PROLOGUEA Personal Journey

I think there are good reasons for suggesting that the modern age has ended. Today, many things indicate that we are going through a transitional period, when it seems that something is on the way out, and something else is painfully being born. It is as if something were crumbling, decaying and exhausting itself, while something else, still indistinct, were arising from the rubble.

—VÁCLAV HAVEL,president of the Czech Republic

As a young man, I decided I would devote my life to ending world poverty. To that end I spent thirty years of my life as a development worker in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. I saw extraordinary changes in the world—especially in Asia, where I lived from 1978 to 1992.

During my first visit ...

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