The following is a list of articles, conversations, and reviews about The End of Poverty. To discuss the book click here.
This interview with Mother Jones covers Sachs’s purpose for writing The End of Poverty, his response to critics, and how he wants to, “help people help themselves.”
Providing the Sparknotes version, Real Sociology summarizes the first 4 chapters of the book. They even add some personal thoughts at the end.
The New York Times Book review from April 2005.
Nemesis (had to) Bill Easterly’s book review.
Brief background on what the two theorists disagree about.
I have yet to reach this part of The End of Poverty. Here is the official website for the Millennium Villages (the FAQ is especially helpful).
Jeff Sachs will teach an online course about economic development with a sustainable focus. The course starts in September and registration is open now.
Thank you to David for this suggestion.
Are there any non-Western voices (apart from Moyo) who have written about Sachs’s work?
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?
- 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
- The fiscal trap
- Government failures
- Cultural barriers
- 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?
- 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.
The purpose of discussion is to point out what each book has to offer the field of development or what we don’t find effective. Try to explain why you agree or disagree with something rather than using “I agree,” “+1,” or the dreaded (imo) “This.”
I cannot integrate a forum so we will use the comment section to facilitate discussion. Questions will be posted and your answers, additional questions, and comments can be added at the bottom of each post.
As always, be kind.
None of this:
If you have book suggestions you can add them here
The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs is a must read for the development field. It should be a good place for us to start because it produced strong reactions in the global development community (what doesn’t though), including the foil work by William Easterly, White Man’s Burden.
I have started this book and find Sachs’s writing easy to follow. My understanding is Sachs believes in an aid-centric approach to ending poverty and this emphasis on aid places the responsibility of development largely in the hands of Western institutions.
In his own words (sigh of relief):
“the main argument of my book is that there are certain places on the planet that, because of various circumstances—geographical isolation, burden of disease, climate, or soil—these countries just can’t quite get started. So it’s a matter of helping them get started, whether to grow more food or to fight malaria or to handle recurring droughts. Then, once they’re on the first rung of the ladder of development, they’ll start climbing just like the rest of the world.”
You can read more of that interview with Mother Jones here.
Criticism for Sachs ranges from aid is ineffective to he knows too many famous people. Still, there is no doubt that Sachs has ample experience and knowledge of development economics. This should be an interesting and informative read.
Stay tuned for questions to think about and discuss while reading. Add your own questions below!
See if the book is at your local library