Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet

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In Common Wealth, Jeffrey D. Sachs-one of the world's most respected economists and the author of The New York Times bestseller The End of Poverty- offers an urgent assessment of the environmental degradation, rapid population growth, and extreme poverty that threaten global peace and prosperity. Through crystalline examination of hard facts, Sachs predicts the cascade of crises that awaits this crowded planet-and presents a program of sustainable development and international cooperation that will correct this dangerous course. Few luminaries anywhere on the planet are as schooled in this daunting subject as Sachs, and this is the vital product of his experience and wisdom.
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE GUARDIAN AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
 
“Succinct, humane, and politically astute . . . Sachs lays out a detailed path to reform, regulation, and recovery.”—The American Prospect
 
In this forceful and impassioned book, Jeffrey D. Sachs offers a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country’s economic ills, and an urgent call for Americans to restore the core virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Sachs finds that both political parties—and many leading economists—have missed the big picture, profoundly underestimating globalization’s long-term effects and offering shortsighted solutions. He describes a political system that is beholden to big donors and influential lobbyists and a consumption-driven culture that suffers shortfalls of social trust and compassion. He bids readers to reclaim the virtues of good citizenship and mindfulness toward the economy and each one another. Most important, he urges each of us to accept the price of civilization, so that together we restore America to its great promise. The Price of Civilization is a masterly road map for prosperity, founded on America’s deepest values and on a rigorous understanding of the twenty-first-century world economy.
 
With a new Preface by the author.

“Half a century ago J. K. Galbraith’s The Affluent Society changed the political consciousness of a generation. . . . Jeffrey Sachs’s new book is a landmark in this great and essentially American tradition. . . . Sachs by his life and his writing goes far to restore one’s wavering faith in the informing inspiration of the post-1945 new dawn, faith in economics, faith in America and faith in humanity.”—The Spectator
 
“Stimulating . . . a must-read for every concerned citizen . . . [a] hard-hitting brief for a humane economy.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“Sachs’s book is loaded with information and anecdotes [and] proposals that would make it harder for the powerful to rig the system for their benefit.”—Scientific American
 
“An eloquent call for American civic renewal based on moderation, compassion, and cooperation across the lines of class, ethnicity, and ideology.”—CNN Money
 
“Compelling . . . This is an important book.”—Financial Times
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Mar 18, 2008
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9781101202753
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Development / Sustainable Development
Business & Economics / Environmental Economics
Political Science / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In the beginning of this new century, when able people in science across the world are working on scientific methods of providing sustainable development, specific to their own countries or general to the world, it is also timely to remind ourselves that technology may not be the answer to everything. Technology, by itself, produces only summary statements on how physical entities in the world are related. It does not provide methods of how human inputs are to be used in combining the technology in generating outputs. It also does not address to issues on how the outputs of the combination of technology and human resources ought to be valued. Lastly, it does not address to how existing technologies can be combined, further modified, and the institutional environment for continuous experiments and improvements. This book brings together a collection of essays attempting to capture these interactions for the purpose of promoting sustainable development. By theoretical discussions and by case studies, the essays describe how environmental concerns can be (or have been) addressed to in the process of development in different institutional settings. The knowledge coming out of this research suggested a proposition loud and clear to researchers now working on the concept of sustainable development. The authors describe how the concept of sustainable development can be implemented. The quest for sustainable development is not the monopoly of secular or positivist inquiry. The authors offer insights into the material means and framework by which sustainability as a normative concept can be rendered operational for those who accept voluntary transactions as the basis of social interactions.
At the turn of the millennium, the unanimous adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the United Nations General Assembly marked a new chapter in international development. However, voices from the Global South were noticeably absent in shaping the agenda. Fifteen years later, the global context has changed so much that it would have been inconceivable not to have taken voices from the South into account when planning the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since its inception in 2012, the Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals (Southern Voice), a network of 48 think tanks from Africa, Asia and Latin America, has generated a substantial body of original research to feed into various aspects of the post-2015 development agenda, such as the missing dimensions of the MDGs, ways to mitigate existing challenges in delivering on aspired outcomes, and new issues, goals, targets and indicators that are crucial for the next global development framework.

Southern Perspectives on the Post-2015 International Development Agenda

consolidates this research and stitches together development realities and policy experiences from the Global South, infusing unique local perspectives to the global debate on the post-2015 agenda. The compendium addresses the overarching themes underpinning the new international development framework by focusing on issues such as sustainability and growth, inclusion and social policies, governance and capacities, and financing of the new agenda. Southern Voice seeks to challenge the "knowledge asymmetry" afflicting the global knowledge system by channelling evidence-based policy analyses produced by centres of excellence, located in the Global South.

This is a valuable resource for academics and researchers, policymakers and practitioners, and concerned students in search of alternative views on sustainable development.

The free-market, limited government development model has been an ecological and social disaster for the developing world. Sustainable and equitable development is only possible with the active involvement of a strong central state that can guide the economy, protect the environment, and prioritize meeting their people's basic needs.

In this sure to be controversial book, Chandran Nair shows that the market-dominated model followed by the industrialized west is simply not scalable. The United States alone, with less than five percent of the world's population, consumes nearly a quarter of its resources. If countries in Asia, where 60% of the world's population lives, try to follow the Western lead, the results will be calamitous. .

Instead, Nair argues that development must be directed by a state that is willing and able to intervene in the economy . Corporations, which by design demand ever-expanding consumption, need to be directed towards meeting societal needs or otherwise restrained, not unleashed. Development has to be oriented towards the greatest good—clean drinking water for the many has to take precedence over swimming pools for the few. He provides three compelling case studies demonstrating the benefits of such strong state governance and the findings of weak state governance.

This will mean rethinking the meaning of concepts like “prosperity,” “freedom,” and “rights,” and whether democracy is always the best way to ensure responsive government—as Nair writes, “A democracy that cannot work to improve the life of its citizens is not better than a non-democracy that can actually improve quality of life.” Many people will find these to be challenging ideas, but what Nair offers is a model suited to the realities of the developing world, not the assumptions of the dominant culture.
The most difficult questions of sustainability are not about technology; they are about values. Answers to such questions cannot be found by asking the "experts," but can only be resolved in the political arena. In The Local Politics of Global Sustainability, author Thomas Prugh, with Robert Costanza and Herman Daly, two ofthe leading thinkers in the field of ecological economics, explore the kind of politics that can help enable us to achieve a sustainable world of our choice, rather than one imposed by external forces.The authors begin by considering the biophysical and economic dimensions of the environmental crisis, and tracing the crisis in political discourse and our public lives to its roots. They then offer an in-depth examination of the elements of a re-energized political system that could lead to the development of more sustainable communities. Based on a type of self-governance that political scientist Benjamin Barber calls "strong democracy," the politics is one of engagement rather than consignment, empowering citizens by directly involving them in community decisionmaking. After describing how it should work, the authors provide examples of communities that are experimenting with various features of strong democratic systems.The Local Politics of Global Sustainability explains in engaging, accessible prose the crucial biophysical, economic, and social issues involved with achieving sustainability. It offers a readable exploration of the political implications of ecological economics and will be an essential work for anyone involved in that field, as well as for students and scholars in environmental politics and policy, and anyone concerned with the theory and practical applications of the concept of sustainable development.
An inspiring look at the historic foreign policy triumph of John F. Kennedy’s presidency—the crusade for world peace that consumed his final year in office—by the New York Times bestselling author of The Price of Civilization, Common Wealth, and The End of Poverty
 
The last great campaign of John F. Kennedy’s life was not the battle for reelection he did not live to wage, but the struggle for a sustainable peace with the Soviet Union. To Move the World recalls the extraordinary days from October 1962 to September 1963, when JFK marshaled the power of oratory and his remarkable political skills to establish more peaceful relations with the Soviet Union and a dramatic slowdown in the proliferation of nuclear arms.
 
Kennedy and his Soviet counterpart, Nikita Khrushchev, led their nations during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the two superpowers came eyeball to eyeball at the nuclear abyss. This near-death experience shook both leaders deeply. Jeffrey D. Sachs shows how Kennedy emerged from the Missile crisis with the determination and prodigious skills to forge a new and less threatening direction for the world. Together, he and Khrushchev would pull the world away from the nuclear precipice, charting a path for future peacemakers to follow.
 
During his final year in office, Kennedy gave a series of speeches in which he pushed back against the momentum of the Cold War to persuade the world that peace with the Soviets was possible. The oratorical high point came on June 10, 1963, when Kennedy delivered the most important foreign policy speech of the modern presidency.  He argued against the prevailing pessimism that viewed humanity as doomed by forces beyond its control. Mankind, argued Kennedy, could bring a new peace into reality through a bold vision combined with concrete and practical measures.
 
Achieving the first of those measures in the summer of 1963, the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, required more than just speechmaking, however. Kennedy had to use his great gifts of persuasion on multiple fronts—with fractious allies, hawkish Republican congressmen, dubious members of his own administration, and the American and world public—to persuade a skeptical world that cooperation between the superpowers was realistic and necessary. Sachs shows how Kennedy campaigned for his vision and opened the eyes of the American people and the world to the possibilities of peace. 
 
Featuring the full text of JFK’s speeches from this period, as well as striking photographs, To Move the World gives us a startlingly fresh perspective on Kennedy’s presidency and a model for strong leadership and problem solving in our time.

Praise for To Move the World
 
“Rife with lessons for the current administration . . . We cannot know how many more steps might have been taken under Kennedy’s leadership, but To Move the World urges us to continue on the journey.”—Chicago Tribune
 
“The messages in these four speeches seem all too pertinent today.”—Publishers Weekly
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