©2006 Jeffrey Sachs; (P)2008 Penguin Audiobooks
Just a terrific book about the challenges of poverty across the globe. Offers insightful analysis and realistic solutions. Be warned however, that other authors have recently dismissed Sach's prescription of pouring money into the problem, and presented some alternatives.
Non-Fiction, Science, Tech, History & Business
An acceptable book that often moves back and forth from Economics to a call to pressure those in power to increase funding for the third world, but don't be fooled, the latter is very much the point of the book.
If you are a fan of Noam Chomsky you'll love this book, if you are a fan of Economics, but have a socially conscious perspective then read Muhammad Yunus instead.
The foreword is by Bono, so while you may be in the deep end, you certainly know which pool you are jumping into.
There are some editing mistakes which is why I gave such a low score for performance, but otherwise the book is fine.
This book is well read and research in depth - with lots of personal "in the field" experience from the author.
He works through the situations that the extreme poor are facing every day. He does this in a way that puts any troubles or complaints you might have in a whole new light. Even if you disagree with his conclusions you will have new insight into the problem.
I think that he also does a really good job of dissecting why the current operations have not solved the problem and laying out a well organized and actionable plan forward. Some of his solutions may be a little more difficult because they require responding to the unique aspects of each situation - but I think that is also why they stand the best chance of working. It is true that his proposals might not cure 100% of the problem - but they will get a lot closer than what is being done currently. And, whatever plan we use to solve this problem, it is hard to argue with the conclusion that we should be putting forth an effort to eliminate the problem instead of providing band-aids when disasters strike.
The narration was great. The facts numerous and many verified beyond a doubt, but I cannot say I understood exactly what the solution ultimately is. So as a person listens there are many arguments you might come up with. Great mental gymnastics.
Even though this book is ten years old, it still offers valuable insight into poverty reduction. The most interesting chapters are the example chapters, where Sachs talks about his experience in Bolivia, Poland, Russia, China, and India looking at and helping with poverty reduction. In the last few chapters he tries to outline a blueprint for how the world can end extreme poverty. There are a couple of major problems with his approach.
First, he has what seems an almost naive trust in the forces of the market. He lets off the corporate world far too lightly -- focusing on government and individuals, without really taking to task the greedy corporations that are raping the world. He even would trust them with roles in Africa to bring about justice. Huh?
Second, everything is about the economy. While I recognize that poverty is a material issue, it is also a moral, spiritual, and community issue. Sachs is all about helping people get onto the economic ladder, but doesn't consider the social damage that might be doing in the process.
I was fascinated by his back and forth between Adam Smith and the Friedman school on one hand and Keynes on the other. In some sense, this suggests that Sachs is walking an appropriate balance.
The book still stands up. Even though no one wants to hear about the millennium development goals anymore (since we missed them by 2015) the goals are still worthwhile objectives. It's just really too bad that the US is moving more militaristic and more narrow-minded and selfish even than it was during the GW Bush era in which the book was written.
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