Extreme poverty is the “poverty that kills,” by depriving people of access to their most basic needs: an adequate food supply, safe drinking water, the tools of public health, and a livable environment. Around 1 billion people around the world live in extreme poverty, at a time when the rest of the world has more than met basic needs, and when parts of the world, notably Europe, the U.S., and parts of Asia, are enjoying material wellbeing undreamed of just a generation ago.
This book declares, at the core, that steadfast, science-based approaches can end extreme poverty on the planet. The benefits of modern science and technology which have reached Bulgaria and most of the rest of the world can work for the poorest of the poor as well. For each challenge, whether in much of Africa, parts of the Americas, or remaining pockets of extreme poverty in Asia, we need a sound diagnosis, based on general principles as well as local specificities, and a sound policy response that fits the diagnosis. Poverty reduction needs to be de-mystified and removed from the unedifying battles of high ideology. Malaria will be controlled through bed nets and medicines, not through endless political debates about globalization.
Most importantly, the poorest of the poor need help in solving the practical problems of disease, low crop yields, natural hazards, and economic isolation, which keep them stuck in a trap of extreme poverty. The poor lack the basic tools to grow enough food, fight pandemic diseases, and sell a growing range of products on world markets. Yet by being poor they lack the financial means to obtain those tools on their own. They are stuck in a trap of low productivity, extreme deprivation, and low saving for the future. Global efforts are needed to break this self-reinforcing trap.
With the Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015, we are running out of time to make good on the boldest and most important global commitments to the fight against poverty. Indeed, meeting the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 can and should be our mid-station to the great challenge and possibility of our time: to end extreme poverty on the planet by the year 2025. All people with their eyes open today understand that the failure to achieve peaceful development could also spell the breakdown of global peace itself.(…)