Professor Jeffrey Sachs Focuses on Challenges to U.S. Economy in New Book

October 06, 2011

In his new book, The Price of Civilization (Random House, 2011), Jeffrey Sachs argues that the United States has underestimated the long-term effects of globalization, which have created deep and largely unmet challenges with regard to jobs, incomes, poverty and the environment.

“The U.S. is not facing simply a cyclical crisis,” Sachs said recently. “This is a problem of the U.S. and the world, and how the U.S. fits into a fast-changing world economy.”
Sachs, director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia, recently sat down to discuss the book,The Price of Civilization, and to answer questions submitted by Columbia Facebook fans.
Watch the video to hear Sachs’ answers, which address the effects of globalization, the potential of sustainable development and the future of Columbia University, among other subjects.
Sachs, who is a special advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, served from 2002 to 2006 as director of the U.N. Millennium Project and as special advisor to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed goals to reduce extreme poverty, disease and hunger by the year 2015. Sachs lectures constantly around the world and is the author of hundreds of scholarly articles and many books, including the New York Times bestsellers Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (Penguin, 2008) and The End of Poverty (Penguin, 2005).
Sachs argues that economic inequality is at an all-time high in America, and is threatening to destabilize the fabric of our society.
“Unless we face this with something more than the gimmickry of short-term tax cuts or stimulus or other things that both the Democrat and Republican parties have been recommending, we’re not going to find real solutions,” he said.
Still, there is cause for optimism.
“We are the generation that could end the age-old scourge of extreme poverty,” he said. “Because the technologies for food production, for safe water, for adequate nutrition security … and all the other technologies for good health and a healthy environment are available.”
Sachs will hold a book talk and signing for The Price of Civiliation at Miller Theatre on Oct. 25. For more information about the signing, which is open to the public, visit the event listing.