From Poverty to Power
How Active Citizens and Effective States Can Change the World

Edited by Mark Fried
Foreword by Amartya Sen
Paper: 978 0 85598 593 6 / $37.95
Published: July 2008  

Publisher: Oxfam Publishing
480 pp., 6 1/8" x 9 1/4"
The twenty-first century will be defined by the fight against the scourges of poverty, inequality, and the threat of environmental collapse–as the fight against slavery or for universal suffrage defined earlier eras.

From Poverty to Power argues that to break the cycle of poverty and inequality and to give poor people power over their own destinies a radical redistribution of power, opportunities, and assets is required. The two driving forces behind such a transformation are active citizens and effective states.

Why active citizenship? Because people living in poverty must have a voice in deciding their own destiny, fighting for rights and justice in their own society, and holding states and the private sector to account.

Why effective states? Because history shows that no country has prospered without a state structure than can actively manage the development process.

There is now an added urgency beyond the moral case for tackling poverty and inequality, we need to build a secure, fair, and sustainable world before climate change makes it impossible. This book argues that there is still time, provided leaders, organizations, and individuals act. Starting today…

Table of Contents:
Foreword; 1) Poverty, Inequality, and How Change Happens; 2) Power and Politics; 3) Power and Prosperity: Markets and Livelihoods; 4) Risk, Vulnerability, and Human Security; 5) The International System: Aid, Humanitarian System, the Role of nternational Institutions and INGOs; 6) Conclusion; Bibliography; References; Index.

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Reviews & Endorsements:
"Green (of Oxfam Great Britain) argues that approaches towards reducing inequality and poverty require the combined efforts of "active citizens" and "effective states." He explores a range of issues that arise out this formulation, including characteristics of the active citizen, the role of markets in tackling poverty and inequality, issues of vulnerability and the search for human security, the impact of climate change on poor people, changes to global governance, and the responsibilities of citizens and states in rich countries. Most of his perspective and areas of focus are drawn from his experience with Oxfam."
- Book News Inc
"This volume provides a wide-ranging examination of the nature, causes, and consequences of poverty, particularly in developing countries. Green (head of research, Oxfam Great Britain) covers the lack of material means (e.g., lack of schools, absence of health facilities, and unavailability of medicines, food, shelter, and clothing) as indicators of poverty, but he also emphasizes the social and psychological effects of poverty, which depress human dignity. To eradicate poverty, material needs must be addressed, but Green also emphasizes the importance of enhancing the political and social power of poor people to ensure that poverty reduction measures are effective and self-sustaining. Using various case studies, he discusses the policies adopted in various countries and their effectiveness. Although the book is well written, it does not provide essential, readily available statistical information in support of the various arguments made. In this way, the study is more general than analytical. Policy makers dealing with issues related to poverty will benefit from this work. Summing Up: Recommended. Research and professional collections."
- Choice