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The End of Poverty: How We Can Make it Happen in Our Lifetime
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on 6 November 2011
I was recommended this book from my lecturer to help with an assignment at university, I took it out on a three week loan from the library, but when I came to renew the book it had been reserved, so I later purchased it off Amazon. Very useful book with lots of information on alleviating poverty.
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on 1 July 2014
I recommend the bottom billion by Paul Collier - it is much better. I read it before reading this one and just felt like I was being told the same thing again but in a less concise way.

Probably quite informative but less interesting than other books on the topic.
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on 30 April 2012
Jeffrey Sachs has an optimist's confidence, which makes this book an encouraging read. He brings wide experience, clear argument and deep thought to the problems of poverty. Sachs makes a powerful case that there is plenty that can be done, there is hope.
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23 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2005
This is a masterly overview of the whole subject of how the world could be changed. It combines history, economics and politics to give a wide overview of how things have gone wrong. Jeff Sachs must be one of the most knowledgable economists of our time, and explains in the most compelling and readable way. It is impossible to not be moved by the many moving examples of real life stories, yet this book is full of hope. He is convinced that we can change the world, if only the will can be found. A real must-read book.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2005
overall I think it is a great book - a kind of manifesto for global social change. The majority of the book is inspiring in its perception of the problems and in presenting solutions that are well broken down and seem to be strategically possible. I enjoyed the biographical part in the beginning where he explained his experience of advising economies including Bolivia, Poland, Russia and India. I also enjoyed his refreshing approach of presenting economic problems in the context of the geographical, political and social influences. I relished Sachs's promotion of public services in education and health and I share his dislike for both the IMF structural adjustment programs of the 80s and the US's preference for bilateral trade and aid deals that tie developing countries to US companies or advisers.
There are, however, a couple of problems I have with his diagnosis and proposed solutions including his insistence on only the good parts of the green revolution ignoring the increases in the wealth-gap and his ignoring the success of non-democratic states such as South Korea in developing.
Overall the book is a great overview of the situation facing the extreme poor and a suitable plan to tackle it. Lets now all get behind the movement to MAKE POVERTY HISTORY.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2008
This book is breath-taking in scope, pulsating with captivating optimism and inspiring in its bold proposals. For Jeffrey Sachs, no mountain is too steep or too high to climb. Time and again, when this David locks horns with the Goliaths of the World Bank and the White House, he invariably emerges triumphant.

He makes it sound so amazingly easy when he recounts the systematic diagnosis, prescription and treatment that lead to the dramatic arrest of hyperinflation in Bolivia and Poland. The extended medical metaphor is neither haphazard nor purely stylistic. It reflects Sachs' recommendation of a novel approach to development economics which he sees as analogous to the challenges of a paediatrician trained to grope for answers through "differential diagnosis". Couldn't this be of interest to a country like Zimbabwe today running a four digit inflation? He then goes on to make a fascinating and onstructive overview of the reversal of economic fortunes in China and India in the 80's and 90's.

As the economic advisor to the Jubilee 2000 Campaign for the cancellation of the poorest countries' foreign debt, he provided the very powerful theoretical underpinning for the initiative. What was particularly remarkable about the movement was the way it succeeded in roping in support from across all imaginable divides: religious, ideological, political, racial, cultural and class, gaining enthusiastic ownership and invaluable sponsorship by conservative and liberal congressmen in the US, by the left and the right in Europe, including the Pope. The World Bank and the IMF were also brought on board, initially kicking and screaming sceptically, but in the end going along with fervent gusto.

Starting from a close observation of the impact of disease burden on economic development in Africa, Sachs led the very successful advocacy for US policy changes on the fight against HIV/ Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis, enlisting in the process the support of other donor countries, foundations and UN institutions and securing the support of African leaders such as President Obasanjo of Nigeria. This culminated in the setting up of the now famous and highly effective Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria in 2001. He can also claim vicarious paternity for President Bush's remarkably successful Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR).

Sachs deserves the credit for pointing out to the US government that it wasn't enough to open up its market to the products from developing countries. They would be easily kept out by the much more efficient East Asian producers unless an element of preferential access was introduced. This is what led to the drawing up of the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), an initiative which underscores the cynicism of EU's Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme purporting to open up duty free access to the European market for the poorest countries knowing all the while that they face such severe supply side constraints that the advantage is doomed to remain largely theoretical. Indeed their lot is likely to be made worse by the fact that in reciprocation for the EBA favour, they are required to grant tariff free access to EU products, thereby providing the last nail for the coffin of their nascent industries which can never hope to compete with EU imports.

Jeffrey Sachs very usefully attempts to connect his suggestions on initiatives for sustainable development to the UN's Millennium Development Goals and compellingly repeats: "This time can be different!" He has the strength of conviction and the courage to propose and launch pilot village-level actions in different parts of the world to show that what he advocates is not mere rhetoric but can actually be put to practice.

A significant weakness in his model is over-reliance on external aid. He expends considerable effort to show that many developed countries, chief among them the US, have only given lip-service to the goal of meeting the UN's Official Development Assistance target set at 0.7% of GDP. Yet he somehow hopes they can soon be made to see the light and agree to shoulder their part of the burden, without showing how to arrive at that.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 3 October 2005
Jeffrey Sachs is one of the most influential, experienced and successful development economists of our time and the relentless energy behind this book is testament to the conviction of his assertions. This book provides the most positive, pragmatic and realistic solutions for poverty reduction of any material I have ever read. I urge everyone to read this book!
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on 21 February 2013
As advertised, speedy service & value for money. arrived on time, not much more to say about a book! thx
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2010
Informative, passionate, a bit pro-West. The White Man's Burden by William Easterly is better I find.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2009
Professor Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is a world-renowned expert on development. He shows that due to a combination of geography, socio-political realities and economics, the Industrial Revolution was birthed in Europe. This enabled European societies to become wealthier, as they increased economic productivity. Sachs argues that much of the rest of the world (Africa in particular) has not been able to catch up because of a combination of the factors: poverty; fiscal trap; physical geography; governance failures; cultural barriers; and geopolitics.So far, so good.

His proposal that the rich world increased aid to 0.7% of their GDP in order to meet the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), however, struck me as disingenuous. Yes, Jeffrey Sachs is asking us to throw good money after bad money--$2.3 trillion in the last fifty years, precisely (with nothing to show for it). Sachs misses out one important fact: there is no country on earth that achieved long-term economic growth by relying on aid. Countries like China, India, Brazil and Chile have pulled themselves out of poverty without relying on foreign aid; instead, they have relied on tried-and-tested market mechanisms. Yet, Jeffrey Sachs asks us to give more to Africa. Does that mean that incentives and markets cannot work in Africa. Are Africans 'different'?

Sachs comes across as a very intelligent, urbane, compassionate man, describing aid as 'an act on enlightened self interest'. However, he insists that the United States can end poverty in Africa just as it helped reconstructing Europe after World War II. I think that some humility is in order. Sachs, like Bono, is misled by the myth of the omnipotence of the United States; he seems to believe that the U.S. can do anything--even lift African countries out of poverty. Perhaps, he should have considered that The U.S. Marshall Plan for the construction of Europe was not an open-ended commitment to Europe; it was small and limited in scope. Furthermore, even though Europe's physical capital had been destroyed during World War II, it still had sufficient human capital to re-build its economy. Therefore, the Marshall Plan cannot be compared to current aid to Africa.

Sachs' language is one of victimhood: Africans are perpetual victims--victims of their geography; victims of disease; victims of geopolitics etc. While he may be well-intentioned, his language denies Africans agency in causing their problems. It is not the West, but Africa's black post-colonial leaders who have raped and impoverished the continent. No victimhood there. Sachs conveniently brushes this fact under the carpet. He falls for the myth of the white man's burden. Sachs is right that the West can help by asking Western leaders to be accountable for the aid money they give to Africa. If Westerners want to really see Africa develop economically, then they should request that their aid money go to African entrepreneurs and to institution building--not to African governments.

No amount of Western aid will lead to long-term growth in Africa. No grand plan from the World Bank or IMF can map Africa's way out of poverty. Only the actions of governments, entrepreneurs/business people operating in markets in Africa can eradicate poverty. Example: China, India, South Africa and Brazil. Even though aid may be well-intentioned, it distorts the market incentives in the recipient countries so much that it can become deleterious to growth. It is unforgivable that Professor Sachs ignores the efficacy of markets to bring development, and instead pushed a tired, bleeding-heart aid agenda. I expected more; this book deserves two stars.
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