The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Sep 10, 2013 - Social Science - 272 pages
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
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Recipient of Foreign Policy's 2013 Albie Award


A powerful portrayal of Jeffrey Sachs's ambitious quest to end global poverty
    
 "The poor you will always have with you," to cite the Gospel of Matthew 26:11. Jeffrey Sachs—celebrated economist, special advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations, and author of the influential bestseller The End of Poverty—disagrees.  In his view, poverty is a problem that can be solved. With single-minded determination he has attempted to put into practice his theories about ending extreme poverty, to prove that the world's most destitute people can be lifted onto "the ladder of development."
 
            In 2006, Sachs launched the Millennium Villages Project, a daring five-year experiment designed to test his theories in Africa. The first Millennium village was in Sauri, a remote cluster of farming communities in western Kenya. The initial results were encouraging. With his first taste of success, and backed by one hundred twenty million dollars from George Soros and other likeminded donors, Sachs rolled out a dozen model villages in ten sub-Saharan countries. Once his approach was validated it would be scaled up across the entire continent. At least that was the idea.
 
        For the past six years, Nina Munk has reported deeply on the Millennium Villages Project, accompanying Sachs on his official trips to Africa and listening in on conversations with heads-of-state, humanitarian organizations, rival economists, and development experts. She has immersed herself in the lives of people in two Millennium villages: Ruhiira, in southwest Uganda, and Dertu, in the arid borderland between Kenya and Somalia. Accepting the hospitality of camel herders and small-hold farmers, and witnessing their struggle to survive, Munk came to understand the real-life issues that challenge Sachs's formula for ending global poverty. 
 
         THE IDEALIST is the profound and moving story of what happens when the abstract theories of a brilliant, driven man meet the reality of human life.
 

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User Review  - jmcilree - LibraryThing

A highly unflattering portrayal of the hubris, condescension and bullying of Jeffrey Sachs as he tries to change the world into one of his own image. A critique of the larger liberal/progressive ... Read full review

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User Review  - ohernaes - LibraryThing

The story of Jeffrey Sachs rise (and fall?). Sachs became a celebrity as an economic shock therapist in Bolivia in the late 1980's and then in Poland and Russia. He then turned his considerable ... Read full review

Contents

Cover
Ahmed Maalim Mohamed
The End of Poverty
Part
Every Problem Has a Solution
Everything Is Written
It Will Be Sweet Like Honey
Part Three
Part
Am Thinking We Are Not Ready for This
A Very Tall Order
Have Been Failed by the Markets
Part Seven
Misinformation and Politics
A Version of Progress
What Mistake Has Ahmed Done?

A PipeDream
Part Four
David Siriri
Awaire Awaire
Capitalist Philanthropy
Part Five
Setbacks
InshaAllah
Part Eight
An Island of Success
Cry for Ahmed
It Is What It
AuthorsNote Acknowledgments
Notes
A NoteAbout the Author Illustrations
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

NINA MUNK, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, is a journalist and the author of Fools Rush In: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Unmaking of AOL Time Warner. She was previously a senior writer at Fortune, and before that a senior editor at Forbes. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Times Magazine, the New YorkerFortune, and the New York Times. She lives in New York.

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