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The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time Paperback – February 28, 2006
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Despite some crushing statistics, The End of Poverty is a hopeful book. Based on a tremendous amount of data and his own experiences working as an economic advisor to the UN and several individual nations, Sachs makes a strong moral, economic, and political case for why countries and individuals should battle poverty with the same commitment and focus normally reserved for waging war. This important book not only makes the end of poverty seem realistic, but in the best interest of everyone on the planet, rich and poor alike. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Top Customer Reviews
I know of no better book for understanding the current state of the world. In several brilliant
Chapters, Sachs takes us through the hyperinflation of Bolivia, the post Cold War transition to market economies in Poland, Russia, India and China, and the struggles for existence in Sub Saharan Africa. All these are put into context of International Relations, Economics and Politics, and personified through Sachs' description of his own role in these happenings. It's a tour de force.
The weaknesses here are the complete absence of the Middle East, and Sachs' all-too-human tendency to portray himself as the epicenter of the events he describes, convincing Polish politicians to accept responsibility, and leading the fight against hyper inflation in Bolivia. But his involvement has not necessarily been as influential or beneficial as he portrays it: Bolivia, at least, can hardly be called a success story; Even though Sachs praises both its leaders and its policies, Bolivia is still not up to its 1980 level of GDP per Capita (p. 108).
As a primer on development economics, "The End of Poverty" is a more of a mixed bag. At best, it offers powerful insights, particularly about the importance of Geography to economic development.Read more ›
Sachs tries to provide some context. He seems to have personally saved first Bolivia (Chapter 5), then Poland (Chapter 6), then Russia (Chapter 7), then China (Chapter 8), and then India (Chapter 9), not from poverty, but from the mistakes of (American) foreign policy, greedy bankers, and the IMF. He always seems to get it right and they're wrong. He decries their solutions in favor of his own: demand debt forgiveness.
Then Sachs shifts into using his economic, statistical, and networking skills to propose solutions to eradicate poverty. His fundamental argument is that the rich countries need to give more money to the poor countries, and he seems pretty angry about the lack of compassion, especially from the United States, for the world's poor. Perhaps Sachs could start with his home institution, Harvard. This university has an almost egregious endowment in excess of $22 billion, pays its top fund manager $50 million a year, and employs Andrei Shleifer who "was discovered by the U.S. government to be making personal investments in Russia at the same time that he was on a U.S. government contract to advise the Russian leadership on privatization." (p. 144) This privatization effort, as Sachs reports, sold $100 billion in assets for $1 billion. Sachs thinks that we should then forgive the Russian government its debts.Read more ›
The Plan itself, while mostly fascinating to read (with patches of exhausting technical detail), has its challenges. The biggest problem is that, while the investments he outlines will theoretically jump-start growth, it has never been tested, and the West has a long history of failed development ideas. Among other more technical points, Sachs either underestimates the inefficiencies in the aid agencies and in governments, or he overestimates the ease of overcoming them.
But the plan (and how to pay for it) makes up only four out of eighteen chapters. Here is what else awaits you: a brief economic history of the world and characterization of the rich-poor divides in the world today (chapters 1 and 2), a primer on growth economics (chapter 3), Sachs's prescription for how development economics should be practiced (chapter 4), tales of Sachs's very high level consulting in Bolivia, Poland, and Russia (chapters 5 through 7), economic histories of India and China (chapters 8 and 9), an overview of the economic and health situation in Africa (chapter 10), Sachs's views on how the West should respond to terrorism (chapter 11), The Plan (and how to pay for it (chapters 12 through 15), dispelling myths about why aid doesn't work (chapter 16), and the pep talk (chapters 17 and 18). The book can largely be read piecemeal. I particularly enjoyed chapters 1, 5 through 9, and 16.
One wearisome feature is the self-promotion. Sachs is the center of everything good that happens in this book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked it but was disappointed his theory assumes aid is the only way to develop Africa, when the country to country aid model has actually made Africa poorer over the last 50... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Purchased for an international development class, very interesting readPublished 2 months ago by romancereader
I'm Engineer by training. I always ask myself as a person what should I contribute to reduce and further eradicate poverty at least children and mothers should not die due luck of... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tadesse Hailu
A very insightful read. Highly recommend it. Although a bit biased, keep your eyes open to various arguments on the development end. no issue with buyer, the book came on time. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Fantastic read! I bought for a college elective class and absolutely loved the critical thinking spurred by this book. Highly recommended!Published 5 months ago by heavenlywhisprz
Although Jeffrey Sachs intentions were good in writing this book, I found it extremely boring. The writing was stale and too clinical for my liking. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jamusu