Discussion Questions for The End of Poverty

Discussion Questions, The End of Poverty


Here are the questions (so far) for this month’s book The End of Poverty. Add your own questions and comments below. If you’re feeling shy or don’t have anything specific to add you can also “like” replies.

1. For those, like me, who have heard about this book but are reading it for the first time: did your pre-conceived opinion of the book change as you read it?

  1. What is your biggest takeaway from The End of Poverty that will help you in your global development career?

3. What resonated most with you in a positive or negative way?

4. Sachs uses a lot of personal anecdotes in mix with statistics. Is his evidence convincing?

5. He writes that the 8 barriers to economic growth are:

  • The poverty trap
  • Geography
  • The fiscal trap
  • Government failures
  • Cultural barriers
  • Geopolitics
  • Lack of innovation
  • The demographic

Is there anything you would take away or add to this list? He spends a lot of time discussing geography and technology; do you think they are as pertinent to development as he writes?

6. Sachs uses the first half of the book to explore why some countries are poor and others are not. While he went into great detail, I feel he missed the effect colonialism had on “poor” countries. He dismisses colonialism as a major deterrent to economic growth but in Chapter 3 he briefly mentions European treatment of the indigenous population in South America as a roadblock to economic success. Does anyone else think he doesn’t give enough “credit” to colonialism for current poverty?

  1. Were there any other confusing or contradictory aspects of the book?

8. Do you agree Asia has developed more than Africa because of its increasing food production per capita?

9. How have Sachs’s definitions and responses to poverty influenced policy in developing countries? And what have the outcomes been so far? Perhaps those of you who have read The Idealist or other updates can chime in.

10. The aid-debate: Sachs receives a lot of criticism for his aid-dependent approach to ending poverty. What are other ways to support development?

11. Rate this book from 1 (how did this get published?) to 5 (highly recommend).


You can reply to these questions below. I’m sure more questions will come up as we continue to read. Happy Reading! See if the book is at your local library.


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