Books: Common Wealth

I picked this book up in Nairobi, Kenya back in June this year. I started to read it and then just lost the time to provide the right amount of attention, I wanted to give to reading and thinking it through. Ive now been finally able to sit down and read it of which I can say, it has proved to be worth the wait.

Jeffrey Sachs is an economist, researcher and advisor. He has become over his career a leading voice on sustainable development, developing countries, global economics and climate change. His previous book, The End of Poverty, became a landmark manifesto and action plan for carrying out the Millennium Development Goals by charting a course to see the end of poverty.

Again, I actually purchased this on the flight back from Uganda in 2006. Shattered and inspired from the first visit I had made to Africa, I picked Sachs book up from an airport bookstore and began to discover what a new world could look like.

In this book, Common Wealth, Sachs lays down once again the absolute importance, of planning and devising action plans to see not only the end of poverty through sustainable development, but to view the present challenges and crises as much bigger than what is presently visible. There is always a reason behind the devastation, destruction and depletion. He outlines the ignorance of government war games and identifies the necessary strategies that will see hope come for present and future generations.

Extreme poverty has plagued the planet for centuries but the truth is, that some of the most challenging counties such as India, China, Korea and Taiwan have found a way through. Africa has a long way to go as it has almost gone backwards, but, as Sachs suggests this no reason to believe that change isn’t possible, even in a continent as complex as Africa.

It’s so easy and convenient to look at developing countries through the lens of failed states, war, religion and poverty and assume that nothing new will ever come of these situations. The harder but greater reward lies in our ability to focus our energy and passion, channel our resources and find new opportunities to be the kind of people that are; humankind.

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