Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day - Poverty

Today is blog action day, a day where participating bloggers write on the same subject in the hope of opening conversations and perhaps sparking new ideas on a given subject. The subject today is poverty. We all know of many places where we can give our time and money to assist those among us who are hungry, homeless, and suffering other ill effects of poverty, so I am not writing today with a list of organizations you can support. Instead, I would like to share some information about fundamental changes in attitude toward global abundance and wealth and in support of optimism despite the dire news we are currently bombarded with each day. I am recommending a book entitled Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet by Jeffrey D. Sachs.

Publishers Weekly sums it up much better than I can: "In this sobering but optimistic manifesto, development economist Sachs (The End of Poverty) argues that the crises facing humanity are daunting—but solutions to them are readily at hand. Sachs focuses on four challenges for the coming decades: heading off global warming and environmental destruction; stabilizing the world's population; ending extreme poverty; and breaking the political logjams that hinder global cooperation on these issues. The author analyses economic data, demographic trends and climate science to create a lucid, accessible and suitably grim exposition of looming problems, but his forte is elaborating concrete, pragmatic, low-cost remedies complete with benchmarks and budgets. Sachs's entire agenda would cost less than 3% of the world's annual income, and he notes that a mere two days' worth of Pentagon spending would fund a comprehensive antimalaria program for Africa, saving countless lives. Forthright government action is the key to avoiding catastrophe, the author contends, not the unilateral, militarized approach to international problems that he claims is pursued by the Bush administration. Combining trenchant analysis with a resounding call to arms, Sachs's book is an important contribution to the debate over the world's future. (Mar.)"

Today I am asking that you set aside the news headlines and think for awhile on poverty as a global problem that we can, indeed, remedy with determination and a compassionate, thoughtful approach that includes everyone on the planet.

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