The Great Escape

The Great Escape (2013) by Angus Deaton describes how parts of the world escaped poverty and short sick lives and how the rest of the world is doing so or could do so. Deaton is a Nobel Prize winning economist whose work concerned how poor people behave and what would improve their lives.
The book first looks at how the overall wellbeing of the world has changed, then at health, then at money and wealth and then at what can has been tried and what can be done.
The overall picture of human wealth, health and prosperity and how it has changed over the past 200 years is incredible. Deaton describes just how remarkable it has been with vivid descriptions and graphs of the changes.
The section health shows just how much child mortality has altered the picture and how public health has had a considerable impact on human life.
In the chapter on money Deaton goes through how consumption has changed and how different parts of the world have different poverty lines.
Finally Deaton looks at development aid and points out how it has failed to do what it set out to.
It’s a really interesting book written by a top economist who has studied in detail what he writes about. He’s produced a very readable account of how much of the world has escaped poverty. The chapters on Health and Development aid are particularly good.


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