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Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail par [Polak, Paul]
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Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail Format Kindle

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Longueur : 253 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
Page Flip: Activé Langue : Anglais

Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Based on his 25 years of experience, Polak explodes what he calls the "Three Great Poverty Eradication Myths": that we can donate people out of poverty, that national economic growth will end poverty, and that Big Business, operating as it does now, will end poverty. Polak shows that programs based on these ideas have utterly failed--in fact, in sub-Saharan Africa poverty rates have actually gone up. These failed top-down efforts contrast sharply with the grassroots approach Polak and IDE have championed: helping the dollar-a-day poor earn more money through their own efforts. Amazingly enough, unexploited market opportunities do exist for the desperately poor. Polak describes how he and others have identified these opportunities and have developed innovative, low-cost tools that have helped in lifting 17 million people out of poverty.

Publisher comments


My fifteen-month-old grandson, Ethan, has fallen in love with a neighbor's driveway. It sits two houses down from where he lives in Sebastopol, California, and it seems to overflow with small, multi - colored stones. He stops there when I take him for a walk, and then he refuses to leave. He picks up a handful of stones and inspects each one carefully. He places them one after another in my hand, watching intently, and I give them back to him one by one until his hand is full again. I don't know who has given him the job of turning every little stone over and over in his hand until he understands its very essence, but that's the job he has accepted, and he's not leaving until it's done. He plops down on his butt and cuffs the stones into a pile, looks at me, and knocks it down and giggles. He can keep this up for hours, and if I pick him up to take him home, he cries. His playful curiosity is infectious, and I think I must have inherited a lot of genes from Ethan, because I operate just as he does. I live to play and to satisfy my curiosity.

For the past twenty-five years, two questions have kept my curiosity aroused: What makes poor people poor? And what can they do about their poverty?

Because of these infernal questions, I've dozed off during hundreds of long jeep rides with good companions over dusty, potholed roads. I've had thousands of conversations with one-acre farmers with dirt on their hands. We've walked along their patches of ten-foot-high black pepper vines in the central hills of Vietnam beside jungle permanently scarred by Agent Orange. We've strolled together through their scattered quarter-acre plots in the drab brown winter plains of the Gangetic delta in Uttar Pradesh, and they have offered me more cups of steaming tea than my seventy-three-year-old kidneys can take. I love discovering new things from people nobody else ever seems to listen to, and I love talking them into trying out some of the crazy ideas that we come up with together. I have learned more from talking with these poor farmers than from any other thing I have done in my life.

This book will tell their story and describe some of the things these people have taught me. It will tell the story of Krishna Bahadur Thapa and his family, and of how they moved from barely surviving on less than a dollar a day to earning forty-eight hundred dollars a year from their two-acre farm in the hills of Nepal. I tell many stories like Baha - dur's in this book, and I hope that each one of them satisfies another small bit of your curiosity about how people who are extremely poor live their lives and dream their dreams. Best of all, what I learned from these people has been put to work in straightforward strategies that millions of other poor people have used to end their poverty forever.

Each of the practical solutions to poverty I describe is obvious and direct. For example, since 800 million of the people whose families survive on less than a dollar a day earn their living from small farms, why not start by looking for ways they can make more money from farming? And since these farmers work for less than a dollar a day, why not look for ways they can take advantage of their remarkably low labor rates by growing high-value, labor-intensive cash crops and selling them at the time of year when these crops will fetch the highest prices? If it is true that common sense is not really common, and that seeing and doing the obvious are even less so, then some of the conclusions I draw from my conversations with poor people will surprise you: they certainly fly in the face of conventional theory and practice in the development field.

I hate books about poverty that make you feel guilty, as well as dry, academic ones that put you to sleep. Working to alleviate poverty is a lively, exciting field capable of generating new hope and inspiration, not feelings of gloom and doom. Learning the truth about poverty generates disruptive innovations capable of enriching the lives of rich people even more than those of poor people.

The first section of the book explains how I became curious about poverty, describes the process I learned for finding creative solutions to just about any major social problem, and challenges the three great poverty eradication myths that have inhibited doing the obvious to end poverty.

The next section, Chapters 3 to 8, describes what many small-acreage farmers have taught me, a practical approach capable of ending the poverty of some 800 million of the world's dollar-a-day people. For poor people themselves, there is little doubt that the single most important step they can take to move out of poverty is to learn how to make more money. The way to do it is through grassroots enterprises --just about all of the poor are already tough, stubborn, survival entrepreneurs--and they have to find ways to make their enterprises more profitable. For small-farm enterprises, the path to new wealth lies in growing market-centered, high-value, labor-intensive cash crops. To accomplish this, poor farmers need access to affordable irrigation, a new generation of farming methods and inputs customized to fit tiny farms, the creation of vibrant new markets that bring them the seeds and fertilizers they need, and open access to markets where smallacreage farmers can sell their products at a profit. This range of new products and services for poor customers can only be created by a revolution in current design practice, based on the ruthless pursuit of affordability. Chapter 9 describes how the principles discussed in the earlier chapters can be applied to helping poor people living in urban slums and on the sidewalks of cities in developing countries.

In the wrap-up section, Chapter 10 describes the central role poverty plays in most of the problems facing planet Earth; Chapter 11 describes what donors, governments, universities, research institutions, and the rest of us can do to end poverty; and Chapter 12 tells how Bahadur and his family finally moved out of poverty.

My hope is that you will come away from reading this book energized and inspired. There is much to be done.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2935 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 253 pages
  • Editeur : Berrett-Koehler Publishers (14 septembre 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B007ZH6WJY
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5 1 commentaire client
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Format: Broché
I am not really someone who gets excited about books on poverty, poverty alleviation, and “social” work in general. Not out of callousness or unconcern with those affected by these issues. I just find most writing on this subject very intellectually shallow, and filled with do-good rhetoric without any concrete realizable effects. In fact, the total lack of success of all well-meaning and over bloated poverty reduction programs, both in the West and the Third World, have made me a bit cynical about the prospects of investing any measure of intellectual effort into trying to understand these problems and appreciate the solutions that really work. So with all that in mind, I was quite amazed with how interesting, educational and inspiring “Out of Poverty” turned out to be.

There are two main features of the book “Out of Poverty” that make it stand out compared to all the other poverty and poverty relief accounts that I’ve come across. The first one is that this is a very hands-on down-to-earth approach to understanding and working with poor people. The author is not a first-world think tank wonk who spends most of his time immersed in the library of some ivory tower institution. He spent a considerable amount of time talking to, and most importantly listening to poor people from around the world. Every page of this book exudes the sense of trust that people who are most affected by poverty are the ones who understand their predicament the best and are able to provide the best insight for the possible solutions to their problems. Which brings me to the second distinguishing feature of this book: its unwavering belief in the enterprising spirit of every human being.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x8e95b4ec) étoiles sur 5 40 commentaires
20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8ea6dbc4) étoiles sur 5 An outstanding summary of 26 years focused on the small plot farmer 18 mars 2008
Par E. Mandell - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Polak comes from a very practical, farmer-focused perspective that acknowledges the broader poverty debate but puts a premium on what the farmer wants and needs, and focuses on market-based products and solutions that help farmers get out of poverty. The drip irrigation systems, treadle pumps, water storage and other products described in the book are the definition of demand-driven and are offered at prices farmers can afford and in ways that make money for those providing the products. All of the solutions in the book are offered through markets, and always take into account scalability and sustainability (acknowledging the need for some subsidy or other financing mechanism up front to prove the case).

The power of Polak's arguments are in the examples that he weaves throughout the book. (His skepticism of "the experts" comes through in some of the examples in helpful ways as well). After having read a number of the current development thinkers, I would recommend this book above the others for its ability to start with the needs of the poor farmer, highlight solutions, explain why they are sustainable through markets, and issue a challenge to development professionals and product designers around the world for how to make money while also serving the needs of the poor who represent a large and untapped market.

The book made me want to go out and start a business that serves such large unmet needs. I highly recommend the book - a good read and a great, practical, down-to-earth reminder of what matters to people who live on less than $1/day -- affordability and practical use.
26 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8e959d80) étoiles sur 5 How do we change how the world thinks and acts about dollar-a-day poverty? 31 janvier 2008
Par Karin Hibma - Publié sur
Format: Relié
In July 2005, we met Dr. Paul Polak at the first Aspen Leadership Summit and began to understand his insights and work of twenty-five years. He described "The Four Revolutions Needed to End Poverty" in a way that inspired us as designers and problem-solvers:

"I believe that nothing less than revolutions in water, agriculture, markets, and design are needed. All four are doable and practical, and I'm committed to making them happen before I die.

How do we change how the world thinks and acts about dollar-a-day poverty? I want to make three things happen:

Change the way design is taught in the west.

Change the way design is taught in developing countries.

Create a platform for 10,000 of the world's best designers to address the practical problems of the other 90% of the world's customers."

This delightful book is the beginning of finding ways for everyone to jump in as major players, in a way that fits with their dreams. It's an education, an insightful and inspiring process and a great opportunity for us all.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8eaf8e64) étoiles sur 5 Smart, Clear, Revolutionary and Effective 31 janvier 2008
Par Michael P. Cronan - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Paul Polack's Out of Poverty is a straightforward and entertaining presentation of his outstanding discoveries in ending dollar-a-day poverty throughout the developing world. Paul's work over the past twenty-five years has helped millions of farming families invest in their own futures and this book traces his journeys and the profound understandings that became clear to him along the way. His process is revolutionary yet downright practical and simple to implement, and astonishingly effective. It was fascinating to learn how charity can actually create greater need and it is delightfully reassuring to see that his perspectives are launching a new class of thinking in Design,the creation of markets and the eradication of poverty.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8ee12480) étoiles sur 5 Inspiring book, leaves a little to be desired though 9 mai 2008
Par JustSomeDude - Publié sur
Format: Relié
An inspiring book that makes one think about the greater good that can come out of poverty eradication & how we can all be a part of it.


1. Author does not cover how he made the transition from being a psychiatrist to creating IDE. This makes it harder to understand how one can participate in this cause, even if one wanted to.

2. While the book is a great food for thought, it seems to be more focused on the destination rather than the journey. At times, it reads more like a journal which may be intentional, but this inconsistency gives the reader, a rather half baked impression.

3. Author's disagreement with major organizations such as the UN feel like a rant at times, as he only criticizes them without putting forth any concrete suggestions for bigger issues such as infrastructure (development of roads, bridges, dam development, power generation, healthcare & educational programs).

HASH(0x8e92bf90) étoiles sur 5 This man is a Saint! 23 septembre 2012
Par Joyce - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
To learn about poverty, Paul Polak goes to poor people where they live, focuses on learning from them without assuming he knows, and asks for details of their lives. He was stunned when he learned that people in the World Bank, or in research labs in Stanford, or in FEMA offices of U.S. government, etc., seldom if ever actually visit the people on site that they are commissioned to serve. This book is based on Polak's interviews with three thousand poor farm families and his listening carefully to learn everything he could about the specific context in which they lived and worked. First, he learned that the most direct and cost-effective first step out of poverty is to find ways for poor people to increase their income. That way they can make their own choices. Second, the most effective way to help poor people increase their income is to bring profitability to grassroots enterprises like small farms and small businesses. This is where design comes in. Polak wants to change the way design is done by designing for the 90%. That means designing what the customer (poor people) prefer and can pay for. (The so-called "experts" are worse than useless because of their preconceived notions.) Schumacher's "small is beautiful" is still true and Polak has added, "cheap is beautiful too." Polak's work over the past twenty-five years has helped millions of farming families invest in their own futures. This book traces his journeys to his revolutionary process which is downright practical, simple to implement, and astonishingly effective. In my book, the man is a saint.
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