Jeffrey D. Sachs

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Latest by Jeffrey D. Sachs


America’s deepening moral crisis

NEW YORK: America’s political and economic crisis is set to worsen following the upcoming November elections. President Barack Obama will lose any hope for passing progressive legislation aimed at helping the poor or the environment. Indeed, all major legislation and reforms are likely to be stalemated until 2013, following a new presidential election. An already …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Growth in a Buddhist economy

NEW YORK: I have just returned from Bhutan, the Himalayan kingdom of unmatched natural beauty, cultural richness, and inspiring self-reflection. From the kingdom’s uniqueness now arises a set of economic and social questions that are of pressing interest for the entire world. Bhutan’s rugged geography fostered the rise of a hardy population of farmers and …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Funding a Global Health Fund

NEW YORK: World leaders will come together at the United Nations in September in order to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Three of the eight MDGs involve bringing primary health services to the entire world’s population. A small amount of global funding, if well-directed, could save millions of lives each year. The …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

The phony attack on climate science

NEW YORK: In the weeks before and after the Copenhagen climate change conference last December, the science of climate change came under harsh attack by critics who contend that climate scientists have deliberately suppressed evidence – and that the science itself is severely flawed. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global group of …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Reconstructing Haiti

NEW YORK: The horrors of Haiti’s earthquake continue to unfold. The quake itself killed over 100,000 people. The inability to organize rapid relief is killing tens of thousands more. More than one million people are exposed to hunger and disease and, with the rain and hurricane seasons approaching, are vulnerable to further hazards. Even an …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Obama as climate change villain

NEW YORK: Two years of climate change negotiations have now ended in a farce in Copenhagen. Rather than grappling with complex issues, President Barack Obama decided instead to declare victory with a vague statement of principles agreed with four other countries. The remaining 187 were handed a fait accompli, which some accepted and others denounced. …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Obama in Chains

NEW YORK: It is hard for international observers of the United States to grasp the political paralysis that grips the country, and that seriously threatens America’s ability to solve its domestic problems and contribute to international problem solving. America’s governance crisis is the worst in modern history. Moreover, it is likely to worsen in the …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Electric Cars and Sustainable Development

NEW YORK: The key to climate change control lies in improved technology. We need to find new ways to produce and use energy, meet our food needs, transport ourselves, and heat and cool our homes that will allow us to cut back on oil, gas, coal, nitrogen-based fertilizer, and other sources of the climate-changing greenhouse …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

A big chance for small farmers

NEW YORK: The G-8’s $20 billion initiative on smallholder agriculture, launched at the group’s recent summit in L’Aquila, Italy, is a potentially historic breakthrough in the fight against hunger and extreme poverty. With serious management of the new funds, food production in Africa will soar. Indeed, the new initiative, combined with others in health, education, …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Where are the Global Problem Solvers?

NEW YORK: One odd and disturbing aspect of global politics today is the confusion between negotiations and problem-solving. According to a timetable agreed in December 2007, we have six months to reach a global agreement on climate change in Copenhagen. Governments are engaged in a massive negotiation, but they are not engaged in a massive …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Peace Through Development

NEW YORK: American foreign policy has failed in recent years mainly because the United States relied on military force to address problems that demand development assistance and diplomacy. Young men become fighters in places like Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan because they lack gainful employment. Extreme ideologies influence people when they can’t feed their families, …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Water Wars

NEW YORK: Many conflicts are caused or inflamed by water scarcity. The conflicts from Chad to Darfur, Sudan, to the Ogaden Desert in Ethiopia, to Somalia and its pirates, and across to Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, lie in a great arc of arid lands where water scarcity is leading to failed crops, dying livestock, …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

The transition to sustainability

NEW YORK: The global economic crisis will be with us for a generation, not just a year or two, because it is really a transition to sustainability. The scarcity of primary commodities and damage from climate change in recent years contributed to the destabilization of the world economy that gave rise to the current crisis. …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Global macroeconomic cooperation

NEW YORK: The world has yet to achieve the macroeconomic policy coordination that will be needed to restore economic growth following the Great Crash of 2008. In much of the world, consumers are now cutting their spending in response to a fall in their wealth and a fear of unemployment. The overwhelming force behind the …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

A breakthrough against hunger

NEW YORK: Today’s world hunger crisis is unprecedentedly severe and requires urgent measures. Nearly one billion people are trapped in chronic hunger – perhaps 100 million more than two years ago. Spain is taking global leadership in combating hunger by inviting world leaders to Madrid in late January to move beyond words to action. With …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Good news in bad times

NEW YORK: At a time when the headlines are filled with financial crises and violence, it is especially important to recognize the creativity of many governments in fighting poverty, disease, and hunger. The point is not merely to make ourselves feel a little better, but rather to confront one of the world’s gravest threats: the …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

A sustainable recovery

NEW YORK: The global recession now underway is the result not only of a financial panic, but also of more basic uncertainty about the future direction of the world economy. Consumers are pulling back from home and automobile purchases not only because they have suffered a blow to their wealth with declining stock prices and …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Boom, bust, and recovery in the world economy

NEW YORK: This global economic crisis will go down in history as Greenspan’s Folly. This is a crisis made mainly by the United States Federal Reserve Board during the period of easy money and financial deregulation from the mid-1990’s until today. This easy-money policy, backed by regulators who failed to regulate, created unprecedented housing and …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

The American anti-intellectual threat

NEW YORK: In recent years, the United States has been more a source of global instability than a source of global problem-solving. Examples include the war in Iraq, launched by the US on false premises, obstructionism on efforts to curb climate change, meager development assistance, and the violation of international treaties such as the Geneva …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

The digital war on poverty

NEW YORK: The digital divide is beginning to close. The flow of digital information -through mobile phones, text messaging, and the Internet – is now reaching the world’s masses, even in the poorest countries, bringing with it a revolution in economics, politics, and society. Extreme poverty is almost synonymous with extreme isolation, especially rural isolation. …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Where are the global leaders?

The G-8 Summit in Japan earlier this month was a painful demonstration of the pitiful state of global cooperation. The world is in deepening crisis. Food prices are soaring. Oil prices are at historic highs. The leading economies are entering a recession. Climate change negotiations are going around in circles. Aid to the poorest countries …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Saving resources to save growth

Reconciling global economic growth, especially in developing countries, with the intensifying constraints on global supplies of energy, food, land, and water is the great question of our time. Commodity prices are soaring worldwide, not only for headline items like food and energy, but for metals, arable land, fresh water, and other crucial inputs to growth, …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

A New Deal for Poor Farmers

Many poor, food-importing countries around the world have become desperate in recent months, as global prices of rice, wheat, and maize have doubled. Hundreds of millions of poor people, who already spend a large share of their daily budget on food, are being pushed to the edge. Food riots are mounting. But many poor countries …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Reinventing Energy

The world economy is being battered by sharply higher energy prices. While a few energy-exporting countries in the Middle East and elsewhere reap huge profits, the rest of the world is suffering as the price of oil has topped $110 per barrel and that of coal has doubled. Without plentiful and low-cost energy, every aspect …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Technological cooperation

In early February, the United Sates National Academy of Engineering released a report on “Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century. The goal is to focus attention on the potential of technology to help the world address poverty and environmental threats. The list includes potential breakthroughs such as low-cost solar power, safe disposal of …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Recount Kenyans' votes

Kenya is aflame after a presidential election on Dec. 27 widely believed to have been rigged to secure the re-election of Mwai Kibaki. Kibaki’s opponents took to the streets, the government issued shoot-to-kill orders, and hundreds have died at the hands of the police as well as from gang rampages and inter-ethnic violence. The United …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

New hope on climate change

The world has taken an important step toward controlling climate change by agreeing to the Bali Action Plan at the global negotiations in Indonesia earlier this month. The plan may not look like much, since it basically committed the world to more talking rather than specific actions, but I am optimistic for three reasons. First, …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

America's Failed Militarized Foreign Policy

Many of today’s war zones – including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Sudan – share basic problems that lie at the root of their conflicts. They are all poor, buffeted by natural disasters – especially floods, droughts, and earthquakes – and have rapidly growing populations that are pressing on the capacity of the …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

The Nobel message

Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize is a fitting tribute to a world leader who has been prescient, bold, and skillful in alerting the world to the dangers of manmade climate change. Gore’s co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize is less known, but no less deserving. The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN’s …

Jeffrey D. Sachs

No Development, No Peace

Anyone interested in peacemaking, poverty reduction, and Africa’s future should read the new United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report Sudan: Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment. This may sound like a technical report on Sudan’s environment, but it is much more. It is a vivid study of how the natural environment, poverty, and population growth can interact to …

Jeffrey D. Sachs