Athena's Reviews > The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time

The End of Poverty by Jeffrey D. Sachs
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Jul 07, 11

bookshelves: development, exam-list-1, read-summer-2011
Read in July, 2011

I expected to give this book one star, but I could get behind enough of Sachs' ideas to give it two. Sachs opposes IMF/WB austerity measures to promote development, and defends health care, education, and other services as public goods. He advocates taxing the rich and getting the world's wealthiest people to invest their money in the world's poorest people. He opposes Bush's excessive military spending because he thinks US and global security are more effectively guaranteed by cutting down global poverty. He emphasizes the need to understand and act on the vast range of factors that might contribute to poverty in specific countries and regions. But predictably, Sachs, guided by Enlightenment and Adam Smith-type rationalism and market logic, is misguided on the basic point of what constitute "wealth," "poverty," and "development" (e.g., for him, private property is a precondition for ending poverty and inequality). He also drastically downplays colonialism's role in global inequality, posing it as purely a matter of economic relations.

Overall, there are some decent ideas here, but Sachs isn't changing the terms of the development debate.
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