The End of Poverty: The Economic Possibilities for Our Time: By Jefferey D. Sachs
The End of Poverty addresses the serious situation of global poverty, the main source of the problem, who is the blame, and what can be done to solve the problem. Jeffery Sachs explores several issues in hopes of finding a clear solution. Though one would like to embrace a solution that is quick and effective, that proposes not to be an option. The fact being poverty is long stretching problem that has affected a number of the poorest countries around the world but specifically Africa. More than eight million people globally die each year because they are too poor to stay alive. Also troubling Sachs says, more than 20,000 people died yesterday because they couldn’t afford the basic necessities required for human life.
Sachs describes the three degrees of poverty: 1. Extreme poverty,moderate poverty and relative poverty. Extreme poverty represents one sixth of the world population or one billion people, who literally fight for survival everyday. 2. Moderate poverty represents 1.5 billion people, who live above the subsistence level but still struggle to make ends meet. 3. Relative poverty as described by Sachs represents 2.5 billion people, mostly in urban areas, who have access to housing, transportation, some education and some nutrition. The numbers of extreme poor have dropped in East and South Asia, but increased in sub- Saharan Africa. When Sachs discusses the possibility of ending poverty in this generation, he describes a main and secondary goal. The main goal is to end extreme poverty by 2025. The secondary goal is to ensure that all the poorer nations begin to make economic progress out of all forms of poverty.
Sachs has criticism for main institutions who have tried to rescue failing economies, namely, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as the World Bank. Sachs belief is that these organizations have tended to represent the interests of creditor banks rather than the poor and have contributed to the problem of global poverty. He encourages a new form of economics called “clinical economics” which he believes will improve the lot of the poor by focusing on each nations specific problems.
Sachs experience in this field have helped nations like Bolivia, Poland, Russia, China, and India to move out of economic chaos. Further criticism is pointed at the United States which gives only 0.15 percent of GNP for aid. Sachs sets a recommendation of 0.7 percent GNP be given in direct assistance by rich to poor nations as a goal to end extreme poverty. Sachs believes not all countries can be helped since some have no commitment to recognized standards, good governance and accountability. He recognizes that the current aid is not sufficient. The current practice is many poor countries pretend to reform while rich countries pretend to help.
Sachs gives six direct assistance solutions which deal with key investments:1.Human capital to improve health and nutrition and skills. 2. Business capital to improve technology in agriculture, industry, and services. 3. Infrastructure to improve roads, power, sanitation, transportation, and communications. 4. Natural capital to improve soils and ecology. 5. Public institutional capital to improve legal, governmental, and police systems. 6. Knowledge capital to improve scientific and technological expertise.
Sachs disregards cultural differences and criticizes fundamentalist Christians as standing in the way of progress. He appears to be a globalist who remains American in outlook. Most Americans believe that all that needs to be done is to pump enough money into poorer nations in order to help them. The truth is money alone cannot end poverty.
Overall I enjoyed reading this book, I think it gave good insight on measures that can be taken to end global poverty.The book did not make me angry or bored. I am optimistic that poverty can be wiped out, but on the other hand I seriously doubt it. There are agendas that don’t include ending poverty. Most-likely the richer countries will get richer and the poorer countries will get poorer.
I think in order to end poverty, it would have to take not one country but several to come together and find a solution. Those countries have to be able to work together and put their differences aside in order to help those in need. It can be done, but there has to be a dedicated effort from all parties involved .Only time will tell if global poverty will be eradicated.
The questions I have for the author would be. Why are some countries left behind while others thrive and progress? Why is Africa one of the hardest hit countries when discussing poverty? Why doesn’t America give more money in global assistance to the poorer countries?