Book Review: The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time

Jeffrey D. Sachs (2005)

Jeffrey Sachs is known as one of the world’s leading experts on economic development and the fight against poverty. He has been to more than 100 countries to help solve development issues such as poverty reduction, environmental protection, or armed conflict.
In this book, he tries to focus on a big picture of how the whole societies emerge from poverty by explaining his work in developing countries from many different angles. The main purpose of this book is to concentrate on how to end extreme poverty in our time and ensure that all of the world’s poor countries can make reliable progress up the ladder of economic development. More than eight million people around the world die each year because they are too poor to stay alive. This is really a big number! He argues that corruption and poor governance are some of the root causes of poverty and emphasizes that infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS or malaria, climate change, and geographical factors play a significant role.
Throughout this book, he also stresses the importance of education for the development of a country, especially primary education as a basic necessity for all peoples in the world. By investing in targeted education, it would unlock the trap of extreme poverty and have a significant impact on economic development. Additionally, he proposes a new method for development economics called clinical economics, to underscore the similarities between good development economics and good clinical medicine.
However, Sachs also criticizes the International Monetary Fund and the Bush Administration for lacking concern for the poor. Accordingly, the United States should not focus more on the military option to eradicate global terrorism than on the option of economic development which will contribute to poverty reduction. Sachs argues if the rich countries offer 0.7 percent of the Gross National Product to the poor countries as targeted, the extreme poverty could be eliminated as planned.

Read more at: The End of Poverty

-Bao Nguyen-