of emerging businesses, industries, and governments. These essays display a personal nature to their work that rigorous analysis alone cannot explain.

We learn that a Sufi master can teach us about the different levels of knowledge, the "different ways to know a river." These practitioners could have written about its length, its source, its depth, its width, the power of its current, and the life it contains. They could have invested time and money to travel to that river so that they could sit on its shores and look at it, feel the sand that borders it, and watch the birds at play over it. Instead, they dove in to swim in the river, felt its current along their bodies, and tasted something of it. They wondered, briefly, if they had the strength to swim its length, and now they share the answer.

If human development is a river, the authors in this volume, and perhaps some readers, will no longer be satisfied to stand along its banks.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

The poor you will always have with you, says Jesus Christ in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew. In God Knows, Holman (academic research writer & editor, Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Ctr. for Health & Human Rights, Harvard Sch. of Public Health; The Hungry Are Dying) surveys how Christians have historically responded to poverty and discloses her own journey to awareness. The result: a unique fusion of memoir and research. Holman filters each example of Christian reactions to human need and social welfare through three paradigms: sensing need, sharing the world, and embodying the sacred kingdom. Holman's historical analysis of ancient writers (e.g., Gregory of Nazianzus, John Chrysostom) will prove to be didactic for 21st-century social activism and ecumenical approaches to addressing poverty. It will find its appropriate home with students of religion, theology, and social work.

In the River They Swim also addresses the Gordian knot of poverty and features a foreword by Rick Warren, who reminds readers of this sober truth: three billion people live in poverty. Government handouts are not the answer; instead, the "enterprise solutions" offered in these essays are empowering, for they provide knowledge, training, and opportunities for the poor. Contributors speak a combined 20 languages, and they include Rwandan president Paul Kagama, American Express VP David Rabkin, and Malik Fal, who heads Microsoft's Business Marketing and Operations Group, which spans 49 African countries. Contributors share their personal journeys of working in abject conditions, along with their tribulations and successes in implementing enterprise solutions to poverty. In short, thiswork is a global and holistic approach to a perennial problem, and the message is clarion clear: governments, businesses, and churches must align, collaborate, and innovate to combat destitution. Overall, this eclectic and challenging title is recommended for both students and lay readers.
—C. Brian Smith

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599472515
  • Publisher: Templeton Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,429,894
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Marcela Escobari-Rose is executive director of Harvard’s Center for International Development.

Michael Fairbanks is a cofounder of SEVEN and the OTF Group and coauthor of Plowing the Sea: Nurturing the Hidden Sources of Growth in Developing Nations.

Malik Fal leads Microsoft’s Business Marketing and Operations Group covering forty-nine African countries.

Elizabeth Hooper is executive director of SEVEN.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Intellectually Stimulating Essays that Examine Global Poverty Causes and Solutions.

    "In The River They Swim" has definitely opened my eyes and my mind. This book is a great compilation of essays from credible writers who tell of their stories and inspiration to end global poverty through business/enterprise solutions. This is a smart book that is well written and resembles the problems that are very present and relevant in today's world. The authors choice to fabricate a book based on a variety of essays was bold and an inventive way to disseminate the thoughts and opinions of individuals who fight everyday to end poverty on a global scale.

    The book is leaking with intellectual stimulation, providing the essence of conventional wisdom that furnishes an array of insight into the minds of its writers. Each writer examines the issues of global competition and what can be done to decrease its negative impact on the people of developing countries and/or nations. As you will learn the solutions to a variety of these problems are based on not one, but an array of solutions stemming from economic theory, business strategies and the formulation of emerging governments.

    Thomas Sowell puts it best, "We need to confront the most blatant fact that has persisted across centuries of social history--vast differences in productivity among peoples, and the economic and other consequences of such differences." (pg. 1). Global politics is an extremely complicated environment and hinders the develop of some people. It's devastatingly hard work to reform such a system that has been bruised from birth.

    "In The River They Swim" is an extensive collection of genuine stories based on personal life experiences and potential solutions to end global poverty. You cannot truly fully begin to appreciate and be fully knowledgeable unless you have experienced these problems first hand. Just like the river, you need to dive in and surround yourself with this punctured environment in order to make a change.

    I encourage everyone to read this book. You will not be disappointed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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