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Professor: Forget Govt. -- Let Billionaires Fix Poverty

Nearly half the world’s population subsists on $2 per day, according to the World Bank. But Professor Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, has a quick fix solution: He told “Street Signs” that small donations from the world’s richest would do more to end poverty than all the combined governmental aid -- which is falling short.

Sachs said the world's political leaders are not doing enough: “Our governments are not acting. People are dying.” Instead, he suggests the business community would do a better job.

“We have about a thousand people who have about three and a half trillion among them on the Forbes [billionaires] list,” Sachs said. “If they formed a foundation like Bill Gates did, and now Warren Buffett has joined, the payoff from that alone would far exceed what all our governments are doing.”

Sachs asserts that if the richest individuals pooled their incomes and paid out 5% from that, they would collect $175 billion per year, enough to save 10 million lives annually and take 1 billion people out of poverty. “It’s quite a return on what the rich could do -- for themselves and the planet,” he said.

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  • "Street Signs" Co-Anchor

  • Co-anchor of CNBC's "Street Signs," Amanda Drury is based at the network's global headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.