In Jeffrery Sachs’ The End of Poverty, Sachs is targeting the rich and “developed” parts of the world. He suggests that these richer countries take responsibility to assist the poorer parts of the world in getting out of poverty for good. He supports his argument by pointing out that the task of helping out third world countries is achievable within the limits already committed by the developed world. The exact number that Sachs gives is 7 cents out of every $10 received in income. Sachs gives these 5 specific reasons on why the rich can and should make an effort to give developmental assistance to the developing world:
1. The amount of extremely poor countries have decreased to a relatively small part of the world’s population (less than 1/5 of the world’s population).
2. The goal is to end extreme poverty, not all poverty, and to make world incomes equal, minimizing the space between the rich and poor.
3. Success in ending the poverty trap is a lot easier than it appears.
4. The rich world today is far richer than the rest of the world, so an effort to end extreme poverty is well within reach because costs are a small factor.
5. Our tools, which have been advanced by mobile phones and the Internet, are more powerful than ever, leading to the spread of information to Asia and Africa about advancing technologies.
I believe that Sachs’ suggestion could be sustainable, up to a point, after a lot of research. The developing world still needs to be assisted and taught how to use the money given to them, and the amount of money given needs to be assessed by how much the countries actually need and can put to use right away. I often think about the large amount of wealthy Americans and how there are still people who can barely afford to eat every day in the United States, and there are even worse cases of this in Africa. I think that all countries, including the United States, should do their part to assist these countries if they can afford to.
The country I researched was Mali, as I have been researching them for all of the semester so far. I found that they have received aid in areas such as debt relief, technical cooperation, mixed project aid, commodities and food, and GPGs and NGOs. The United States is among one of the ten largest donors to Mali, along with Canada and France. The United States is the largest donor in the areas of agriculture, food security, and infrastructure, while Canada is the largest donor to health. Although Mali is still very poor, I think it is good that the United States has taken steps to give Mali a lot of ODA. However, Mali’s economy has not improved by a lot, so I think it would be a good idea to research the areas where aid can be given to and see what will make for long-term improvement.
The World Bank wrote that the world had cut the 1990 poverty rate in half by 2015 five years ahead of schedule. However, 17% of people in developing countries live at or below $1.25 a day. The world’s extreme poverty rate is about 15%, meaning that Sachs was right about the extreme poverty rate declining to about 20% or lower by 2015.. Mali’s poverty rate in 2006 was 47.5%. In 2010, it was recorded as being 43.6%.
In Chapter 16, Sachs gives examples of many ideas citizens of the developed world have about giving aid to third world countries. These include:
1. Aid would go right down the drain because education levels are so low that these programs would fail
2. Africa is corrupt and full of authoritarianism.
3. Africa lacks modern values and a free market economy.
4. If aid saved Africa’s children, there would be a population explosion and many hungry adults.
I have definitely heard of most of these myths, and have been guilty of seeing some truth to them. The one myth that I have heard the most is that aid would go down the drain because of the poor education levels in Africa. I see a little bit of truth to this one just because of what I have learned in class about aid programs not working before because Africa wasn’t taught how to use the money, but I think that this problem could be avoided by being more involved in the country, sending volunteers and experts who can actually make a difference in how the countries spend the aid money. On the topic of thinking globally, Sachs talks about how having a global responsibility of helping developing countries will have global benefits. However, to achieve these benefits, a poor country needs assistance from rich countries who have achieved success themselves.
In Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo states the objections about China’s record on governance and human rights that many other countries have. However, she also recognizes that many surveys given in African nations say that China’s involvement is viewed not only favorably, but more favorably than the United States’ involvement. For example, China has had a strong involvement in rebuilding the Nigerian railroad. China’s no-strings-attached approach to its investment in Africa shows how they are using their money to gain stricter control in Africa, which could turn out to be dangerous if they use their power in the wrong way.