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Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail (BK Currents)by Paul Polak
Synopses & Reviews
Based on his 25 years of experience, Polak explodes what he calls the ""Three Great Poverty Eradication Myths"": that we can donate people out of poverty, that national economic growth will end poverty, and that Big Business, operating as it does now, will end poverty. Polak shows that programs based on these ideas have utterly failed--in fact, in sub-Saharan Africa poverty rates have actually gone up.
These failed top-down efforts contrast sharply with the grassroots approach Polak and IDE have championed: helping the dollar-a-day poor earn more money through their own efforts. Amazingly enough, unexploited market opportunities do exist for the desperately poor. Polak describes how he and others have identified these opportunities and have developed innovative, low-cost tools that have helped in lifting 17 million people out of poverty.
Book News Annotation:
Polak (founder, International Development Enterprises) exposes and rejects the "Three great poverty eradication myths," namely, that donations alone, national economic growth, or Big Business (as it currently operates) will end poverty. He instead espouses a model that identifies market opportunities in high-value, labor-intensive cash crops for poor rural farmers and provides them with access to the tools they need. The first section of the book explores his own interest in eradicating poverty and describes the process he learned for finding creative solutions to major social problems. The second section describes the grass-roots approach to ending poverty in rural areas; a brief third section applies the principles to the poor in urban areas. The final section addresses the role poverty plays in environmental problems, and describes what donors, institutions, and governments can do to end poverty. As much time is devoted to one family throughout this book, the closing chapter addresses how one man in Nepal brought his family from poverty to the upper-middle class by the principles described in this book. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Futurists agree that poverty eradication is critical to the survival of the planet. Polak exposes the top three things people are doing wrong in their efforts to end the root causes of poverty and what they can do to make a positive impact.
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