From Poverty to Power Second Edition

About From Poverty to Power

Seismic events have convulsed global markets since 2008, when From Poverty to Power was first published. World news has been full of stories reflecting a profound sense of uncertainty about the global future. In response, this new edition of From Poverty to Power has been revised throughout and also includes a new chapter How History Happens, with an in-depth analysis of the human impact of the global financial and food crises since 2008.

From Poverty to Power argues that a radical redistribution of power, opportunities, and assets rather than traditional models of charitable or government aid is required to break the cycle of poverty and inequality. The forces driving this transformation are active citizens and effective states.

Why active citizens? Because people living in poverty must have a voice in deciding their own destiny and holding the state and the private sector to account. Why effective states? Because history shows that no country has prospered without a state structure that can actively manage the development process.

There is now an added urgency: climate change. We need to build a secure, fair, and sustainable world within the limits set by scarce resources and ecological realities.


From Poverty to Power should be read by students, researchers, NGO workers and all those who want to contribute to ending global poverty.

Buy the book

You can order copies online from Practical Action Publishing, or from Academic Foundation in India, Jacana in South Africa and Stylus in North America

The Second Edition is available to download in English here. 

The First Edition is available to download in Spanish 


Foreword - Amartya Sen
Foreword to Second Edition - Duncan Green 

Part 1: Introduction: The unequal world

Part 2: Power and Politics 

The political roots of development • I believe therefore I am • I read therefore I a • I surf therefore I am • We organize therefore we are • I own therefore I am • I vote therefore I am • I steal therefore I am: Natural resources, corruption, and development • I rule therefore I am • From poverty to power

Case Studies: A revolution for Bolivia’s Chiquitano people • Winning women’s rights in Morocco

Part 3: Poverty and wealth: The role of markets in development

An economics for the 21st century • Living off the land • The changing world of work • Private sector, public interest • Going for growth • Sustainable markets

Case Studies: African success stories: Botswana and Mauritius • The fishing communities of Tikamgarh

Part 4: Human Security: Managing risk and vulnerability

Living with risk • Social protection • Finance and vulnerability • Hunger and famine • HIV, and AIDS, and other health risks • The risk of natural disaster • Climate change: Mitigation, adaptation, organisation • Living on the edge: Africa's pastoralists • Violence and conflict • Shocks and change

Case Studies: South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign • India’s campaign for a National Rural Employment Guarantee

Part 5: The International System

Who rules the world? • The international financial system • The international trading system • The international aid system • International Rules and Norms • The interantional system for humanitarian relief and peace • Climate change • Global governance in the 21st century

Case Studies: Landmines, an arms control success story • The 2005 Gleneagles agreements

Part 6: How History Happens: The Food and Financial Crises of 2008-11

Conclusion: A new deal for a new century

Background research and case studies

The First Edition From Poverty to Power had a collection of online support and background materials. For the Second Edition this has been extended.

An entirely new collection of Blog Resources has been created, bringing together nearly 250 blog posts and over 2,500 comments under 17 thematic headings. Many of these blog posts contributed substantially to the development of ideas for the Second Edition.

The Background Papers collection adds 16 papers commissioned for or that have informed the writing of the Second Edition to 19 from the First Edition.

The 29 Case Studies from the First Edition are still available.

Read From Poverty to Power Blog Resources

Read From Poverty to Power Background Papers

Read From Poverty to Power Case Studies

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