End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time

End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time

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ISBN-13: 9780143143048
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 03/13/2008
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 11
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 5.78(h) x 1.58(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. From 2002 to 2006, he was Director of the UN Millennium Project and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed goals to reduce extreme poverty, disease, and hunger by the year 2015. Sachs is also President and Co-Founder of Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization aimed at ending extreme global poverty.

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…;

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The End of Poverty"
by .
Copyright © 2006 Jeffrey D. Sachs.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

 

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"Jeffrey Sachs is that rare phenomenon: an academic economist famous for his theories about why some countries are poor and others rich, and also famous for his successful practical work in helping poor countries become richer. In this long awaited, fascinating, clearly and movingly written book, he distills his experience to propose answers to the hard choices now facing the world." ?Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse

 

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He has been cited by The New York Times Magazine as "probably the most important economist in the world" and by Time as "the world's best-known economist." He has advised an extraordinary range of world leaders and international institutions on the full range of issues related to creating economic success and reducing the world's poverty and misery. Now, at last, he draws on his entire twenty-five-year body of experience to offer a thrilling and inspiring big-picture vision of the keys to economic success in the world today and the steps that are necessary to achieve prosperity for all.

Marrying vivid eyewitness storytelling to his laserlike analysis, Jeffrey Sachs sets the stage by drawing a vivid conceptual map of the world economy and the different categories into which countries fall. Then, in a tour de force of elegance and compression, he explains why, over the past two hundred years, wealth has diverged across the planet in the manner that it has and why the poorest nations have been so markedly unable to escape the cruel vortex of poverty. The groundwork laid, he explains his methods for arriving, like a clinical internist, at a holistic diagnosis of a country's situation and the options it faces. Rather than deliver a worldview to readers from on high, Sachs leads them along the learning path he himself followed, telling the remarkable stories of his own work in Bolivia, Poland, Russia, India, China, and Africa as a way to bring readers to a broad-based understanding of the array of issues countries can face and the way the issues interrelate. He concludes by drawing on everything he has learned to offer an integrated set of solutions to the interwoven economic, political, environmental, and social problems that most frequently hold societies back. In the end, he leaves readers with an understanding, not of how daunting the world's problems are, but how solvable they are-and why making the effort is a matter both of moral obligation and strategic self-interest. A work of profound moral and intellectual vision that grows out of unprecedented real-world experience, The End of Poverty is a road map to a safer, more prosperous future for the world.

On the web: http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/endofpoverty/

 

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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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Acknowledgements   ix

Foreword by Bono   xv

Introduction   1

  1. Global Family Portrait   5

  2. The Spread of Economic Prosperity   26

  3. Why Some Countries Fail to Thrive   51

  4. Clinical Economics   74

  5. Bolivia's High-Altitude Hyperinflation   90

  6. Poland's Return to Europe   109

  7. Reaping the Whirlwind: Russia's Struggle for Normalcy   131

  8. China: Catching Up After Half a Millenium   148

  9. India's Market Reforms: The Triumph of Hope Over Fear   170

  10. The Voiceless Dying: Africa and Disease   188

  11. The Millennium, 9/11, and the United Nations   210

  12. On-the-Ground Solutions for Ending Poverty   226

  13. Making the Investments Needed to End Poverty   244

  14. A Global Compact to End Poverty   266

  15. Can the Rich Afford to Help the Poor?   288

  16. Myths and Magic Bullets   309

  17. Why We Should Do It   329

  18. Our Generation's Challenge   347

Works Cited   369

Further Reading   372

Notes   376

Index   385

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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End of Poverty 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 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.'
Yiggy on LibraryThing 28 days ago
This work begins by recounting the history of extreme proverty and by elucidating the current state of poverty in our world today. Sachs then goes on to outline a method for eliminating this situation, and takes the reader through several case studies of different countries grippling with poverty on their own terms. Endorsing a method of differential diagnosis to carefully assay the needs and failures of each country, Sachs shows the kind of approach he has in mind and how he has augmented this approach with lessons from his past. Sachs's message is inspiring, but the caveat is in the book title. Economic possibilities of our time remain just that, possibilities, unless there is a groundswell of support for the ideas outlined in his book. Personally I felt his arguments were pretty solid, and clearly many nations are not doing their part, creditors and debtors alike. However it remains to be seen whether or not these plans reach fruition. I hope they do. Maybe more people reading this book will help speed that along, because even if you don't agree with Sachs solution his book will definitely convince you that extreme poverty is an issue that affects us and is highly deserving of our attention. Then, finally, we can all sit down and hammer out an answer.
stefano on LibraryThing 28 days ago
I was rather disappointed by this book. In a nutshell you wouldn't learn from it anything you wouldn't already know from reading the Economist or the Financial Times. The level of the analysis seems rather shallow (possibly due to the author's legitimate objective of reaching a wide audience) when analysis is not completely replaced by anecdotes that (in my opinion rather irritatingly) paint Sachs himself as a Forrest-Gump-like character that pops up at every economically significant recent historical event. The only points that I found informative are: 1) how little Western countries actually devote to official development assistance and how manipulative they are in presenting their efforts as much more substantial than Sachs claim they are. 2) how the confidence that (self styled) statesmen often have on the 'political impossibility' or certain courses of action is often quite misguided.
johnthefireman on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This is a very good thought-provoking book by an economic expert. Much of his analysis is excellent, and I particularly like the way he dispels many of the myths about poverty, particularly in Africa. I'm not so sure about his conclusions, though. He believes that poverty can be alleviated within the existing capitalist free market economic system. Many in the world would suggest that capitalism has failed the poor and we need some new creative thinking.
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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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