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Waarom Jeffrey Sachs er toe doet

SEATTLE – Bono noemt econoom Jeffrey Sachs ‘de aandachttrekker die het hardste schreeuwt’. Voor mij is Sachs de Bono van de economie; een man met een indrukwekkende intelligentie, passie en overtuigingskracht die zijn gaven wijdt aan het opkomen voor de armste mensen op de planeet. Dus ik was niet verrast dat een journalist Sachs een fascinerend hoofdpersoon voor een boek zou vinden en een goede manier om lezers te trekken voor het potentieel saaie onderwerp internationale ontwikkeling.

In The Idealist schetst Nina Munk van de Vanity Fair een genuanceerd portret van Sachs en zijn Millennium Villages Project (MVP); een demonstratieproject van 120 miljoen dollar bedoeld om de wereld te laten zien dat het mogelijk is om Afrikaanse dorpen uit de armoede te tillen door een enorme instroom van doelgerichte assistentie. Het zou voor Munk makkelijk zijn geweest en misschien commerciëler om een karikatuur te schetsen, waarbij ze Sachs’ negatieve kwaliteiten zou benadrukken ten koste van zijn grote gaven. Maar dit doet ze niet.

Munk heeft zes jaar onderzoek gedaan voor het boek, heeft Sachs goed leren kennen en voor langere tijd in twee van de 15 Millennium Villages gewoond. Ze begrijpt duidelijk het belang en de moeilijkheden van wat Sachs en zijn team proberen te doen.

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