The Great Escape by Angus Deaton

This was a book that I had heard great things about and wanted to learn from myself. I knew as a background that often, just because people may need help in some way does not mean that they would desire it or accept it. Have you ever received unsolicited help? Probably, but I bet you didn’t like it.

I first heard about a few definitions from the book. We have probably all heard these terms tossed around in various contexts but, what does it really mean? I took some time to understand the way that these were expressed and the various aspects of overall well-being. There are various things that go into one’s life and also, various things that impact one’s life and each of the well-beings have different purposes and significance.

Well-being — all things that are good for a person or contribute to a good life.

Material well-being— income and wealth

Physical/psychological well-being — health and happiness, education and the ability to participate in civil society through democracy and the rule of law

I noted the following term:

Pareto Efficiency: if some people are made better off and no one is made worse off, the world is a better place. Envy should not be counted.

Finally, sustainability is something that is often talked about, especially lately. True sustainability means that once the help departs, the local areas can continue to serve themselves and develop further and improve more.

If the west can cure itself of its addiction to aid and stop undermining African governments, there is real hope for locally-driven development.

Aid does not solve everything, that was a huge part of the book and there was research to support it. I loved learning about this topic and believe that it is essential for others to understand. Many are predicting that Africa is going to be the next international market and it’s about time we stop generalizing the entire continent as under-developed when there are numerous countries that are going to be truly global players if they aren’t already.

I gave this book a 3.5/5

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