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1 Beaverton Economics- General

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time


The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time Cover

ISBN13: 9780143036586
ISBN10: 0143036580
Condition: Standard
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The path from poverty to development has come incredibly fast in the span of human history. Two hundred years ago, the idea that we could potentially achieve the end of poverty would have been unimaginable. Just about everybody was poor with the exception of a very small minority of royals and landed gentry. Life was as difficult in much of Europe as it was in India or China. With very few exceptions, your great-great-grandparents were poor and most likely living on the farm. One leading economic historian, Angus Maddison, puts the average income per person in Western Europe in 1820 at around 90 percent of the average income of sub-Saharan Africa today. Life expectancy in Western Europe and Japan as of 1800 was probably about forty years.

There was little sense a few centuries ago of vast divides in wealth and poverty around the world. China, India, Europe, and Japan all had similar income levels at the time of European discoveries of the sea routes to Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Marco Polo, of course, marveled at the sumptuous wonders of China, not at its poverty. Cortés and his conquistadores expressed astonishment at the riches of Tenochtitlán, the capital of the Aztecs. The early Portuguese explorers in Africa were impressed with the well-ordered towns in West Africa.

Until the mid-1700s, the world was remarkably poor by any of today?s standards. Life expectancy was extremely low; children died in vast numbers in the now rich countries as well as the poor countries. Disease and epidemics, not just the black death of Europe, but many waves of disease, from smallpox and measles to other epidemics, regularly washed through society and killed mass numbers of people. Episodes of hunger and extreme weather and climate fluctuations sent societies crashing. The rise and fall of the Roman Empire, for Arnold Toynbee, was much like the rise and decline of all other civilizations before and since. Economic history had long been one of ups and downs, growth followed by decline, rather than sustained economic progress.

The Novelty of Modern Economic Growth

If we are to understand why vast gaps between rich and poor exist today, we need therefore to understand a very recent period of human history during which these vast gaps opened. The past two centuries, since around 1800, constitute a unique era in economic history, a period that the great economic historian Simon Kuznets famously termed the period of Modern Economic Growth, or MEG for short. Before the era of MEG, indeed for thousands of years, there had been virtually no sustained economic growth in the world and only gradual increases in the human population?

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Baje360, May 15, 2008 (view all comments by Baje360)
Excellent explanation of why most countries do not need food shipments to lead them out of poverty. Sachs provides a managable plan of action to end poverty. Should be a must read for anyone in political office.
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kdlawrence, October 3, 2007 (view all comments by kdlawrence)
Jeffrey Sachs has given me hope at a time of great despair. His data is fact based from a great deal of personal experience working to improve third world countries' economies. The bottom line is that he believes we CAN end poverty on the planet by 2025, and he details the specific ways we can do so.

He notes that economists must think like medical diagnosticians, carefully considering each of the many factors--different for each third world country--that contribute to their economic problems. Then, like any good doctor, an individual prescription (economic plan) must be written and followed for the particular country.

Jeffrey supplies detailed analyses of many countries, their particular problems, and why whatever economic plans have been applied have succeeded or failed.

I loved his approach, his ability to share complicated theories and issues in a way that any world citizen who is motivated can not only understand, but support.

Katherine Lawrence
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Product Details

Sachs, Jeffrey
Penguin Books
Foreword by:
Sachs, Jeffrey D.
Developing countries
Economic Conditions
Third World Development
Development - Economic Development
Economics - General
Developing countries Economic conditions.
Developing countries Economic policy.
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
16-page color photo and map insert; b/w
8.44x5.58x.94 in. .87 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time Used Trade Paper
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Product details 416 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143036586 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Sachs came to fame advising 'shock therapy' for moribund economies in the 1980s (with arguably positive results); more recently, as director of Columbia University's Earth Institute, he has made news with a plan to end global 'extreme poverty' — which, he says, kills 20,000 people a day — within 20 years. While much of the plan has been known to economists and government leaders for a number of years (including Kofi Annan, to whom Sachs is special advisor), this is Sachs's first systematic exposition of it for a general audience, and it is a landmark book. For on-the-ground research in reducing disease, poverty, armed conflict and environmental damage, Sachs has been to more than 100 countries, representing 90% of the world's population. The book combines his practical experience with sharp professional analysis and clear exposition. Over 18 chapters, Sachs builds his case carefully, offering a variety of case studies, detailing small-scale projects that have worked and crunching large amounts of data. His basic argument is that '[W]hen the preconditions of basic infrastructure (roads, power, and ports) and human capital (health and education) are in place, markets are powerful engines of development.' In order to tread 'the path to peace and prosperity,' Sachs believes it is encumbant upon successful market economies to bring the few areas of the world that still need help onto 'the ladder of development.' Writing in a straightfoward but engaging first person, Sachs keeps his tone even whether discussing failed states or thriving ones. For the many who will buy this book but, perhaps, not make it all the way through, chapters 12 through 14 contain the blueprint for Sachs's solution to poverty, with the final four making a rigorous case for why rich countries (and individuals) should collectively undertake it — and why it is affordable for them to do so. If there is any one work to put extreme poverty back onto the global agenda, this is it." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A solid, reasonable argument in which the dismal science offers a brightening prospect for the world's poor."
"Review" by , "[A]n 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."
"Review" by , "This is a serious book by a serious man....He is especially stirring about the desperation of Africa."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "It's a shame that Sachs's prescriptions are unconvincing because he is resoundingly right about the tragedy of world poverty."
"Review" by , "Book and man are brilliant, passionate, optimistic and impatient."
"Review" by , "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 longawaited, fascinating, clearly and movingly written book, he distills his experience to propose answers to the hard choices now facing the world."
"Review" by , "Paul Wolfowitz should read Jeffrey Sachs's compelling new book."
"Synopsis" by ,
Jeffrey D. Sachs has been cited by The New York Times Magazine as andldquo;probably the most important economist in the worldandrdquo; and by Time as andldquo;the worldandrsquo;s best-known economist.andrdquo; He has advised an extraordinary range of world leaders and international institutions on the full range of issues related to creating economic success and reducing the worldandrsquo;s poverty and misery. Now, at last, he draws on his entire twenty-five-year body of experience to offer a thrilling and inspiring big-picture vision of the keys to economic success in the world today and the steps that are necessary to achieve prosperity for all.

Marrying vivid eyewitness storytelling to his laserlike analysis, Jeffrey Sachs sets the stage by drawing a vivid conceptual map of the world economy and the different categories into which countries fall. Then, in a tour de force of elegance and compression, he explains why, over the past two hundred years, wealth has diverged across the planet in the manner that it has and why the poorest nations have been so markedly unable to escape the cruel vortex of poverty. The groundwork laid, he explains his methods for arriving, like a clinical internist, at a holistic diagnosis of a countryandrsquo;s situation and the options it faces. Rather than deliver a worldview to readers from on high, Sachs leads them along the learning path he himself followed, telling the remarkable stories of his own work in Bolivia, Poland, Russia, India, China, and Africa as a way to bring readers to a broad-based understanding of the array of issues countries can face and the way the issues interrelate. He concludes by drawing on everything he has learned to offer an integrated set of solutions to the interwoven economic, political, environmental, and social problems that most frequently hold societies back. In the end, he leaves readers with an understanding, not of how daunting the worldandrsquo;s problems are, but how solvable they areandmdash;and why making the effort is a matter both of moral obligation and strategic self-interest. A work of profound moral and intellectual vision that grows out of unprecedented real-world experience, The End of Poverty is a road map to a safer, more prosperous future for the world.

"Synopsis" by , Now in paperback comes the "New York Times" bestseller--a landmark exploration of the way out of extreme poverty for the world's poorest citizens.

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