Books - Glenys Kinnock recommends. . .
The End of Poverty: how we can make it happen in our lifetime
Jeffrey Sachs Penguin, 397pp, £8
The economist Jeffrey Sachs has written the definitive account of how we can and must work collectively to end world poverty. He has amazing optimism, and is certain that all that is lacking is extra effort to build the political will to meet the Millennium Development Goals. He has driven the issue forward like no one else.
In 2005, with only ten years left to achieve those goals, we have to increase our efforts to achieve real global progress in making poverty history. Ours are, as Sachs points out, really noble objectives based on, at last, a better understanding of the need to strike those bargains likely to make peace, prosperity and development a reality. His prose is passionate, compelling, moving and always rational. He is a renowned academic, whose developed theories are well articulated and lent credibility because they are always backed up, and illustrated, by his years in the field.
No one could better persuade you that it would be unforgivable to allow the present, terrible inequities to continue. Sachs enables us to imagine a world where all children have access to healthcare, have enough to eat, can go to school and live in stable democratic countries. It should not be beyond the world's wit to do what Sachs describes.
We are the first generation that can and must tackle the need to achieve the aid target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income, to organise effective debt relief and to end a trading system characterised by unfair rules and structural inequalities. Sachs points the finger at those who don't undertake to work for change - in both developed and developing countries. He is particularly excoriating about the US record under Bush.
This book is never pious or worthy. You are left feeling uplifted, informed and galvanised to go out and do more to make the poorest of the poor visible at last.
Extract fromThe End of Poverty
"John Maynard Keynes wondered how the society of his grandchildren would use this wealth and its unprecedented freedom from the age-old struggle for daily survival. This very question has become our own. Will we have the judgement to use our wealth wisely, to teach a divided planet, to end the suffering of those trapped in poverty, and to forge a common bond of humanity, security and shared purpose across cultures and regions?"