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No end to poverty

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This commentary is designed to provide a critique of Jeffrey Sachs' The End of Poverty: How We Can Make It Happen In Our Lifetime, highlighting in particular the difficulties that arise from his focus on absolute poverty and his proposed recipe for its elimination. It begins by emphasising the many strengths of Sachs' arguments, but then suggests that these could usefully be tempered by greater attention to relative conceptualisations of poverty and the ethical grounds upon which his arguments are based. Six main issues are subsequently addressed: his use of the notion of a ladder of development; his concentration on countries rather than people; his understandings of geography and of history; his relative lack of attention to social and cultural dimensions of development; the inability of poor countries to absorb the levels of aid that he proposes; and the damage caused by suggesting that it is indeed possible to end poverty.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Royal Holloway, University of London, London, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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