Winner of the National Book Award | The PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award | The Los Angeles Times Book Prize | The American Academy of Arts and Letters Award | The New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times • The Washington Post • O: The Oprah Magazine • USA Today • New York • The Miami Herald • San Francisco Chronicle • Newsday
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New Yorker • People • Entertainment Weekly • The Wall Street Journal • The Boston Globe • The Economist • Financial Times • Newsweek/The Daily Beast • Foreign Policy • The Seattle Times • The Nation • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Denver Post • Minneapolis Star Tribune • Salon • The Plain Dealer • The Week • Kansas City Star • Slate • Time Out New York • Publishers Weekly
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“A book of extraordinary intelligence [and] humanity . . . beyond groundbreaking.”—Junot Díaz, The New York Times Book Review
“Reported like Watergate, written like Great Expectations, and handily the best international nonfiction in years.”—New York
“This book is both a tour de force of social justice reportage and a literary masterpiece.”—Judges’ Citation for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award
“[A] landmark book.”—The Wall Street Journal
“A triumph of a book.”—Amartya Sen
“There are books that change the way you feel and see; this is one of them.”—Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
“[A] stunning piece of narrative nonfiction . . . [Katherine] Boo’s prose is electric.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Inspiring, and irresistible . . . Boo’s extraordinary achievement is twofold. She shows us how people in the most desperate circumstances can find the resilience to hang on to their humanity. Just as important, she makes us care.”—People
For Deep Down Dark, the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Héctor Tobar received exclusive access to the miners and their tales. These thirty-three men came to think of the mine, a cavern inflicting constant and thundering aural torment, as a kind of coffin, and as a church where they sought redemption through prayer. Even while still buried, they all agreed that if by some miracle any of them escaped alive, they would share their story only collectively. Héctor Tobar was the person they chose to hear, and now to tell, that story.
The result is a masterwork or narrative journalism—a riveting, at times shocking, emotionally textured account of a singular human event. A New York Times bestseller, Deep Down Dark brings to haunting, tactile life the experience of being imprisoned inside a mountain of stone, the horror of being slowly consumed by hunger, and the spiritual and mystical elements that surrounded working in such a dangerous place. In its stirring final chapters, it captures the profound way in which the lives of everyone involved in the disaster were forever changed.
A riveting, raw, and beautiful memoir of tragedy and hope
Born in a village deep in the Cambodian forest, Somaly Mam was sold into sexual slavery by her grandfather when she was twelve years old. For the next decade she was shuttled through the brothels that make up the sprawling sex trade of Southeast Asia. Trapped in this dangerous and desperate world, she suffered the brutality and horrors of human trafficking—rape, torture, deprivation—until she managed to escape with the help of a French aid worker. Emboldened by her newfound freedom, education, and security, Somaly blossomed but remained haunted by the girls in the brothels she left behind.
Written in exquisite, spare, unflinching prose, The Road of Lost Innocence recounts the experiences of her early life and tells the story of her awakening as an activist and her harrowing and brave fight against the powerful and corrupt forces that steal the lives of these girls. She has orchestrated raids on brothels and rescued sex workers, some as young as five and six; she has built shelters, started schools, and founded an organization that has so far saved more than four thousand women and children in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. Her memoir will leave you awestruck by her tenacity and courage and will renew your faith in the power of an individual to bring about change.
To learn more about how you can help fight human trafficking, visit the foundation’s website: www.somaly.org.
Banker to the Poor is Muhammad Yunus's memoir of how he decided to change his life in order to help the world's poor. In it he traces the intellectual and spiritual journey that led him to fundamentally rethink the economic relationship between rich and poor, and the challenges he and his colleagues faced in founding Grameen. He also provides wise, hopeful guidance for anyone who would like to join him in "putting homelessness and destitution in a museum so that one day our children will visit it and ask how we could have allowed such a terrible thing to go on for so long." The definitive history of micro-credit direct from the man that conceived of it, Banker to the Poor is necessary and inspirational reading for anyone interested in economics, public policy, philanthropy, social history, and business.
Muhammad Yunus was born in Bangladesh and earned his Ph.D. in economics in the United States at Vanderbilt University, where he was deeply influenced by the civil rights movement. He still lives in Bangladesh, and travels widely around the world on behalf of Grameen Bank and the concept of micro-credit.
This rare, experiential narrative provides an insiders view of people and circumstances that reaches beyond ubiquitous news headlines of wars, invasions, coups, and droughts. It reveals the unexpected hazards, elusive joys, difficult decisions, and subtle complexities in a country where peace may come when bamboo bloom.
For more information please see the book website: http://kickingawaytheladder.anthempressblog.com
Bloomberg • Forbes • The Spectator
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.
This is the story of two young people from completely different worlds: Kennedy Odede from Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, and Jessica Posner from Denver, Colorado. Kennedy foraged for food, lived on the street, and taught himself to read with old newspapers. When an American volunteer gave him the work of Mandela, Garvey, and King, teenaged Kennedy decided he was going to change his life and his community. He bought a soccer ball and started a youth empowerment group he called Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO). Then in 2007, Wesleyan undergraduate Jessica Posner spent a semester abroad in Kenya working with SHOFCO. Breaking all convention, she decided to live in Kibera with Kennedy, and they fell in love.Their connection persisted, and Jessica helped Kennedy to escape political violence and fulfill his lifelong dream of an education, at Wesleyan University.
The alchemy of their remarkable union has drawn the support of community members and celebrities alike—The Clintons, Mia Farrow, and Nicholas Kristof are among their fans—and their work has changed the lives of many of Kibera’s most vulnerable population: its girls. Jess and Kennedy founded Kibera’s first tuition-free school for girls, a large, bright blue building, which stands as a bastion of hope in what once felt like a hopeless place. But Jessica and Kennedy are just getting started—they have expanded their model to connect essential services like health care, clean water, and economic empowerment programs. They’ve opened an identical project in Mathare, Kenya’s second largest slum, and intend to expand their remarkably successful program for change.
Ultimately this is a love story about a fight against poverty and hopelessness, the transformation made possible by a true love, and the power of young people to have a deep impact on the world.
A leading expert on modern-day slavery, Kevin Bales has traveled to some of the world’s most dangerous places documenting and battling human trafficking. In the course of his reporting, Bales began to notice a pattern emerging: Where slavery existed, so did massive, unchecked environmental destruction. But why?
Bales set off to find the answer in a fascinating and moving journey that took him into the lives of modern-day slaves and along a supply chain that leads directly to the cellphones in our pockets. What he discovered is that even as it destroys individuals, families, and communities, new forms of slavery that proliferate in the world’s lawless zones also pose a grave threat to the environment. Simply put, modern-day slavery is destroying the planet.
The product of seven years of travel and research, Blood and Earth brings us dramatic stories from the world’s most beautiful and tragic places, the environmental and human-rights hotspots where this crisis is concentrated. But it also tells the stories of some of the most common products we all consume—from computers to shrimp to jewelry—whose origins are found in these same places.
Blood and Earth calls on us to recognize the grievous harm we have done to one another, put an end to it, and recommit to repairing the world. This is a clear-eyed and inspiring book that suggests how we can begin the work of healing humanity and the planet we share.
Praise for Blood and Earth
“A heart-wrenching narrative . . . Weaving together interviews, history, and statistics, the author shines a light on how the poverty, chaos, wars, and government corruption create the perfect storm where slavery flourishes and environmental destruction follows. . . . A clear-eyed account of man’s inhumanity to man and Earth. Read it to get informed, and then take action.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[An] exposé of the global economy’s ‘deadly dance’ between slavery and environmental disaster . . . Based on extensive travels through eastern Congo’s mineral mines, Bangladeshi fisheries, Ghanian gold mines, and Brazilian forests, Bales reveals the appalling truth in graphic detail. . . . Readers will be deeply disturbed to learn how the links connecting slavery, environmental issues, and modern convenience are forged.”—Publishers Weekly
“This well-researched and vivid book studies the connection between slavery and environmental destruction, and what it will take to end both.”—Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“This is a remarkable book, demonstrating once more the deep links between the ongoing degradation of the planet and the ongoing degradation of its most vulnerable people. It’s a bracing reminder that a mentality that allows throwaway people also allows a throwaway earth.”—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
From the Hardcover edition.
Eduardo Galeano, author of the incomparable Memory of Fire Trilogy, combines a novelist's intensity, a poet's lyricism, a journalist's fearlessness, and the strong judgments of an engaged historian. Now his talents are richly displayed in Upside Down, an eloquent, passionate, sometimes hilarious exposé of our first-world privileges and assumptions. In a series of lesson plans and a "program of study" about our beleaguered planet, Galeano takes the reader on a wild trip through the global looking glass. From a master class in "The Impunity of Power" to a seminar on "The Sacred Car"--with tips along the way on "How to Resist Useless Vices" and a declaration of "The Right to Rave"--he surveys a world unevenly divided between abundance and deprivation, carnival and torture, power and helplessness. We have accepted a reality we should reject, Galeano teaches us, one where machines are more precious than humans, people are hungry, poverty kills, and children toil from dark to dark.
A work of fire and charm, Upside Down makes us see the world anew and even glimpse how it might be set right.
"Galeano's outrage is tempered by intelligence, an ineradicable sense of humor, and hope." -Los Angeles Times, front page
More than half of American adults gave money for Haiti, part of a monumental response totaling $16.3 billion in pledges. But three years later the relief effort has foundered. It's most basic promises—to build safer housing for the homeless, alleviate severe poverty, and strengthen Haiti to face future disasters—remain unfulfilled.
The Big Truck That Went By presents a sharp critique of international aid that defies today's conventional wisdom; that the way wealthy countries give aid makes poor countries seem irredeemably hopeless, while trapping millions in cycles of privation and catastrophe. Katz follows the money to uncover startling truths about how good intentions go wrong, and what can be done to make aid "smarter."
With coverage of Bill Clinton, who came to help lead the reconstruction; movie-star aid worker Sean Penn; Wyclef Jean; Haiti's leaders and people alike, Katz weaves a complex, darkly funny, and unexpected portrait of one of the world's most fascinating countries. The Big Truck That Went By is not only a definitive account of Haiti's earthquake, but of the world we live in today.
Ross traces the oil curse to the upheaval of the 1970s, when oil prices soared and governments across the developing world seized control of their countries' oil industries. Before nationalization, the oil-rich countries looked much like the rest of the world; today, they are 50 percent more likely to be ruled by autocrats--and twice as likely to descend into civil war--than countries without oil.
The Oil Curse shows why oil wealth typically creates less economic growth than it should; why it produces jobs for men but not women; and why it creates more problems in poor states than in rich ones. It also warns that the global thirst for petroleum is causing companies to drill in increasingly poor nations, which could further spread the oil curse.
This landmark book explains why good geology often leads to bad governance, and how this can be changed.
In the absence of infrastructure, the first Gaviotans invented wind turbines to convert mild breezes into energy, hand pumps capable of tapping deep sources of water, and solar collectors efficient enough to heat and even sterilize drinking water under perennially cloudy llano skies. Over time, the Gaviotans’ experimentation has even restored an ecosystem: in the shelter of two million Caribbean pines planted as a source of renewable commercial resin, a primordial rain forest that once covered the llanos is unexpectedly reestablishing itself.
Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez has called Paolo Lugari “Inventor of the World.” Lugari himself has said that Gaviotas is not a utopia: “Utopia literally means ‘no place.’ We call Gaviotas a topia, because it’s real.”
Relive their story with this special 10th-anniversary edition of Gaviotas, complete with a new afterword by the author describing how Gaviotas has survived and progressed over the past decade.
Bhagwati and Panagariya argue forcefully that only one strategy will help the poor to any significant effect: economic growth, led by markets overseen and encouraged by liberal state policies. Their radical message has huge consequences for economists, development NGOs and anti-poverty campaigners worldwide. There are vital lessons here not only for Southeast Asia, but for Africa, Eastern Europe, and anyone who cares that the effort to eradicate poverty is more than just good intentions. If you want it to work, you need growth. With all that implies.
Acclaimed as "extraordinary" (The New York Times) and "a classic" (Los Angeles Times), The Big Necessity is on its way to removing the taboo on bodily waste—something common to all and as natural as breathing. We prefer not to talk about it, but we should—even those of us who take care of our business in pristine, sanitary conditions. Disease spread by waste kills more people worldwide every year than any other single cause of death. Even in America, nearly two million people have no access to an indoor toilet. Yet the subject remains unmentionable.
Moving from the underground sewers of Paris, London, and New York (an infrastructure disaster waiting to happen) to an Indian slum where ten toilets are shared by 60,000 people, The Big Necessity breaks the silence, revealing everything that matters about how people do—and don't—deal with their own waste. With razor-sharp wit and crusading urgency, mixing levity with gravity, Rose George has turned the subject we like to avoid into a cause with the most serious of consequences.
In the wake of the AIDS pandemic, legions of organizations and compassionate individuals descended on Africa from faraway places to offer their help and save lives. A Fraught Embrace shows how the dreams of these altruists became entangled with complex institutional and human relationships. Ann Swidler and Susan Cotts Watkins vividly describe the often mismatched expectations and fantasies of those who seek to help, of the villagers who desperately seek help, and of the brokers on whom both Western altruists and impoverished villagers must rely.
Based on years of fieldwork in the heavily AIDS-affected country of Malawi, this powerful book digs into the sprawling AIDS enterprise and unravels the paradoxes of AIDS policy and practice. All who want to do good—from idealistic volunteers to world-weary development professionals—depend on brokers as guides, fixers, and cultural translators. These irreplaceable but frequently unseen local middlemen are the human connection between altruists' dreams and the realities of global philanthropy.
The mutual misunderstandings among donors, brokers, and villagers—each with their own desires and moral imaginations—create all the drama of a romance: longing, exhilaration, disappointment, heartache, and sometimes an enduring connection. Personal stories, public scandals, and intersecting, sometimes clashing fantasies bring the lofty intentions of AIDS altruism firmly down to earth.
Swidler and Watkins ultimately argue that altruists could accomplish more good, not by seeking to transform African lives but by helping Africans achieve their own goals. A Fraught Embrace unveils the tangled relations of those involved in the collective struggle to contain an epidemic.
India is the world’s largest democracy, with more than one billion people and an economy expanding faster than China’s. But the rewards of this growth have been far from evenly shared, and the country’s top 1% now own nearly 60% of its wealth. In megacities like Mumbai, where half the population live in slums, the extraordinary riches of India’s new dynasties echo the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers of America's Gilded Age, funneling profits from huge conglomerates into lifestyles of conspicuous consumption.
James Crabtree’s The Billionaire Raj takes readers on a personal journey to meet these reclusive billionaires, fugitive tycoons, and shadowy political power brokers. From the sky terrace of the world’s most expensive home to impoverished villages and mass political rallies, Crabtree dramatizes the battle between crony capitalists and economic reformers, revealing a tense struggle between equality and privilege playing out against a combustible backdrop of aspiration, class, and caste.
The Billionaire Raj is a vivid account of a divided society on the cusp of transformation—and a struggle that will shape not just India’s future, but the world’s.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Kenny shows how the spread of cheap technologies, such as vaccines and bed nets, and ideas, such as political rights, has transformed the world. He also shows that by understanding this transformation, we can make the world an even better place to live.
That's not to say that life is grand for everyone, or that we don't have a long way to go. But improvements have spread far, and, according to Kenny, they can spread even further.
“The heart of entrepreneurship is never about what we have. It’s about what we do.”
Meet Patrick, who had next to nothing and started a thriving business using just the ground beneath his feet . . .
Blessing, who built her shop right in the middle of the road, refusing to take the chance that her customers might pass her by . . .
Constance, who cornered the banana market in her African village with her big personality and sense of mission.
Patrick, Blessing, Constance, and many others are among the poorest of the world’s poor. And yet they each had crucial lessons to teach Jessica Jackley—lessons about resilience, creativity, perseverance, and, above all, entrepreneurship.
For as long as she could remember, Jackley, the co-founder of the revolutionary microlending site Kiva, had a singular and urgent ambition: to help alleviate global poverty. While in her twenties, she set off for Africa to finally meet the people she had long dreamed of helping. The insights of those she met changed her understanding. Today she believes that many of the most inspiring entrepreneurs in the world are not focused on high-tech ventures or making a lot of money; instead, they wake up every day and build better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities, regardless of the things they lack or the obstacles they encounter. As Jackley puts it, “The greatest entrepreneurs succeed not because of what they possess but because of what they are determined to do.”
In Clay Water Brick, Jackley challenges readers to embrace entrepreneurship as a powerful force for change in the world. She shares her own story of founding Kiva with little more than a laptop and a dream, and the stories and the lessons she has learned from those across the globe who are doing the most with the least.
Praise for Clay Water Brick
“Jessica Jackley didn’t wait for permission to change the world—she just did it. It turns out that you can too.”—Seth Godin, author of What to Do When It’s Your Turn
“Fascinating . . . gripping . . . bursting with lessons . . . Jessica Jackley has written a remarkable book . . . so thoroughly well meaning and engagingly put it is too magnetic to put down.”—Financial Times
“Clay Water Brick is a tremendously inspiring read. Jessica Jackley, the virtuoso co-founder of the revolutionary microlending platform Kiva, shares uplifting stories and compelling lessons on entrepreneurship, resilience, and character.”—Adam Grant, author of Give and Take
“A blueprint for anyone who wants to make the world a better place and find fulfillment in the process, no matter how scarce their resources or how steep the challenge.”—Arianna Huffington
“This book is inspirational. And honest and practical. . . . Well written, thoughtful: a selfless account of how to succeed by doing right and following your heart.”—Booklist
“Virtuosic. A master writer, reporter, comic and playwright. Spalding Gray is a sit-down monologist with the soul of a stand-up comedian. A contemporary Gulliver, he travels the globe in search of experience and finds the ridiculous.”—The New York Times
In 2004, we mourned the loss of one of America’s true theatrical innovators. Spalding Gray took his own life by jumping from the Staten Island ferry into the waters of New York Harbor, finally succumbing to the impossible notion that he could in fact swim to Cambodia. At a memorial gathering for family, friends and fans at Lincoln Center in New York, his widow expressed the need to honor Gray’s legacy as an artist and writer for his children, as well as for future generations of fans and readers. Originally published in 1985, Swimming to Cambodia is reissued here 20 years later in a new edition as a tribute to Gray’s singular artistry.
Writer, actor and performer, Spalding Gray is the author of Sex and Death to the Age 14; Monster in a Box; It’s a Slippery Slope; Gray’s Anatomy and Morning, Noon and Night, among other works. His appearance in The Killing Fields was the inspiration for his Swimming to Cambodia, which was also filmed by Jonathan Demme.
Readers of David Roodman's openbook blog will immediately recognize his thorough, straightforward, and trenchant analysis. Due Diligence, written entirely in public with input from readers, probes the truth about microfinance to guide governments, foundations, investors, and private citizens who support financial services for poor people. In particular, it explains the need to deemphasize microcredit in favor of other financial services for the poor.
Drawing on more than two years of research in Indonesia, most of which took place at state-owned Krakatau Steel, Rudnyckyj shows how self-styled "spiritual reformers" seek to enhance the Islamic piety of workers across Southeast Asia and beyond. Deploying vivid description and a keen ethnographic sensibility, Rudnyckyj depicts a program called Emotional and Spiritual Quotient (ESQ) training that reconfigures Islamic practice and history to make the religion compatible with principles for corporate success found in Euro-American management texts, self-help manuals, and life-coaching sessions. The prophet Muhammad is represented as a model for a corporate CEO and the five pillars of Islam as directives for self-discipline, personal responsibility, and achieving "win-win" solutions.
Spiritual Economies reveals how capitalism and religion are converging in Indonesia and other parts of the developing and developed world. Rudnyckyj offers an alternative to the commonly held view that religious practice serves as a refuge from or means of resistance against modernization and neoliberalism. Moreover, his innovative approach charts new avenues for future research on globalization, religion, and the predicaments of modern life.
In Fighting Corruption Is Dangerous, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has written a primer for those working to root out corruption and disrupt vested interests. Drawing on her experience as Nigeria's finance minister and that of her team, she describes dangers, pitfalls, and successes in fighting corruption. She provides practical lessons learned and tells how anti-corruption advocates need to equip themselves. Okonjo-Iweala details the numerous ways in which corruption can divert resources away from development, rewarding the unscrupulous and depriving poor people of services.
Okonjo-Iweala discovered just how dangerous fighting corruption could be when her 83-year-old mother was kidnapped in 2012 by forces who objected to some of the government's efforts at reforms led by Okonjo-Iweala—in particular a crackdown on fraudulent claims for oil subsidy payments, a huge drain on the country's finances. The kidnappers' first demand was that Okonjo-Iweala resign from her position on live television and leave the country. Okonjo-Iweala did not resign, her mother escaped, and the program of economic reforms continued. “Telling my story is risky,” Okonjo-Iweala writes. “But not telling it is also dangerous.” Her book ultimately leaves us with hope, showing that victories are possible in the fight against corruption.
Designed for introductory-level students in global and international studies, human geography, anthropology, sociology, and development studies, this highly accessible text offers instructors and students a unique way of matching the concepts they learn in the classroom with important issues in the world in which they live and work.
“Utterly original.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Mixing bold journalism with bolder allegories, Mr. Szabłowski teaches us with witty persistence that we must desire freedom rather than simply expect it.” —Timothy Snyder, New York Times bestselling author of On Tyranny and The Road to Unfreedom
An award-winning journalist’s incisive, humorous, and heartbreaking account of people in formerly Communist countries holding fast to their former lives
For hundreds of years, Bulgarian Gypsies trained bears to dance, welcoming them into their families and taking them on the road to perform. In the early 2000s, with the fall of Communism, they were forced to release the bears into a wildlife refuge. But even today, whenever the bears see a human, they still get up on their hind legs to dance.
In the tradition of Ryszard Kapuściński, award-winning Polish journalist Witold Szabłowski uncovers remarkable stories of people throughout Eastern Europe and in Cuba who, like Bulgaria’s dancing bears, are now free but who seem nostalgic for the time when they were not. His on-the-ground reporting—of smuggling a car into Ukraine, hitchhiking through Kosovo as it declares independence, arguing with Stalin-adoring tour guides at the Stalin Museum, sleeping in London’s Victoria Station alongside a homeless woman from Poland, and giving taxi rides to Cubans fearing for the life of Fidel Castro—provides a fascinating portrait of social and economic upheaval and a lesson in the challenges of freedom and the seductions of authoritarian rule.
From the Introduction:
“Guys with wacky hair who promise a great deal have been springing up in our part of the world like mushrooms after rain. And people go running after them, like bears after their keepers. . . . Fear of a changing world, and longing for someone . . . who will promise that life will be the same as it was in the past, are not confined to Regime-Change Land. In half the West, empty promises are made, wrapped in shiny paper like candy. And for this candy, people are happy to get up on their hind legs and dance.”
Hilton Root examines the frontier between risk and uncertainty, analyzing the forces driving development in both developed and undeveloped regions. In the former, he argues, institutions reduce everyday economic risks to levels low enough to make people receptive to opportunities for profit, stimulating developments in technology and science. Not so in developing countries. There, institutions that specialize in sharing risk are scarce. Money hides under mattresses and in teapots, creating a gap between a poor nation's savings and its investment. As a consequence, the developing world faces a growing disconnect between the value of its resources and the availability of finance.
What are the remedies for eliminating this disparity? Root shows us how to close the growing wealth gap among nations by building institutions that convert uncertainty into risk. Comparing China to India, Latin America to East Asia, and contemporary to historical cases, he offers lessons that can help the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to tackle the political incentives that are the source of poor governance in developing nations.
Recent advances in the reach and technological sophistication of identification systems have been nothing less than revolutionary. Since 2000, over 60 developing countries have established national ID programs. Digital technology, particularly biometrics such as fingerprints and iris scans, has dramatically expanded the capabilities of these programs. Individuals can now be uniquely identified and reliably authenticated against their claimed identities. By enabling governments to work more effectively and transparently, identification is becoming a tool for accelerating development progress. Not only is provision of legal identity for all a target under the Sustainable Development Goals, but this book shows how it is also central to achieving numerous other SDG targets.
Yet, challenges remain. Identification systems can fail to include the poor, leaving them still unable to exercise their rights, access essential services, or fully participate in political and economic life. The possible erosion of privacy and the misuse of personal data, especially in countries that lack data privacy laws or the capacity to enforce them, is another challenge. Yet another is ensuring that investments in identification systems deliver a development payoff. There are all too many examples where large expenditures—sometimes supported by donor governments or agencies—appear to have had little impact.
Identification Revolution: Can Digital ID be Harnessed for Development? offers a balanced perspective on this new area, covering both the benefits and the risks of the identification revolution, as well as pinpointing opportunities to mitigate those risks.