Deepa Narayan, Lant Pritchett & Soumya Kapoor. 428 pages. A co-publication of the World Bank and Pelgrave MacMillan, 2009.
Moving Out of Poverty is an engaging read and will be of interest to the academic, the development practitioner, the policy maker and indeed anyone who has an interest in the poverty eradication and economic development effort. The book’s observations and findings are based on first hand narratives and life stories as told by more than 60,000 people, from 500 communities across 21 regions in 15 countries – a truly massive undertaking. It provides an inside look at the lives of the poor, the near poor and even the not so poor. It identifies, from their varied perspectives, the challenges, constraints and obstacles to moving out of poverty and the sometimes more challenging task of staying out of poverty. It effectively consolidates these stories into discussions around the determinants of poverty and what is important at the individual and household level in the fight to reduce poverty.
Regardless of one’s experience in economics, development, sociology or other social science, the book is certain to change one’s views about the nature of poverty. By starting at the ground floor, in talking to thousands and thousands of people, a level of clarity and insight into the condition of poverty is achieved that has rarely been attained elsewhere. And the authors emphasize that poverty is a condition. Throughout the book, the poor themselves are clear in describing poverty as a condition that they temporarily find themselves in; it is not perceived as permanent, or something that defines them. One is not a “poor person”, one is simply presently experiencing poverty. Continue Reading