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Book Review

Jeffrey D. Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for our Time (Penguin Books, 2005)

After Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, even years after, what then?

 I have been searching for a follow-on to the Mahatma’s works, and located a fascinating account from 1984 but, alas, the Mahatma and his works must die, and prayerfully someone else will carry on.

 Such a person is Harvard Professor Jeffrey Sachs, with his remarkable accomplishments described in this book. Here the reader can see, in vivid detail, worldwide efforts (and distinctive e achievements) in an ongoing movement which seeks to eradicate poverty in the next 25 years.

 This book compels the attention of anyone who can escape the modern media enough to clearly see the unreported poverty spots that cover so much of the earth. It is amazing to see actual economic principals applied to such need, and with such wonderful effect.

 Although Sachs is legitimately reporting this from his own personal perspective, the reader is left with the notion that poverty can be eliminated via the efforts of a university professor, certain charitable organizations, and nation-states.

 Conversely, the actual achievements here go back to the efforts of Mahatma Gandhi, who was anything else than an academic or NGO or politician. For the Mahatma lived the poverty, and existed in the midst of the problem, finding, therefore, real solutions that depended upon (and gave full credit to) the impoverished populations themselves, who worked with each other and wealthy landowners, to eradicate major problems in large areas of India, such as Bihar State. Further, it is remarkable that Sachs has omitted the Mahatma from his book. Not even a passing reference. (So soon we forget!)

 Sadly, too, we see that George Soros once contributed money to help in eliminating poverty, only later on to turn away where the funds now power one of the most unethical political machines in world history. Would that the George, like the Mahatma, wear a sash and live with those he once tried to help. But I digress.

 This work is truly a grand achievement, and deserves to stand with the best volumes on international progress. May Jeff Sachs and others stay with the Mahatma’s course, and lead all parts f the world into the prosperity (even moderate prosperity) that Jeff has enabled through his sensitive attention to world trends and his selfish service to many needful countries.

Bruce Cook, Ph.D.


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