Sunday, April 20, 2008

The end of poverty

I have read the book “The end of poverty. Economic possibilities for our time” by the economist Jeffrey D. Sachs. I have discovered a lot of things with this book. I am surprised though, as there are some topics I had never heard about. They should be in newspapers every day because of their importance for the future of humankind. The book gives light about these points:

1 – More than 1.100 million people live in extreme poverty (they live on less than $1 per day). The poorest area in the world is Africa.

2 – Extremely poor countries are in a poverty trap and they cannot go out by themselves. They have not reached the critical mass of capital that would allow them to keep a maintained economic growth. Sachs says that it is false that extremely poor people are poor because they have not done enough to get out from poverty. Two important factors to be highlighted are the geography and the climate circumstances of the countries. Countries without access to the sea, with extreme climates, highly exposed to diseases or with craggy orography are candidates to enter in the trap of poverty.

3 – It is possible to eradicate extreme poverty. Our generation has the possibility to do it.

4 – There is already a plan: The Millennium Development Goals. One of the goals is to halve extreme poverty by 2015. Through the collaboration among poor countries that want to participate to the plan and the rich countries, and with the UN as coordinator and supervisor, we can halve extreme poverty by 2015 and erase it by 2025. The plan takes into account that there is not a standard recipe that works per each country. On the contrary, it proposes a differential diagnostic in order to detect each country’s needs. The poor country would be monitored in order to analyze if plan is developing as planned and to assure that the money is spent in what was agreed.

5 – It is cheap!! The cost is approximately 60,000 million dollars per year. Less than 0,7% GDP!!.

6 – It was already signed by almost every country in the Millennium Declaration and the Monterrey consensus … But they are not fulfilling them.

Therefore, it is our responsibility to press our governments for supporting the biggest trial up to now to solve the injustices with poor people. This is the greatest and most important international initiative at the present time, for this reason I cannot understand why I have not had notice of their existence until now… That means that there are communication problems in the rich world with things that are not related to their day to day life. I am sure that if people are aware, if we achieve the goal of spreading what is happening and what we can do, people is going to press the governments and politicians. And they will be forced to do what their voters ask for.

Specifically talking about my country, Spain, it seems that Zapatero’s government is doing steps in the right way. They promise to reach 0.7 % GDP at 2012. We have to press to achieve this goal and increase the quality of the help we provide.

Related links:

EndPoverty 2015

The Earth Institute

MDG 2007 reports:

MDG Report 2007

MDG Progress Chart 2007


Pobreza Cero

Informe del Gobierno Español sobre el objectivo 8


Aditi said...

Hey its a really nice blog ..
by the way,the orkut community for members fighting for the same cause:

Iván de Prado said...

Thanks aditi.

I will take a look to the Orkut link.