From Poverty to Power

How Active Citizens and Effective States Can Change the World

ISBN 978-085598-593-6

Duncan Green

Edited by Mark Fried
Foreword by Amartya Sen

About the authors
Table of contents
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This flagship publication from Oxfam International draws on more than 60 years of Oxfam's experience and on extensive discussions with numerous development professionals to argue that ending the scourges of extreme poverty, inequality, and threatened environmental collapse is the greatest global challenge of the 21st century. It suggests that the best way to tackle them is through a combination of active citizens and effective nation 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 that can effectively manage the development process.


"This book invites serious debate about the causes of injustice and inequality, across and within countries. You need not agree with every emphasis or argument, or even every proposed solution, to appreciate the welcome combination of moral outrage and intelligent presentation - and the analytic emphasis on the relevance of power and politics to the development story."
Nancy Birdsall, President, Center for Global Development

"A tour de force… From Poverty to Power should have many readers, especially policy-makers in governments and aid agencies, concerned citizens, academics, activists, and students and teachers. As a text for development courses, a source of reference, and a treasury of ideas and striking examples of successes, it should inform and inspire all who are committed to policy and practice for a better world."
Robert Chambers, Institute of Development Studies, author of Whose reality counts?: putting the last first

From Poverty to Power offers a panoramic and sophisticated view on how the world changes and how we can change it, based on a unique blend of solid academic understanding, serious activist experience, and political acumen. It deserves be a standard reference for social activists and policy-makers as well as a required reading for students in economics, politics, sociology, and development studies."
Ha-Joon Chang, Department of Economics, University of Cambridge

About the authors

Duncan Green has been Head of Research at Oxfam GB since 2004. He is the author of several books on Latin America, including Faces of Latin America (1997, third edition 2006) and Silent Revolution: The Rise and Crisis of Market Economics in Latin America (2003). He has been a Senior Policy Advisor on trade and development at the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) and Policy Analyst on trade and globalisation at CAFOD.

Mark Fried coordinates advocacy for Oxfam Canada and writes regularly on policy issues related to international development.

Table of contents

PART 1 Introduction

PART 2 Power and Politics

PART 3 Poverty and Wealth

PART 4 Risk and Vulnerability

PART 5 The International System

PART 6 Conclusion

ANNEX How Change Happens

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