People

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics at Columbia University, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He is the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership, and has twice been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders.

Professor Sachs served as the Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University from 2002 to 2016. During that time, he led a university-wide organization of more than 850 research scientists and policy experts in support of sustainable development, championed the Masters of Development Practice (MDP) program, which is now offered at 30 universities around the world, and helped to introduce the PhD in Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He was appointed University Professor at Columbia University in 2016 and also serves as Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management. He is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Sustainable Development Goals, and previously advised both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.

Professor Sachs is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on economic development, global macroeconomics, and the fight against poverty. His work on ending poverty, overcoming macroeconomic instability, promoting economic growth, fighting hunger and disease, and promoting sustainable environmental practices has taken him to more than 125 countries. Over the past thirty years, he has advised dozens of heads of state and governments on economic strategy in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. He was among the outside advisors to Pope John Paul II on the encyclical Centesimus Annus and currently works closely with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on issues of sustainable development.

Prior to his arrival at Columbia University in July 2002, Professor Sachs spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, where he served as the Director of the Center for International Development and the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade. Sachs was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1954. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Harvard College in 1976, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1978 and 1980 respectively.

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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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