A powerful portrayal of Jeffrey Sachs’ 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 120-million dollars from George Soros and other like-minded
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. Download and start listening now!