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Based on his 25 years of experience, Polak explodes what he calls the "Three Great Poverty Eradication Myths": that we can donate people out of poverty, that national economic growth will end poverty, and that Big Business, operating as it does now, will end poverty. Polak shows that programs based on these ideas have utterly failed—in fact, in sub-Saharan Africa poverty rates have actually gone up.
These failed top-down efforts contrast sharply with the grassroots approach Polak and IDE have championed: helping the dollar-a-day poor earn more money through their own efforts. Amazingly enough, unexploited market opportunities do exist for the desperately poor. Polak describes how he and others have identified these opportunities and have developed innovative, low-cost tools that have helped in lifting 17 million people out of poverty.
Posted December 5, 2009
Very helpful book from a dedicated practitioner to reducing $1/day rural poverty in developing countries.
A few highlights...
Poor people are poor because they don't have enough money
Kind of obvious . it's what the poor tell you when you ask them . but Polak argues that the "poverty experts" have much more complicated answers which is why they are so often distracted from actually helping the poor become not poor. Poverty experts argue that the poor are poor because (a) they don't have power; (b) they are uneducated; (c) they get sick/disease too often; (d) they need clean water; (e) they need better seeds/fertilizer (or no fertilizer); etc. etc. etc. and the granddaddy of all . they need ALL of these things before they can have any hope of moving out of poverty. Polak argues that "finding a practical solution requires a different strategy . finding the simplest single 'lever' capable of producing the biggest positive result." The answer is - increasing income.
#1 Way for Small Farmers to Earn More Money
Polak believes that growing high-value vegetables, fruits and herbs as a cash crop during the dry season using drip irrigation is the #1 opportunity for small one-acre farmers (and even "landless" people) to earn upwards of $500/year which is enough to start them on the positive cycle towards getting out of < $1/day poverty. IDE has focused R&D on building a drip and sprinkler irrigation products affordable and sturdy enough for these farmers. Combining this with their affordable treadle pumps and a few other inventions to assist with water movement and storage, provides a scalable, practical solution.
See my full review: http://bit.ly/6GLQlq
Posted December 10, 2008
Free-market advocate Paul Polak is an atypical poverty expert. He compellingly argues that handouts do not alleviate poverty and might make it worse. Instead, he insists, the true solution to poverty lies in unleashing the poor¿s entrepreneurial power. Polak says successful entrepreneurs like him are the ones who can help the poor make more money. His company designs cheap water pumps and irrigation systems that sell for a profit while helping subsistence farmers make more money. Although he frequently repeats the same points, Polak¿s treatise is a lively read. getAbstract recommends Polak¿s point of view to readers who seek a contrary ¿ and practical ¿ perspective on the problem of global poverty.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 4, 2008
I just finished this wonderful book, and feel inspired to start my own small scale project in my own neighborhood in a way I know can really help. This book really shows how any of us can help make a difference.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 13, 2010
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Posted January 25, 2010
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