Book summary courtesy of the Progressive Women’s Alliance of West Michigan.
The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
, by Jeffrey D. Sachs, Penguin
Chapter 1 – A Global Family Portrait
p. 18 If economic development is a ladder with higher rungs representing steps up the path to economic
well-being, there are roughly one billion people around the world, one sixth of humanity, who [are]: too ill,
hungry, or destitute even to get a foot on the first rung of the development ladder. These people are the
“poorest of the poor,” or the “extreme poor” of the planet. They all live in developing countries (poverty
does exist in rich countries, but it is not extreme poverty).
p. 19 The greatest tragedy of our time is that one sixth of humanity is not even on the development
ladder. A large number of the extreme poor are caught in a poverty trap, unable on their own to escape
from extreme material deprivation. They are trapped by disease, physical isolation, climate stress,
environmental degradation, and by extreme poverty itself.
Chapter 2 – The Spread of Economic Prosperity
p. 29 Since all parts of the world had a roughly comparable starting point in 1820 (all very poor by current
standards), today’s vast inequalities reflect the fact that some parts of the world achieved modern
economic growth while others did not. Today’s vast income inequalities illuminate two centuries of highly
uneven patterns of economic growth.
p. 31 Technology has been the main force behind the long-term increases in income in the rich world, not
exploitation of the poor. That news is very good indeed because it suggests that all of the world, including
today’s laggard regions, has a reasonable hope of reaping the benefits of technological advance.
Economic development is not a zero-sum game in which the winnings of some are inevitably mirrored by
the losses of others. This game is one that everybody can win.
Chapter 3 – Why Some Countries Fail to Thrive
p. 56 In economic growth, eight major categories of problems can cause an economy to stagnate or
decline. [1. The Poverty Trap] When poverty is very extreme, the poor do not have the ability – by
themselves – to get out of the mess…. They are too poor to save for the future and thereby accumulate
the capital per person that could pull them out of their current misery. p. 57 [2. Physical Geography] Many
of the world’s poorest countries are severely hindered by high transport costs because they are
landlocked; situated in high mountain ranges; or lack navigable rivers, long coastlines, or good natural
also arid conditions, or ecological conditions that favor killer diseases like malaria
]. P. 59 [3.
Fiscal Trap] [T]he government may lack the resources to pay for the infrastructure on which economic