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Maddie Kosar

An end to poverty seems too good to be true. The problem of the distance between rich and the poor has existed for countless centuries. Although we all want to believe that we can eradicate poverty, this goal seems to be unreachable, especially by the year 2030. Sachs' point about the spread of technology, however, does give us hope that we can fix extreme poverty. New technology in medicine allows us to administer it at lower prices and help combat certain diseases that may have impeded people from working. Sachs also mentions that "smartphones are poised to transform education, health care, finance and agricultural value chains." Although these are helpful to reducing poverty, it seems much too optimistic that we can completely rid ourselves of it in such an unpredictable world, but we can certainly keep working towards it.

Kelsey Richardson

Like Maddie said, an end to poverty does seem too good to be true. To some extent, it would probably be realistic to expect at least some existing poverty always within our economy. However, I would agree that eradicating “extreme” poverty, as Sachs puts it, is a very noble goal. I also agree that in order to see noteworthy change that economic growth, and therefore investments, must increase. Sachs mentions that to ensure continued headway in eradicating poverty that we must make sure we are making progress on the fronts of income, health, access to schooling, safe water, etc. Of these focuses, personally, I have always been a proponent that having access to schooling is important in escaping poverty. College financial aid programs, for example, are a benefit that I personally am grateful for. It seems to me that a large component of the poverty issue is that, for many reasons, many of those who are impoverished are helplessly pigeon-holed where they are at—and as the saying goes: “With knowledge comes power.” Education brings about awareness and opportunity crucial to progression. So I agree with Sachs’s calling for both large scale public and private sector investments in things such as education among other leading, contributing factors of poverty. If we can first understand these leading factors, and secondly, successfully rally for growth in those key areas I would be hopeful in our ability to make commendable progress toward decreasing poverty in the future.

Hank Hill

Although I'm not seeing a lot of evidence presented in this article, I do appreciate the optimism. On a non-developmental-economics-note, I believe that our media is too heavily bogged down with an onslaught of negativity--to the point that it even distracts us from reality, from what's actually happening in the world.

Media rant aside, I'm not convinced we can permanently and wholly end poverty around the world. It will exist in some form or another. Maybe the poverty line will increase as the third world countries continue to develop. That being said, I am encouraged to see Professor Sach's examples of improvement (infant mortality rates declining, growth rates increasing, proportion of households under the poverty line decreasing, etc.).

I also strongly agree with his stance concerning the heart of improvement. No single notion, no single plan will eradicate poverty completely. It will take a combination of the public and private sector. Free markets can't fully solve the problems of poverty, but neither can intense government intervention. Everything must work together.

Jacob Strauss

While the article certainly had many positive signs, the title was too optimistic. The number of households below extreme poverty has been expanding for decades, but one of every two people in sub-Saharan is still in poverty. We should expect global economic growth to gradually pull people out of poverty, even if a higher GDP does not mean a higher standard of living. As Sachs points out, cell phones have been key in poverty reduction in Africa, and one of the many benefit of cell phone introduction is increased banking among those that live in rural areas. Future technological advances should continue to reduce poverty, but that does not mean poverty is going to end soon. Sachs is correct in that there is no magic bullet and that those in poverty need help from the public and private sector. Cooperation between these two sectors will be critical in the coming years as the effects of climate change will be felt most by those in developing countries, which could send more back into poverty.

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