Thursday, December 29, 2005

BOOK REVIEW - The End of Poverty - Jeffrey Sachs

I promise I didn't just read this book because Bono wrote the forward. Although that IS a valid reason to read a book!

In my opinion, this is possibly the second most important book in the world at the moment. Sachs blows away myths about extreme poverty and economics in general. He sets out exactly WHAT we need to do, WHY we need to do it and HOW it can be achieved. He briefly talks about world history, and how we got to where we are today (ie how western countries climbed out of extreme poverty)

It's not always an easy, relaxing read - but worth it.

Here's a bunch of random interesting things...
  • For the majority of history, the majority of people have lived in extreme poverty. The last few hundred years is the first time in history so many people have lived with such wealth
  • 'Trade vs Aid' - many people argue that Trade is the answer to extreme poverty - and it is - to a point. There are many countries, especially in Africa tha thave no hope of significant trade until we help them out of the hole they are in. Trade AND Aid is the answer.
  • Made me realise the importance of trade, economics and big business for improving quality of life for people around the world. It removed (and reinforced) some of my cynicism about large multinational corporations.
  • Made me realise the importance of technology in eliminating poverty. Western civilisation became rich because of industrialisation and technology.
  • The rise in wealth of developing countries does not mean a decrease in the wealth of western nations. Wealth can be created from nothing, and the more countries that are rich, the better for all! (Again, as with everything - this is not a black and white issue...)
I could go on and on... suffice to say, if everyone read this book (or maybe if a select few world leaders read it), the world would be a very different place, very quickly.
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