The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
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Celebrated economist Jeffrey Sachs has a plan to eliminate extreme poverty around the world by 2025. If you think that is too ambitious or wildly unrealistic, you need to read this book. His focus is on the one billion poorest individuals around the world who are caught in a poverty trap of disease, physical isolation, environmental stress, political instability, and lack of access to capital, technology, medicine, and education. The goal is to help these people reach the first rung on the "ladder of economic development" so they can rise above mere subsistence level and achieve some control over their economic futures and their lives. To do this, Sachs proposes nine specific steps, which he explains in great detail in The End of Poverty. Though his plan certainly requires the help of rich nations, the financial assistance Sachs calls for is surprisingly modest--more than is now provided, but within the bounds of what has been promised in the past. For the U.S., for instance, it would mean raising foreign aid from just 0.14 percent of GNP to 0.7 percent. Sachs does not view such help as a handout but rather an investment in global economic growth that will add to the security of all nations. In presenting his argument, he offers a comprehensive education on global economics, including why globalization should be embraced rather than fought, why international institutions such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank need to play a strong role in this effort, and the reasons why extreme poverty exists in the midst of great wealth. He also shatters some persistent myths about poor people and shows how developing nations can do more to help themselves.
Despite some crushing statistics, The End of Poverty is a hopeful book. Based on a tremendous amount of data and his own experiences working as an economic advisor to the UN and several individual nations, Sachs makes a strong moral, economic, and political case for why countries and individuals should battle poverty with the same commitment and focus normally reserved for waging war. This important book not only makes the end of poverty seem realistic, but in the best interest of everyone on the planet, rich and poor alike. --Shawn Carkonen
A landmark exploration of the way out of extreme poverty for the world?s poorest citizens
Among the most eagerly anticipated books of any year, this landmark exploration of prosperity and poverty distills the life work of an economist Time calls one of the world?s 100 most influential people. Sachs?s aim is nothing less than to deliver a big picture of how societies emerge from poverty. To do so he takes readers in his footsteps, explaining his work in Bolivia, Russia, India, China, and Africa, while offering an integrated set of solutions for the interwoven economic, political, environmental, and social problems that challenge the poorest countries. Marrying passionate storytelling with rigorous analysis and a vision as pragmatic as it is fiercely moral, The End of Poverty is a truly indispensable work.
Amazing What a wonderful book. I won't go into detail, as I think the first few reviews do a fine job, but this book is definitely worth reading....more info
This book challenged my self image as a hard-nosed realist This book changed my outlook in two ways.
First, it redefined what I think of as poverty. For me and I'm sure for many others who haven't thought about it deeply, "poverty" called up images that ranged from trailer parks to ghettos to third-world sweatshops to famine stricken villages. When Sachs speaks of ending poverty he is referring to extreme poverty of famines and state failures only, and not the relative poverty found in affluent countries. While someone born into a ghetto may not have the same opportunities as someone born in a suburb, they are unlikely to die because of a lack of food, water, or shelter. In countries stricken by extreme poverty, by contrast, millions die each year because "they are too poor to live."
By concentrating on just this set of extremely poor people, Sachs usefully narrows the scope of the problem he wants to address. As a hard-nosed realist, I would take issue with anyone utopian enough to think that relative poverty can be eliminated, especially after the disastorous attempts to do just that by the Communist countries of the last century. But Sachs does not want to give every sweatshop worker a BMW or every trailer park dweller a diamond ring. He wants us to take on the task of restructuring the world so that death because of want no longer happens. It's something that we in the first world have proved is possible, since we have already done it for our own citizens.
This leads to the second way this book changed my outlook. Sachs spends the majority of the book showing how most of the extremely poor people of the world live in countries that simply do not have the capability of helping themselves. Most countries, even those in the third world, have entered the "virtous cycle" of capital accumulation and investment. But in the extremely poor countries all existing capital is consumed simply to stay alive. Indeed, in many cases the amount of capital per person is decreasing thanks to a growing population or environmental degredation. The problems that I had always thought of as the key factors to helping these countries, such as less corruption/better governance or culture factors like women's rights, are not at the root of poverty. In fact, given the in-depth explanations in this book I am now convinced that it is possible to have a perfectly governed, free, and equitable country that is nonetheless doomed to unending poverty and suffering.
The only way out of the poverty trap is an infusion of capital from outside to pay for basic infrastructure and development. That is where our task, and our moral responsibility, begins. If, like me, you always considered poverty an unfortunate but unavoidable condition of the world at large I urge you to read this book. It makes a clear and compelling case that if we commit ourselves we can make the world a radically better place....more info
Long Journal Article. There are only two crucial chapters in the entire book which lay out the actual figures needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals set by the UN, around which the book revolves - both could have been written more succinctly. Otherwise, the national case studies which occur in the first half of the text are interesting, anecdotal stories for development practitioners, but on the whole are nothing exceptional nor prove integral to Sachs' argument. The introduction by Bono contains flagrant factual errors (names are wrong), and should be skipped completely. In total, the book lays out a rather common argument in the development literature, but does so with at least a quality of writing and lack of platitudes that are hard to find amongst non-academic writers. ...more info
At least it got people talking about global economics... I really wanted to love this book. It came strongly recommended by a good friend who is very interested in development work. Whenever I read a review I always try and figure out what angle the reviewer is coming from, so for the record I'm deeply interested in development work and I have a background in economics and environmental science, but mostly I'm just really well read.
The book immediately starts off on the wrong foot when Sachs, for some reason, decides to set 1820 as the base year for determining world poverty and decides that in 1820 the world is universally poor and on an even playing field. In doing so, he ignores European colonization of virtually all of South America, All of North America, and most of Africa and the resulting poverty that occurred among the indigenous populations as they were thrown off the best plots of land. He brushes aside the argument that colonization had a great deal to do with the rapid development of the west by pointing out that the colonies economies grew even during colonization. This is true, however, there's a reason for that: the colonizers had installed local populations. Some of the money was staying put, the vast majority was going to the "mother country." He also cites longevity statistics (40 years in Western Europe) and says that applies globally and says that disease was a major problem. Prior to the European settlement of the America's the people were taller, and lived longer than their European counterparts. They also didn't have any of the Western Diseases (small pox, measles etc) because they lacked beasts of burden and the population density of Western Europe. Anyone who starts off a book playing fast and loose with History and with Economic theory can't be trusted to create an accurate model; and it's true. His model is riddle with flaws that other reviewers have pointed out. People like his theories because it absolves them of developed world guilt and makes the solution seem easy without much in the way of self-sacrifice. Like too many economic models, however, reality and the ideal are not the same....more info
A GREAT ECONOMIST GOES ON THE FIELD TO UNDERSTAND POVERTY Jeffrey Sachs has for long been a celebrated economist, a leader in the field of development economics. In this book, he focuses on global poverty and tries to draw conclusions from the world's experiences in teh 20th century.
The book is divided into three parts: (1) country analyses, (2) on-the-ground microeconomic problem identification and solutions and (3) ways to scale up the identified solutions on a global scale.
The country sections focus on individual countries, trying to disect a bit of economic and political history to explain why some countries have succeeded instead of others -- the countries analyzed include China, India, Bolivia, Russia, and Poland. In brief chapters, Sachs gives the reader a good understanding of recent history and perspectives of each country.
The microeconomic solution sections are the most interesting I believe. Sachs is on the ground trying to identify why hard working people do not get out of poverty. A few areas are emphasizes, such as agricultural productivity through fertilizers, basic health investments such as bed nets to prevent malaria, education, infrastructure such as roads, communication and power, and safe drinking water.
Last is the section of scaling up such solutions across the poor world. This section is not as interesting as the previous two and fails to recognize the usual agency problem in which donor's money may not reach the poor due to lack of proper incentives along the way.
The End of Poverty is a nice book, a good effort to address certain issues that economists often underestimate. The usual policy prescription of economics are shown to fall far short of realities and necessities on the ground. Growth cannot be sparked by macroeconomic stability, but by a combination of factor which include stability. The other factors are what Jeff Sachs tries to address, quite successfully in this volume....more info
Pleased Bought this book as a gift and we were satisfied all around. Arrived as anticipated....more info
A Silly Sell-Out Once upon a time I thought Jeff Sachs was both a genius and a tower of integrity....then I read this tragic work. This book is the result of what happens when a brilliant mind goes "Hollywood". As a Financial Economist who actually lives in Africa...it is obvious to me that Jeff is selectively clueless about how things really work here. Then again...I think Jeff knows exactly what the people he works for at the UN want to hear. ...more info
why we lost the poor The End of Poverty is an excellent book. It shows how economic thinking can provide a better wealth situation in the underdeveloped world. Jeffrey Sachs describes his last twenty years on development economics. He is the driving force behind the mayor developments in Bolivia and Poland. The book contains his experiences in Bolivia, Poland and Russia. If you introduce economic measures in these countries you can take a big step to let the people help themselves. But if you go to Africa, it seams that these measures are really not the first aid you can give them.
I think the basic steps for development are summarised in three major levels. These are more essential than the economic analysis. It helps you to understand the problem on an easier way. He explains these basics in the later chapters, especially in investment against poverty.
The first step is a good provided health service and education system by the government.
The least developed countries are lacking this stage. It is like Malawi. They didn't have the change to get on the development ladder because they are to poor and malaria is the biggest threat for them.
The second step is a good infrastructure, a functional justice system and a stable energy system. Most of the underdeveloped countries are governed by a regime who is not interested in infrastructure projects and a fair justice system. They abuse the foreign aid and let the people starve.
The third step of development is innovation, free trade opportunities and a stable economic policy, especially in Malaysia the introduction of technologies were a big step to growth in this region. China's economic performances have been driven by free trade and foreign direct investment.
But the biggest part of the third world is traced by war, famine and AIDS. Africa suffers very badly from these defects. The millennium project begins with these countries. He explains who easily it can be to help a single village in Kenya to get development started.
The rich world countries are more aware of the problems. It is a consequence of the incidents on 9/11 and the problems the U.S. and Spain are having with the immigrants at their borders. This forces to get development on a faster track. I I think it is not easy to achieve the millennium goals...more info
Read this! This is one of the best books I've read. As for the edition, the paper is not of the best quality, but it's what you get for such a low price....more info
Passionate, but conveniently ignores historical reality Sachs passionately promotes the Millenium Development Goals devised by the UN and pleads that if the developed economies of the world commit the resources they've promised these goals will be met. The book is well written and very engrossing.
Unfortunately, much of what Sachs promotes does not relate well with historical reality. The UN and its associated aid agencies have consistently developed grandiose goals which are never met, mainly because the personnel developing the goals are not the same ones determining the contributions and don't determine their objectives based on financial limitations. Sachs does not indicate how the developed world's contributions will be more effectively managed than in the past. Also, since it's apparent the developed world is not going to provide the funding required by the MDGs, he provides no suggestion on how the MDGs can be scaled to provide the most effective use of resources. It's an all or nothing proposition.
Sachs links too many items simply to dollar figures and fails to take into account ethnic conflicts, religous and societal beliefs, as well as any of a number of other factors that can derail aid providers' well-intentioned efforts. He brushes aside poor governance in Africa by stating there are a select few other countries around the world that are even worse. Poor governance and corruption prevent development regardless if it's the worst in the world or not.
Regardless, Sachs does promote a number of ideas that are valid and likely to be successful, such as malaria nets and debt relief to countries that have shown they have taken steps to govern their finances in an acceptable manner, especially if applied and monitored separately and not part of a comprehensive plan to fix everything at the same time.
This book should be read with William Easterly's "White Man's Burden", as Easterly provides the counterpoint to Sach's big Planner approach to foreign aid, and suggests that a more market-based approach, with limited, clearly defined goals would provide a better use of the limited resources available to aid providers....more info
Well Written This book is incredibly well written and easy to understand, even for those with no background in development issues or economics. Sachs is to be commended for delivering economics in the everyday prose of the average citizen, and bringing these issues into the forefront of contemporary politics....more info
Still unconvinced? The End of Poverty is a book of lofty goals, but it is important both for some of the issues it raises and for its position among development theorists of today.
**BUT** if you, like myself finished Jeffrey Sachs' book feeling less than satisfied, I recommend you complement his optimism with another book: William Easterly's "White Man's Burden." I strongly believe that these books read in conjuction are much more powerful than either read alone. Happy reading!...more info
A leading economist explains how society can end poverty This is an excellent book by one of today's most prominent development economists. Jeffrey D. Sachs has been at the forefront of the most significant economic turnarounds - for better or worse - of the past quarter century. He helped end hyperinflation in Bolivia, advised Poland on its emergence from communism, and counseled Russia, China and Africa. On the basis of his extensive research and experience, he concludes that conventional economic solutions ignore some of the key factors responsible for poverty. Borrowing a page from physicians' diagnostic procedures, he shows how noneconomic factors can have economic implications. Along the way, he exposes the lamentable hypocrisy of the developed world and the institutions allegedly working for the development of the poor world. As an adviser to the leadership of the United Nations, Sachs believes that organization should be strengthened. He is not a dispassionate economist and doesn't pretend to be. He has a plausible case to make and he presses it hard, maybe now and then too hard, in this effort to convince the prosperous that effective help for the impoverished is practical, at least under some circumstances. We believe his well informed, heartfelt book belongs on the reading list of anyone who hopes the world can become a better place....more info
Leaf on the Cover? Maybe That's the Solution. Photosynthesis. Get on That. What do Bono, and countless other celebrities have in common with the author? A: They've always wanted to be celebrities. What is different? A: The celebs actually think that the world can be rid of poverty and misery and vice.
Are you honestly going to tell me that one of the world's most influential economists ACTUALLY believes that poverty can be banished or even meaningfully reduced? Not a chance. Not with Africa's population growth rate. Sachs is selling panic again to promote himself and it's really beginning to grate my nerves.
The entire book is a formula to get people "involved" i.e.: spending money a happy percentage of which Sachs and others like him will collect. The truth is that despite all the self-important boo-hooing about how a child dies every 3 seconds in Africa, no one ever mentions that 12 were just born and 8 survived which is why the continent has a growth rate of 3% and will harbor 1.2 billion starving souls in next 23 years. People who, when China and India become as rich as Japan, will be happy to stitch together our soccer balls.
Way too easy and simplistic... Sachs is a generally a good writer (and speaker), which explains how this book can get so convincing. It is even more convincing because it touches upon the West's sense of guilt -- what William Easterly aptly called "The White Man's Burden". The problem with this sense of guilt is that it is easy to convince people in rich country that money can solve poor country's problem.
It cannot. Which is why, neither can foreign aid.
The problem is that Jeffrey Sachs takes for granted a problem that those who study economics was duly warned early on: the principal-agent problem -- both between-country (between donor and recipient country) and within-country (the planner above and the actual poor recipient). At the end of the day, to quote British economist John Kay, "only the poor can make poverty history".
The sharpest, and well-argued, well-researched criticism of Sachs can be found in Easterly's The White Man's Burden (2006). However, for those really interested in understanding the issue, with solid evidence, should instead pick up Easterly's first book -- a masterpiece in development economics -- entitled "The Elusive Quest for Growth"....more info
We need to end poverty The book is great. It puts the poverty of the world, including America into light. It lets the reader know that poverty can be ended in our lifetime. It is very serious topic and book. We have the opportunity to end poverty, but will we be the generation that sits by and watches our fellow humans starve and die of disease or not?
The book got to me in a very timely manner and was inexpensive....more info
From a professonal reader I read. A lot. That said, only half this book is worth the time and energy it took me to read it. The middle half, to be specific. The first few chapters are dedicated to Sachs detailing to us that, no, he's not an idiot writing about something he's had no experience with and that, yes, he can help to solve macroeconomic problems. The end chapters are all Sachs recapping what he said in the rest of the book with charts and graphs that start to become meaningless if you're not a economist or a student with a couple econ classes under your belt. The middle, in my opinion, is the only redeeming part of this book that mentions far too often big-names Sachs has met and important jobs he's held. The middle actually talks about his plan for ending extreme poverty by 2015 and how we can do it. The rest of the book is just padding. So read chapters 8 - 15 if you want to "read" the book. Donate money to an NGO if you want to do something towards ending poverty with your time. ...more info
For my life, "The End Of Poverty" has been the most important book I read, and not because I would agree with all solutions it offers.
What will end extreme poverty and needless suffering? I don't think any of us has a precise answer. Ending, or relieving, extreme poverty will happen as a result of very complex causal relations.
Only history will tell us what can put an end to abject poverty: Can the debt-forgiveness, aspired by the international community, contribute to reducing poverty? Maybe real progress can only be made if every individual is represented through a democratic government? Can fair trade make a difference? What will be the impact of the Global Fund against Aids, Tuberculoses and Malaria? Will less poverty produce less corruption or vice versa? Is the world's massive arms trade hampering all local development efforts in the long run?
At this point in history, we have nothing but questions. But Dr. Sachs points a direction: To end poverty, we must have the will, dedication and energy to do so! We can impossibly 100% foresee what strategy, or better, which combination of strategies, will make a difference where. But faced with the utter perverse situation of grave suffering in a world of plenty, we must devote our energy in pursuing all strategies that are ahead, and we must do so now!
In many ways, I would compare "The End of Poverty" to Kant's conception of the "Democratic Peace": Maybe not all countries turned into democracies, and maybe there would still be war if all countries were democracies. But democracy is sure the right direction!
yeah sure thing the man who has brought destruction to the Russian economy through the "shock therapy" and preparing the ground for his zionist jewish friends in Russia to own all the key national assets, now goes on to tell us what to do with the rest of the world...his books should be prohibited...more info
Using American Wealth to End Poverty Eradicating global poverty is a concern that Christian missionaries and activists now share with a growing number of global economists and even rock stars like Bono. The gulf between incomes in the West and developing countries complicates the missionary task, yet missionaries often have little understanding of how the global economy works.
Jeffrey Sachs is well qualified to interpret globalization since he has worked in over a hundred nations, analyzing and offering advice on national economies. He was an economics professor at Harvard University and is now Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He was an economic advisor to Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and to Bono.
In The End of Poverty, Sachs outlines a plan to end global poverty by 2025. He is not only a visionary but also an excellent teacher on the fundamentals of global economics. He distinguishes between three degrees of poverty: extreme poverty, representing one billion people who literally struggle for survival every day; moderate poverty, representing 1.5 billion people who live just above subsistence level; and relative poverty, representing 2.5 billion people. Sachs shows how the world economy has changed dramatically since 1980, with over half the world making economic progress. Only Africa has experienced a general increase in extreme poverty in the past 25 years. When Sachs speaks of eradicating poverty, he means primarily ending only extreme poverty by 2025.
Sachs criticizes the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for failing to represent the interests of the poor and advocates "clinical economics" which gives a scientific diagnosis of each nation's economic problems with a prescription for improvement. He believes that if every wealthy nation committed just 0.7 percent of Gross National Product (GNP) to foreign direct assistance, global poverty would end. The United States currently gives only 0.15 percent of GNP in such aid, far below all other wealthy nations.
Sachs offers deep insights into globalization. He states that his worldview is from the Enlightenment, so he advocates "Enlightened Globalization," meaning that he believes scientific rationalism combined with compassion can solve humanity's problems. He also sees American wealth as the key to ending global poverty and discounts the effects of differing cultures as being part of the problem. Sachs does not answer all questions about the sources and solution of poverty, but he sheds some needed light on the subject.
What's new? Although I appreciate Dr. Sachs effort, his book lacked a new approach to ending poverty. It is a comprehensive, eye opening book for people without in depth knowledge of poverty and development, but for many scholars this book must have been a "yes we already know"-experience. The book is more a moral "we should"-appeal rather than a practical guide for people interested in ending poverty, because it does not offer new solutions. We have long known what we should do, on a micro level as well as in large scale programming, but how to actually make it work is a different thing. How do we get governments to meet the .7 GDP promise? How do we lower trade barriers, open markets, build infrastructure, gender equality etc. I will start "The White Man's Burden" today. I can use a good dose of grass root development realism....more info
Wonderful Book The End of Poverty is incredible in its depth as well as its ability to help one understand the workings of the world in regards to fighting poverty. Although I disagree with the assessment of the United Nations being the answer to the world's problems, I do believe the methodology is sound. I highly recommend this book....more info
Read with a grain of salt. This book covers some concepts that at face value and first read - especially people like me who are not economists - seem quite enlightening. But the more you read, the more you have to question how it seems that the view he presents is a seemingly simplistic solution to what is in reality a complex problem. One of the reviews on here talked about how it is not "infrastructure" that is key to solving the problems, but rather an access to market. I'd have to agree. Companies are not flocking to sub-Saharan Africa to utilize the labor there. Companies are moving to China and India. This is not a simple matter of infrastructure, but a matter of economic policy and much more.
The book points to some villages in rural Africa where things appear to be improving - a choice village or two where Jeffrey Sachs and the Earth Institute at Columbia pour in their resources (these are subsequently called Millennium Villages to coincide with the Millennium Development Goals) - and it makes you think that he might possibly be making some sense. However, what about generalization to a whole country? Of course if you take all your resources, all the scientific knowledge accessible to you from the Earth Institute, and then some, and pour these into a village, what village will not transform? But is it sustainable? Is it generalizable to the whole country? Change needs to occur at the policy/governmental level concurrently, in order for real success and improvement.
While this book may be interesting, it is important to remember that it is not THE way; it is A way, and along with it, it has its flaws. Ask some other economist what they think - I did, and got an earful. The opinion was that Jeffrey Sachs is just recycling his ideas that he used decades back during the 80s, and that to counter this viewpoint, I must read William Easterly. I'm sure there are others out there to read. But again, one good read does not solve all the world's ills. If you don't have access to an economist, read ALL the reviews on here because there are some other points that need to be considered. And I don't appreciate the impression I get that ideas for solving poverty in places like sub-Saharan Africa comes from a simplistic seemingly-enlightened Westernized view of "this is what is wrong with Africa". ...more info
Required reading This should be required reading for anyone living in a first world country. Admittedly I was very naive regarding the current state of world poverty. I had no idea such a large percentage of the world still lives on $2 a day or less! Sachs provides a very clear depiction of the current state, the problems, possible solutions, and what it will take to end poverty. In my opinion, everyone should read this book to open their eyes to how good many of us have it (you're reading this from a computer or hand-held device so you don't have it that bad). If nothing more, it gives you an appreciation for many of the available services that are often taken for granted by our public, like education, healthcare, eradication of common disease, sanitation, etc. In today's economic situation, we should rethink the magnitude of the problems that could be solved with a $750 billion stimulus package. The oppotunity cost is great. It's a bit disturbing how quickly congress and the president can allocate funds to support the crumbling financial sector, yet well-intentioned people like Dr. Sachs need to plead with the government over the course of years to send money abroad, with the government often coming up short of their pledged amount....more info
I Laughed Sachs was part of the 'neo-liberal' revolution -- the ivy league capitalist youth, really -- that promoted free market policies across numerous developing countries in the 1990's to disastrous consequences. Such policies were disguised as solutions to poverty-ridden societies and sold as such, in Latin America, to conservative governments eager to be seen as active in implementing 'economic reforms' and 'working for the people'. This 'neo-liberal' medicine was presented as a cure-all to increasingly impoverished and desperate communities, harking back to the age-old sophistry that an economy left open to competition will eventually iron out the wrinkles of disparity in society. Of course, Sach's policies served to make the rich richer, the corrupt greedier, and there wasn't even a trickle-down effect to go with it.
Why was Sachs believed? Because it made sense to the rich. After all, simply put, his advice to Latin American governments was to allow the privatization of national industries and services by international investors. In the process, two effects kicked in. First, some countries (like Bolivia) lost control of their natural resources to foreign corporations who sold them for pittance on the international market, paying negligeable taxes in return (so much for local development!). Second, services that weren't sufficiently profitable to these private companies were simply closed down (where are our trains?!). In some cases, it made more 'economic' sense to buy a service/industry and close it down by selling it off as spare parts! Creative indeed. Such a system was mutually beneficial to foreign investors and the local wealthy. Oh, and the net results? Rising joblessness, a bigger black market (a burgeoning informal economy), and more crime, thank you.
A country is not a business. And Sachs had little to offer in that direction. Unfortunately, his unoriginal and unconscientious advice was taken seriously by some Latin American governments. Since then, what's happened? A sharp popular reaction against Sach's philosophies across the continent has led to violent social unrest and more economic uncertainty -- in the last four years, two governments in Bolivia were toppled over for maintaining their 'neo-liberal' policies. It is thanks to 'thinkers' like Jeffrey Sachs -- those who like to present themselves as the 'kind' and 'eclectic' side of free market thinking (isn't that how the West recycles its old and sterile concepts?) -- that some societies in the region are now struggling with worse poverty levels and institutionalized inequality.
That's why the title of this book makes me laugh.
Laura Reviews: The End of Poverty If these crazy economic times aren't enough of a reminder of how we're all one step away from personal economic crises, The End of Poverty drives it home. Like in-your-kitchen home.
We all know poverty is a problem, but for those of us who live in privileged societies, we often forget it about it, it doesn't hit close enough to home. We feel bad that poverty exists, but it is not necessarily our personal problem.
Sachs challenges our complacency on so many levels that there's no way we can ignore reality. He hits us not only with compelling statistics (20% of the world lives in extreme poverty) but with real-world here and now solutions. Sachs posits that solving extreme poverty is not creating lofty academic governance models but to invest in the basics - water, sanitation, disease control.
And he shows us that the cost of doing so is not as daunting as we might think. For example, the 'rich' can lead investments in technology that we often take for granted - mobile phones, the internet, modern agricultural technology - these are scalable.
What we often don't remember is that even here in the U.S., extreme poverty is right next door.
Check out my other reviews at: http://laurareviews.blogspot.com....more info
Insightful and inspiring perspective on one of the great opportunities of our generation Jeffrey Sachs uses his broad knowledge to frame the context of a call for action to end extreme poverty in our generation. He demonstrates through detailed statistical comparisons the evolution of the widening gap of economic opportunity between the world's regions, and provides interesting narrative examples to support his conclusions.
Although the statistics sometimes are mind-numbing, Sachs does a good job of creating graphical representations in the form of world maps, which serve to educate the reader and demonstrate the often overlooked connections between health, education and economic development. He has "done his homework" in providing a wealth of historic perspectives on the problems we observe in today's economy.
Sachs uses his groundwork effectively as a springboard to inspire our thinking about how we can help create a better world by doing relatively simple things. Again, he uses the narrative to demonstrate how small amounts of money, medicine or appropriate technologies, delivered to the point of need, can make a huge difference in the outcomes for people living in or near extreme poverty....more info
Must Read for our times While I don't agree with everything he says, and it's important to get both sides, Sachs' book is compelling and important. Dense and somewhat difficult to read, the book requires that you take your time....more info
Good Ideas I am not an economist or health expert so I am not qualified as to whether the statistics quoted are accurate or not, but I can say that helping poor people take care of themselves will make for a more stable world is a no-brainer, and he eloquently makes a good argument for that fact. The book lost a couple of stars for his potshots at the U.S. which was annoying and for relying so much on the U.N. The U.N. does a lot of good, but is also somewhat corrupt and disorganized. Overall, if you read the chapters focusing on his efforts to help people you will enjoy it. ...more info
The End of Poverty? I recently read Jeffery Sachs' The End of Poverty. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but was excited to pick up at development best-seller- not a common combination! While I usually try to avoid non-fiction when I'm not at school or working, and tend to have a fiction addiction, I think TEOP will find its way onto my 2007 top ten list.
The book does a great job of summarizing most of my four year international development degree, from discussions of absolute versus relative poverty, to the best way to address the issues of environment, health, education and livelihoods in the developing world. And Sachs does it in a way that makes development concepts accessible: he looks at development as a ladder, and those facing extreme poverty have not been able to get their feet on even the first rung. Thus, the requirements of aid can be seen as inputs to help that group reach the bottom of the ladder and begin to work their way up. He also brings down the issues to a single number: $75billion dollars a year until 2025, at which point he believes that all human kind could be on the development ladder and extreme poverty would be eliminated. Hence, the End of Poverty!
Situated, as he is, in the heart of American development politics and economics, Sachs was also able to do a good job of explaining the successes and deficiencies of his country's aid contributions. Like the discussion in the previous post, this has helped to give me a more detailed view of America's role in the development world, which I find really interesting. He called on a number of American thinkers and activists to give power to his arguments for the potential of the end of extreme poverty. Paraphrasing Martin Luther King, Jr, Sach's says "The bank of international justice is not bankrupt," and explains how people like King, Gandhi, and Mandela "transformed the impossible into the inevitable." While many people think ending poverty is impossible, and that we in the West can't afford it, Sachs is busy making us realize that we can, and we should.
His point is obviously more and better action, which is heralded over and over again by poverty activists like Bono, Angelina Jolie or Bob Geldof. But the good thing about Sachs is that he manages to mainstream his ideas about aid and development, and introduce them in more conservative economic circles than would usually listen to the rockstar rolemodels. In his final "to do list", Sachs calls everyone to "make a personal commitment," something I believe in very strongly. He ends the book with this quote:
Let no one be discouraged by the belief that there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills- against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence...Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. -- Robert Kennedy...more info
the end of poverty Jeffrey Sachs answers the questions many people who are aware of what the world is really like want to know.Poverty is a reality and he wants people to understand that and he explains exactly what is needed to help elevate extreme poverty.He explains the difference between poverty and extreme poverty ,he discusses the controversial topic of American companies moving overseas and makes the point that this move by American companies is not such a bad thing.He puts things in perspective and really educates people about basic economics.This book is not a hard read but reads as it was intended , kinda like a text book ,however it is one that would interest those who want to make a difference such as starting or working in an NGO (nongovernmental organizations).A must read and I am a CONSERVATIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...more info
Sensational Economics for the Masses Jeffrey Sachs is a well-known economist among developing countries. He has provided advice on economic development in variety of countries in both Eastern Europe and the Third World. The book, however, though important in bringing attention to the issue of poverty follows a recent trend for economics to be used for media sensation, as evidenced by a forward by Bono, rather than a rigorous analysis of what economists do know and do not know about economic development.
The first misconception of the book is its title. The goal of economics should be sustained long term economic growth, particulary in the developing countries and not an ad hoc approach of welfare transfer from rich to poor to remove short-term poverty.
The second misconception of the book, is that economics and plitical science have figured out what is wrong with the developing world, but somehow the IMF and World Bank are either incompetent or not well-meaning. While the IMF and World Bank are defintely in need of grave reform, such statements are at best sensational and at worst politically motivated. NOBODY in Economics, and I say this as an economist and a researcher in the field, knows or even has a decent understanding of why some countries are poor and others are not. Worse, we economists, including Jeffrey Sachs, do not know what to advise a particular nation in order to grow its economy. Part of the problem is that economics does not know how to treat such important issues as religion, culture, social capital, institutions, which distort or completely eliminate the economic decisions upon which Western society is built.
Finally, the biggest shortcoming in the book is its focus on treating the symptom rather than fixing the problem. Poverty is a result of a myriad of issues as outlined above, such as religion, culture, human and social capital, institutions. But the biggest reason is the VERY HIGH BIRTH RATE in developing nations. Any advance that we make on poverty would be swamped by birth rates of 5-7 children per women, which exist in the developing world. Reducing BIRTH RATES IS the solution to the poverty problem. Jeffrey Sachs knows that, but it is not as cool and hip and Bono-like to talk about birth control, abortion and sex education, than taxing the rich nations and giving to poor. Politics and may I say religion rather than facts and rigorous economics prevail in this book.
The only benefit of this book is that, yes economics is an important science, and making it popular is dear to the heart of any economist, no matter how much he disagrees with the analysis....more info
Smarter than I'll ever be, but still... Sachs makes some great points but spends way too much time patting himself on the back. He really has amazing ideas, if you can put that stuff in the back of your mind. He focuses a TON on the successes he's had, and tends to gloss over the countries and economies he made mistakes with. But it's a captivating read- you'll want to pick yourself up and change the world....more info
Optimistic to the point of being simplistic Way too optimistic, reviving outdated theories of the '50s and '60s (esp Rostow), forgetting all about the reality of evil, corruption, injustice, both of the rich and of (leaders of) the poor and forgetting almost all about participation, empowerment and advocacy, assuming that macro scale economics are the same at micro (village) scale.
Just a small example: one of the main ideas in the book is: give villages a big push, so that they can start climbing the economic ladder. Increased economic activity leads to increased taxes which leads to increased public services, which helps increase economic activity. The first causal relation overlooks the fact that 80-90% (to sometimes 100%) of economic activities in African villages take place in the informal economy, where there are no official tax systems. The second causal relation overlooks (as said above) the fact of corruption. The example of Nigeria (enough income through oil exports, and corruption not mainly at the lower ranks but even at the very highest rank) shows that corruption is not a matter of need because of lack of money.
The milleniumvillages approach is, as a friend of mine said 'thinking big inside the box'.
I have not yet met people who have lived in an African village for an extended period of time (more than just a honeymoon time of 3 months) who believed Sachs' methods are workable.
Is it a case of 'give it a try'? Well, you are working with people, impacting their mentality and worldview. It's not a business which if it goes bankrupt you just say 'I've tried, let's start another'.
I agree though, with someone who said: Sachs is the best fundraiser of the age. he is performing well in that area....more info
Optimism on Development and Effective Aid for Impoverished Countries The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Out Time by Jeffery Sachs, is an optimistic, forceful argument for the economic potential of developing countries and the necessity of increased in aid from rich countries to realize it.
Jeffrey Sachs is an accomplished macro-economist, currently at Columbia University, who has experience helping poor countries get on track to development. While, often described as left-leaning, he makes strong cases in favor of free-trade, market forces, and the role of the private sector in achieving economic development. He does often tout his own success regarding recommendations for economic reforms that enhanced development in impoverished. However, given the overall pessimistic attitude that many have towards real, subtantial economic development in these difficult places, I am not so sure it was out of place.
While, I have a certain amount of skepticism towards Official Development Assistance, ODA, that Sachs makes a case for. His argument is compelling, especially in areas like health and education, that do not have a history of being served well by market forces alone. Even in infrastructure development, while rich countries now rely on significant private sector involvement, during their initial development stage, it was entirely a public endeavor.
In the end, I am more willing to accept Sachs' argument that ODA is an essential part of what poor countries need to achieve sustainable economic development. I am in entire agreement that promises we make as a nation need to be fulfilled, and not given lip service. The other option is to not make those kinds of promises, but the current situation is dishonorable with regard to the gap Sachs illuminates between the United States' promised aid and the United States' actual aid to developing countries. I do think we need to hear more about technological innovation and technology transfer, that Sachs seems to assume will happen if the proper economic conditions are established. I am not yet convinved of that. Also, I still believe that the devil will be in the details as far as ODA is concerned, and if not executed properly we could easily establish incentives for those participating on both sides of the divide that work against our real objectives.
And lastly, I should add, I found the foreword by Bono of U2 to be very thoughtful and eloquent on the subject. I was more suprised than I should have been, I suspect....more info
Historic Opportunity for Our Generation Through clear illustrations and calculations, Jeffrey Sachs lays out a very optimistic and compelling argument that extreme poverty can be ended within our generation. Two major requirements of this plan are the rich nation's commitment to debt relief and their honoring of their promises to dedicate a meager 0.7% of GNP to Official Development Assistance (ODA). If properly invested in infrastructure, health, and education (a topic well covered in the book), these funds could put the extremely poor back on the economic ladder towards growth and development. Sachs sites numerous success stories such as the Marshall Plan and the eradication of African River Blindness and Smallpox where sufficient funding and dedication successfully accomplished development objectives.
In the process of laying out his strategy, Sachs convincingly dispels some commonly held myths about the extreme poor. He demonstrates that laziness and incompetence are not factors in their circumstances. The extreme poor are caught in a 'poverty trap' and cannot pull themselves out on their own. They need our assistance. Sachs also argues that we cannot wait to eliminate corruption before providing ODA. It is the other way around, we need to provide assistance so that progress can be made on economic growth and transparency and then corruption will decrease. Interestingly for an economist, he also downplays the benefits of reducing trade barriers on ending extreme poverty.
While Sach's plan to end extreme poverty was very interesting and stimulating, the middle section of this book (chapters 5 through 10) is dedicated to autobiographical case studies in how the author assisted developing countries get their economies on track. If you find case studies in global economic crises interesting, then try Robert Rubin's "In an Uncertain World" which was more dramatic and high profile. In this book, they provided an interesting backdrop, but slightly distracted the reader from the overall strategy to eliminate extreme poverty.
After World War I, the developed world did not take the reconstruction of Europe seriously and a global recession and World War II followed. That lesson was well learned and significant resources were dedicated to the highly successful Marshall plan after World War II. Hopefully we will remember this lesson and prioritize debt relief and meet our ODA commitments to end extreme poverty which is a root cause and facilitator of the global instabilities we are currently facing. ...more info
Good... but it lacks something This book was intended to be read by anyone. As a fun, lighthearted read, it's OK. But if you're an economist, like I am, will find this one a bit repetitive and boring, with no real presentation fo solutions to the poverty issues around the world.
The part that really caught my attention was Mr. Sachs' work in Russia, Poland, India, China and Bolivia as an economic advisor. Wish he had extended those chapters a bit more, adding more details.
Sachs does a first rate job Jeffrey Sachs' The End of Poverty presents an excellent overview of the spectrum of economic development in the world and proposes sound ways to increase every area's economic progress. Sachs articulately makes the case that economic progress is not a zero-sum game where one nation has to "lose" for another to "win." He also sums up his career in championing the economically disadvantaged and shares his considerable success. He systematically refutes the various myths of the rich world as to why the poor world doesn't prosper. And he provides a clear, measurable plan as to how to address these gaps. One downside to this book is that too often, Sachs' tone comes across as overly negative towards the US. This may turn off some readers who otherwise would benefit greatly from this book. ...more info
Must Read for Those Interested in Development You, being a smart person who is up on contemporary debates in economics and development and/or are a reader of Vanity Fair, probably already know all about Sachs and this book.
Sachs made his name giving "shock therapy" to various third world economies. He recommended they jack up interest rates, and pushed them towards neo-liberal free market structures. His career hit a bit of a bad patch when he was associated with the economic meltdown of the former Soviet Socialist Republic. This book is his recommendations for development in Africa.
Sach's ideas at base are pretty simple - Sub Saharan Africa needs lots and lots more aid. This aid should be put to use curing easily defeatable diseases and establishing local agrarian and, eventually, manufacturing economies. Oh, and right wing type who say that more aid won't fix the problem are wrong. That's about it.
I think Sach's has this all about half right. More aid is a good idea, but alone, and in the style he suggests, I doubt it will lead to an end to poverty. Paul Collier's more nuanced book The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It, which I just finished, and will review soon, gives a better battle plan for dealing with seriously troubled countries. Sach's plan is a little too throw-money-at-the-problem for me.
Still, this book is worth a read. If you're going to talk about world poverty now a days (and I tend to talk about world poverty a lot), you going to have to know what Sach is up to. He is by far the biggest name in the field. He may not always be right, but he's the player that you need to know about....more info
oversimplifying the end of poverty? The Basics
Looking beyond Sach's anecdotes of his work with the World Bank, the premise of the book is very simple: it offers a diagnosis and solution to extreme poverty. Sachs suggests that poor people are stuck in a "poverty trap". The poor are poor because they do not have sufficient money to save or invest in education, health, or capital, and so they are stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty. As they are stuck in this trap, the solution, then, is help from the outside - large-scale foreign aid. As external aid has had a long history of failed attempts in Africa, Sachs brings in two new alterations: he calls for an increase in the magnitude of aid, as he believes that the failure of past attempts us due to the fact that there was never enough aid given to implement reforms properly to bring about the desired results. He also calls for a narrower focus of aid, suggesting that most of the aid should be directed towards raising living standards and meeting humanitarian needs, through investment in infrastructure and social services.
The strength of Sachs' proposal lies in its clarity of goal (ending extreme poverty by 2025) and the means to achieve them (his poverty-reduction plan), as well as the identification of the costs. It also merits from having a narrow target: Sachs is not eliminating global poverty per se but to alleviate the suffering of the poorest of the poor and helping them escape the poverty trap.
Stylistically, Sachs writes in an enthusiastic and accessible manner. He gives clear explanations of the dynamics that hinder growth, such as geographic disadvantage, disease burden, demographics, geopolitical factors. He uses figures and calculations but always supplement them with comparisons to help us better grasp the their meanings and magnitudes.
While Sachs' proposal is appealing, there are a few problems in his argument in terms of his evidence and his remedy.
Sachs repeatedly cites the Marshall Plan as an example of successful large-scale foreign aid. In reality the Marshall Plan and Sachs' poverty reduction plan differ significantly in nature, relative scale and time frame. Post-war Europe was at a better position than modern-day Africa after decades of foreign aid. Consequently, although the two plans both aim to stimulate economic growth, they are fundamentally different in nature. The Marshall Plan focused on reconstruction of infrastructure and business capital, while Sachs' plan for poverty reduction encompasses investments in human capital, infrastructure and knowledge capital. Also, the Marshall Plan never amounted to more than 3 percent of any recipient economy and only lasted for 4 years. Current average aid flows to African countries is more than 10 percent of GDP, and would be even higher if Sachs' proposal was carried out. These differences mean that it is dangerous to generalize the success of the Marshall Plan to any large-scale foreign aid project.
Sachs also cites successes of a few large-scale health programs, but there is no direct link between these programs and economic growth. On the micro-level, better clinics and health systems do help save lives, but on the macro-level their effect on economic growth is uncertain. While disease impedes economic growth by depleting human capital, it would be a stretch to claim that controlling disease would immediately solve a country's economic problems and catapult it out of the poverty trap.
Perhaps more disappointing than the lack of evidence, is that Sachs' strict focus on the quantity of aid. He neglects to address how to improve the quality of aid (i.e. how to effectively manage aid contributions). In the whole book, Sachs has only provided a brief, one-page description conveying the necessity of "a sound public management plan". This sparse treatment is puzzling, given the frequency of the problems concerning aid mismanagement that have arisen in the past. The World Bank found in Guinea that about 50 percent of public health spending went to the richest fifth of the population and only 5 percent to the poorest fifth. Sachs' failure to incorporate a coherent, effective plan for aid management constitutes a weakness in his proposal and could hobble his plans in the future.
In summary, the biggest flaw in Sachs' plan stems from his tendency to oversimplify issues: the Marshall Plan and public health projects are oversimplified to galvanize support for his claim, and aid management is oversimplified without acknowledging the challenges to effective monitoring and evaluation.
The Bottom Line
"The End of Poverty" is a good introductory guide into many of the issues concerning African development. Despite is tendency to oversimplify, Sachs' easy, anecdotal style, his insights on debt relief and deconstructions of economic myths make it a worthwhile read. Though sometimes Sachs may seem patronizing and egocentric, no one can deny his humanitarian concern for the world's poor. Perhaps Sachs' biggest merit is his optimism and enthusiasm about aid's benefits, which is desperately needed in today's society, especially amidst the crushing global economic crisis. I highly recommend reading the book, but with a critical eye and a little skepticism. For those who want a comprehensive book on development that goes beyond foreign aid, I recommend looking into Paul Collier's "The Bottom Billion".
Inspiring, Intriguing, Engrossing If you are like me, you may often worry about the poor and the underprivileged across the world. You may wonder what it would take to help them achieve sustainable livelihoods which is the first step to ending poverty for them. You may even be wondering what role you could play in ending poverty in this world. Well, look no further because here is the book that is a must-read for anyone concerned about global poverty and how to overcome it - "The End of Poverty" by Dr. Jeffery Sachs. Dr. Sachs, one of the leading economists of our times makes this book comprehensible for everyone even if you are not an economist. And what is even more wonderful is that he backs up most of his claims with well-grounded research and reasoning.
The book mainly talks about overcoming extreme poverty. Dr. Sachs defines a person as extremely poor if he/she cannot meet basic needs required for survival. He says that the extremely poor "are chronically hungry, unable to access health care, lack the amenities of safe drinking water, and sanitation, cannot afford education for some or all of the children and perhaps lack rudimentary shelter [..] and basic articles of clothing such as shoes. Unlike moderate and relative poverty, extreme poverty occurs only in developing countries." And 93% of the world's extremely poor live in East Asia, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Of course, when a country grows economically, it has a direct effect on reducing the extremely poor in that country. But the reason, that many of the countries have not been able to achieve the expected economic growth, as many statistical studies have shown, is due to a multiplicity of factors including fertility rates, education levels, diseases, trade policies and even climate and proximity to markets, some of which are not under the control of the governments of these countries .
As part of the U.N initiated Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the developed countries committed to contributing 0.7 percent of GNP every year to help the developing countries eradicate extreme poverty by the year 2025 through investments that contribute to sustained economic growth. By presenting a thorough analysis, Dr. Sachs shows that this is adequate money to reach the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2025. So, you may now be wondering where is the problem.
As Dr. Sachs skillfully presents in the book, the problem lies in the fact that the developed world has not kept it's promise although they make it sound that they are doing their best. So, the book is dedicated to making the case to convince the developed world, as to why they should keep their promise, why helping the developing countries eradicate extreme poverty is not just the right thing to do morally but also why it would benefit the developed world in the long term much more than many of the current foreign policies that are on the table. In the process, Dr. Sachs takes institutions like IMF, WorldBank and even the US federal government head-on. He even answers many questions and criticisms about his ideas and theories. On the whole, he makes the book a very engrossing, intriguing and inspiring read. At the end of it, you may even walk away with ideas on how you could help combat global poverty.
Rock Star Economics! I must start with a disclaimer, I do not mean to say Sachs, Bono and co. is not doing positive things that might help alleviate poverty. But a small possible help is all what Sachs/Bono policies might (or might not) provide.
End of poverty clearly seems too out of scope for anything that Sachs proposes. For example, "The bottom line is quite clear: for just 1% of the US GDP, or a 5% surcharge on families making over $200,000 a year, extreme poverty can be eliminated by the year 2025."
'A country is not a business' that could get all its problems solved by someone plugging in a li'l money. Foreign aid and debt relief is only a band-aid for a grave sickness, but a band-aid it atleast is and must be lauded for that.
Read this book if it might help you get convinced to vote for a govt. that favors debt relief and increased foreign aid et cetera. But donot read it if you want to look for an all encompassing theory for the 'end of poverty' as the title presumptuously claims. For poverty is only a symptom for other deeper malaises that hinder the overall growth of societies. End of poverty will need things that nobody else can do for Africans and must come from within their impoverished home. Foreign govts. and Rockstars cannot end poverty, they could've helped but alas things like birth control, social reforms, literacy drives do not make hip bestselling gestures.
Having said that, if separated from its grandiosely presumptuous claim and title, this book is certainly informative and scholarly....more info
thumping is not reading This book describes one of the screwiest situations in human history. Here it is: About one billion people (1/6 of the Earth's population) live in crushing poverty, without reliable access to food or medical care. A second group of people control most of the Earth's resources, and they have come to power by publicly touting their devotion to a religion whose central message is about fighting poverty. You would think that would be good news, but it's not. The problem is that the people who control everything, despite all the religious jibber-jabber, spend most of their time arguing about whether or not flag-burning and gay marriage should be legal. They also like to blow stuff up.
The odd thing is that fighting poverty is much cheaper than blowing stuff up, and it's not just hippy bumper stickers that say so. Jeffrey Sachs estimates the cost of ending extreme poverty at a small fraction of the GDP of the richest nations. He also debunks many of the most common excuses (corruption, culture, infrastructure) that people use to justify the lack of financial aid. These excuses generally explain why the situation is complicated, but not why it is unresolvable. This complexity partially explains why aid to the poor is so seldom discussed in American politics, which has all the nuance of professional wrestling without the speedos.
The complex nature of the problem just means that monetary contributions are necessary but not sufficient. What is also needed is a serious plan to get the job done, and The End of Poverty presents a reasonable first draft. The Plan probably won't work exactly as stated (see William Easterly), but I don't see why the endeavour has to be more complicated than building a space shuttle would have seemed fifty years ago....more info
Illuminating book on macoeconomics Did the last reviewer actually read the book? I am somewhat puzzled by his review since Sachs actually agrees with some of the reviewer's criticisms of economic policies in developing countries.
In any event, whether or not you agree with Sachs' recommendations, the book is a wonderful introduction to basic macroeconomics and a superb review on the history and drivers of growth in developing countries. While I am not particularly interesting in public policy issues, this book made me want to care and expanded my thinking about poverty beyond the United States....more info
The End of Humility Sachs is pompous and self-important to the point of distraction. It's amazing to have to say that about a book about ending poverty, but it's true. This book is a travelogue of adventures in high-level negotiations, focusing on Sachs' experience advising governments about problems infinitely less complex than the one he wants to address: ending extreme poverty. If you want to feel good about Jeffrey D. Sachs, this is the book for you; if you want a rigorous introduction to the issues, look someplace else....more info