Almost 3 billion people—half the world's population—currently live on less than $2 per day, according to the World Bank. Eliminating this deep poverty is a moral issue, but it is also an instrumental one, writes John W. Sewell in The Realpolitik of Ending Poverty: An Action Plan for U.S. Foreign Policy. The alleviation of poverty would not only help the world's poor, he argues, but could also benefit U.S. economic and political interests in many areas, including anti-terrorism efforts, democracy, human health, the environment, and trade.

Sewell writes that ending poverty will require much more than monetary aid. To this end, he outlines a five-part agenda for U.S. foreign policy:

  • Supporting open political and economic systems;
  • Investing in health and education;
  • Integrating poor countries into the global marketplace;
  • Making alleviating poverty the primary purpose of development aid; and
  • Providing incentives for private-public partnerships and innovative new programs.

Sewell, an expert in international trade and development, is a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and the former president of the Overseas Development Council.

For hard copies of The Realpolitik of Ending Poverty, write to ECSP.

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