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Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned economics professor, bestselling author, innovative educator, and global leader in sustainable development. 

He is widely recognized for bold and effective strategies to address complex challenges including debt crises, hyperinflations, the transition from central planning to market economies, the control of AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, the escape from extreme poverty, and the battle against human-induced climate change.  

Sachs serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he holds the rank of University Professor, the university’s highest academic rank. Sachs held the position of Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University from 2002 to 2016. He is President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development, and an SDG Advocate for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. From 2001-18, Sachs served as Special Advisor to UN Secretaries-General Kofi Annan (2001-7), Ban Ki-moon (2008-16), and António Guterres (2017-18). Sachs is the Chair of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission (July 2020). 

Sachs has authored and edited numerous books, including three New York Times bestsellers: The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011).  Other books include To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace (2013), The Age of Sustainable Development (2015), Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair & Sustainable (2017),  A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism (2018), and most recently, The Ages of Globalization: Geography, Technology, and Institutions (2020).

Sachs was the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership. He was twice named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders and has received 38 honorary degrees. The New York Times called Sachs “probably the most important economist in the world,” and Time magazine called Sachs “the world’s best-known economist.” A survey by The Economist ranked Sachs as among the three most influential living economists.

Prior to joining Columbia, Sachs spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, most recently as the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade. Sachs received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard. Sachs is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and currently resides in New York City.

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Publications

  • Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet

    Jeffrey Sachs
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    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 passŽ. 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. (Penguin Press)

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  • Escaping the Resource Curse

    Macartan Humphreys, Jeffrey D. Sachs, and Joseph E. Stiglitz
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    The wealth derived from natural resources can have a tremendous impact on the economics and politics of producing countries. In the last quarter century, we have seen the surprising and sobering consequences of this wealth, producing what is now known as the "resource curse." Countries with large endowments of natural resources, such as oil and gas, often do worse than their poorer neighbors. Their resource wealth frequently leads to lower growth rates, greater volatility, more corruption, and, in extreme cases, devastating civil wars.

    In this volume, leading economists, lawyers, and political scientists address the fundamental channels generated by this wealth and examine the major decisions a country must make when faced with an abundance of a natural resource. They identify such problems as asymmetric bargaining power, limited access to information, the failure to engage in long-term planning, weak institutional structures, and missing mechanisms of accountability. They also provide a series of solutions, including recommendations for contracting with oil companies and allocating revenue; guidelines for negotiators; models for optimal auctions; and strategies to strengthen state-society linkages and public accountability.

    The contributors show that solutions to the resource curse do exist; yet, institutional innovations are necessary to align the incentives of key domestic and international actors, and this requires fundamental political changes and much greater levels of transparency than currently exist. It is becoming increasingly clear that past policies have not provided the benefits they promised. Escaping the Resource Curse lays out a path for radically improving the management of the world's natural resources. (Columbia University Press)

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