Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet

Front Cover
Penguin, 2008 - Business & Economics - 386 pages
From one of the world's greatest economic minds, author of The New York Times bestseller The End of Poverty, a clear and vivid map of the road to sustainable and equitable global prosperity and an augury of the global economic collapse that lies ahead if we don't follow it

The global economic system now faces a sustainability crisis, Jeffrey Sachs argues, that will overturn many of our basic assumptions about economic life. The changes will be deeper than a rebalancing of economics and politics among different parts of the world; the very idea of competing nation-states scrambling for power, resources, and markets will, in some crucial respects, become pass . The only question is how bad it will have to get before we face the unavoidable. We will have to learn on a global scale some of the hard lessons that successful societies have gradually and grudgingly learned within national borders: that there must be common ground between rich and poor, among competing ethnic groups, and between society and nature.

The central theme of Jeffrey Sachs's new book is that we need a new economic paradigm-global, inclusive, cooperative, environmentally aware, science based- because we are running up against the realities of a crowded planet. The alternative is a worldwide economic collapse of unprecedented severity. Prosperity will have to be sustained through more cooperative processes, relying as much on public policy as on market forces to spread technology, address the needs of the poor, and to husband threatened resources of water, air, energy, land, and biodiversity. The "soft issues" of the environment, public health, and population will become the hard issues of geopolitics. New forms of global politics will in important ways replace capital-city-dominated national diplomacy and intrigue. National governments, even the United States, will become much weaker actors as scientific networks and socially responsible investors and foundations become the more powerful actors.

If we do the right things, there is room for all on the planet. We can achieve the four key goals of a global society: prosperity for all, the end of extreme poverty, stabilization of the global population, and environmental sustainability. These are not utopian goals or pipe dreams, yet they are far from automatic. Indeed, we are not on a successful trajectory now to achieve these goals. Common Wealth points the way to the course correction we must embrace for the sake of our common future.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ritaer - LibraryThing

Couldn't read it when I realized that he has the standard economist's answer to shortages of vital materials--we will find substitutes. Really? a substitute of water? for oil? Read full review

COMMON WEALTH: Economics for a Crowded Planet

User Review  - Kirkus

Economist Sachs (Earth Institute/Columbia Univ.; The End of Poverty, 2005, etc.) limns social, environmental and economic forces that are reshaping the planet—for better or worse remains to be seen ... Read full review

Contents

The Anthropocene
57
Global Solutions to Climate Change
83
Securing Our Water Needs
115
A Home for All Species
139
The Demographic Challenge
159
The Strategy of Economic Development
205
Ending Poverty Traps
227
u Economic Security in a Changing World
255
Rethinking Foreign Policy
271
Achieving Global Goals
291
The Power of One
313
Acknowledgments
341
List of Acronyms
347
References
361
Index
371
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About the author (2008)

Jeffrey D. Sachs is director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and special adviser to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller, The End of Poverty, and is internationally renowned for his work as an economic adviser to governments around the world.

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