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The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time Paperback – February 28, 2006
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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
"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
About 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 Wealth, The Price of Civilization, To Move the World, and The Age of Sustainable Development.
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The second is the advantage of high-density urban life for most nonfarm economic activities, especially the face-to-face demands of commerce and other parts of the service sector. Sparsely populated rural areas make good economic sense when each household needs a lot of land for farm production. But they make little sense when people are engaged mainly in manufacturing, finance, commerce, and the like. Once the labor force is no longer engaged mainly in food production, it is natural that the bulk of the population will relocate to cities, drawn by higher wages that in turn reflect the higher productivity of work in densely settled urban areas.
Modern economic growth has also produced a revolution in social mobility. Established social rankings-such as the fixed hierarchical divisions between peasants and gentry, or within the Indian caste structure, or in the social orders of nobility, priests, merchants, and farmers that characterized many traditional Asian societies-all unravel under the forces of market-based modern economic growth.
Fixed social orders depend on a static and largely agrarian economic setting where little changes in living standards or technologies from one generation to the next. They cannot withstand the sudden and dramatic bursts of technological change that occur during modern economic growth, in which occupations and social roles shift dramatically from one generation to the next, rather than being inherited by sons from fathers and daughters from mothers.
When Sachs focuses on development theory, specifically why we need more aid, he truly shines. The developed world needs to cancel debt and institute drastically more aid (which would still only be .7% GNP).
Where Sachs fails is his distorted sense of history. Sachs' chapters on Bolivia, Poland, China, India, and Russia all omit VERY important facts and in some cases downright lie. Sachs sprinkles the book with quotes by Keynes but make no mistake: his policy prescriptions are straight from Milton Friedman. The affect of his policies were a disaster in Bolivia, Poland, and especially Russia (Read Naomi Klein's: The Shock Doctrine). Many development economists would strongly disagree with Sachs on the causes of success in India and China. Sachs views them as successful due solely to liberalization. That is at best misleading and at times wrong.
Sachs goes throughout the books saying how he has continually proved the critics wrong. In nearly every chapter he talks about how men opposed his ideas and how history has proved that he was correct. In reality, to a large degree, this has not happened.
Read 'The End of Poverty' but take it with a grain of salt.
The keys identified by Sachs include infrastructure investment, education, free trade and focused resources. Sounds like a common sense approach to me. The translation of poverty to warfare and insecurity is a powerful one - and a fraction of military spending diverted here could go a long way to solving security AND economic issues.