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Jeffrey David Sachs

American economist
These riches should be directed first and foremost to end the millions of needless deaths caused by extreme poverty, and to educate the hundreds of millions of children who lack schooling.
We are in the process of utterly wrecking the planet by burning fossil fuels and thereby raising Earth’s temperature... the Green New Deal... endorses the science... It’s a massive transplant operation requiring the greatest skills of our top engineers and power-grid operators.... As with every great engineering challenge our nation has faced — the Erie Canal, the 20th-century power grid, the Interstate Highway System, the civil aviation system and the moonshot — we need bold timelines, clear milestones, breakthrough engineering and public-sector leadership.

Jeffrey David Sachs (born November 5, 1954) is a world-renowned professor of economics, best-selling author, orator, philosopher, public policy analyst, sustainable development leader, senior UN advisor, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 80 countries.

Contents

QuotesEdit

2019Edit

  • We are in the process of utterly wrecking the planet by burning fossil fuels and thereby raising Earth’s temperature. We are now experiencing higher temperatures than in any decade of the past 10,000 years, and the temperature continues to rise. As a result, humanity faces the risk of a catastrophic multimeter sea level rise at the current or slightly warmer temperature.
  • Enter the Green New Deal. It endorses the science... We’re not talking about a bit less emissions; we're talking about a phaseout of emissions by 2050 in order to have a fighting chance to hold Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5-degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level, a rise that should not in any way be construed as “safe,” just potentially not catastrophic.
  • How do we get to zero by 2050, not only in the U.S. but also in Europe, China, India and the rest of the world? We need to move rapidly to zero emissions while keeping the energy system functioning robustly and reliably during the transition. It’s a massive transplant operation requiring the greatest skills of our top engineers and power-grid operators.
  • As with every great engineering challenge our nation has faced — the Erie Canal, the 20th-century power grid, the Interstate Highway System, the civil aviation system and the moonshot — we need bold timelines, clear milestones, breakthrough engineering and public-sector leadership. No doubt, when properly regulated and guided by engineering plans, the private sector will do its part with excellence and timeliness.
  • The US foreign policy establishment had rhetorically justified America’s presence in Syria as part of the war on the Islamic State (ISIS). With ISIS essentially defeated and dispersed, Trump called the establishment’s bluff. Yet suddenly, the establishment declared the actual reasons for the extended US presence. Trump’s move, it was charged, would hand geopolitical advantages to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and Iran’s Ali Khamenei, while imperiling Israel, betraying the Kurds, and causing other ills that are essentially unrelated to ISIS.
  • This shift had the benefit of unmasking America’s real purposes in the Middle East, which are not so obscure, after all, except for the fact that mainstream pundits, US establishment strategists, and members of Congress tend not to mention them in polite company. The United States has not been in Syria (or Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, the Horn of Africa, Libya, and elsewhere in the region) because of ISIS. In fact, ISIS was more a consequence than a cause of the US presence. The real purposes have been US regional hegemony; and the real consequences have been disastrous.
  • The truth about the US presence in Syria has rarely been told. But one can be sure that the US has had no scruples about democracy in Syria or elsewhere in the region, as its warm embrace of Saudi Arabia amply demonstrates. The US decided to promote an insurgency to overthrow Bashar al-Assad in 2011 not because the US and allies like Saudi Arabia longed for Syrian democracy, but because they decided that Assad was a hindrance to US regional interests. Assad’s sins were clear: he allied with Russia, and he received support from Iran.

2018Edit

  • The Paris accord assumes that each government consults with its own country’s engineers to devise a national energy strategy, with each of the 193 UN member states essentially producing a separate plan... Global engineering systems require global coordination. ...Both the scale and reliability of... globally connected high-tech systems are astounding, and depend on solutions implemented internationally, not country by country.
  • The transition to renewable energy can be greatly accelerated if the world’s governments finally bring the engineers to the fore... I was recently on a panel with three economists and a senior business-sector engineer. After the economists spoke... the engineer spoke succinctly and wisely. “I don’t really understand what you economists were just speaking about, but I do have a suggestion... Tell us engineers the desired ‘specs’ and the timeline, and we’ll get the job done.” This is not bravado.... The next big act belongs to the engineers. Energy transformation for climate safety is our twenty-first-century moonshot.
  • Down through the ages, presidents and princes around the world have been murderers and accessories to murder, as...documented in...masterwork Power and Morality. One of the... main findings was that the behavior of ruling groups tends to be more criminal and amoral than that of the people over whom they rule.
  • Things like the proposed tech tax are actually a very good idea. The specific form of it is debatable, but the idea is that five companies are worth $3.5tn, basically because of network externalities and information monopolies, and therefore are absolutely right for efficient taxation... The marginal cost of production of AI is effectively zero. The ability to make these technologies available to the poorest countries at no cost is an evident option. So we should be taking special care to make sure that this revolution can reach everybody.
  • The intensity of these storms...is rising because of climate change. This isn’t about the future – it’s about right now....The governments are not representing you properly right now. Because the planet is facing profound dangers, we’re all at risk, and our governments need to act. And they promised that they would act, and they’re not...we’re running out of time...because in Canberra and in Washington and in other places they are not representing the common interest at all. They’re representing a few big companies, but not the people.
  • Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany – are the countries with the largest so-called social welfare states. They... have a degree of equality that is unmatched in other parts of the world... And people do want to go to work. The idea that this has taken away the work incentive is actually the opposite...a social welfare system does is enable people to live with dignity if they don’t have the means on their own.... We should have the decency to provide dignity for everybody.
  • It’s a terrible blow for the world when countries as rich and talented and stable and well-off as this country doesn’t fulfil the global responsibility...in development aid... If we all did it, we would save millions of lives, we would have all the kids in school. They would be growing up to be productive members of their society, we wouldn’t have the mass refugee movements... Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy represents a new and vulgar strain of American exceptionalism... to maintain U.S. military dominance as the core pillar of U.S. foreign policy.
  • The world economy is pumping trillions of dollars into the accounts of a few thousand people. These riches should be directed first and foremost to end the millions of needless deaths caused by extreme poverty, and to educate the hundreds of millions of children who lack schooling. The billionaires would still have enough left over to indulge their longing for mega-yachts, personal space ships, private tropical islands, and other conspicuous consumption.
  • ...History is written by the rich, and so the poor get blamed for everything."

Pre 2018Edit

  • Deep down, if we really accept that their lives - African lives - are equal to ours, we would all be doing more to put the fire out. Its an uncomfortable truth.
  • ...four very powerful corporate lobbies have repeatedly come out on top and turned our democracy into what might more accurately be called a corporatocracy.”
    • Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, and Sustainable," w:Good Reads, [2]
  • Here is my recommendation for President Trump and the new Congress. Turn immediately to our glorious national institutions, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, for a report to the nation on the key areas for science and technology investments in the coming generation. Ask them to recommend an organizational strategy for a science-based scaling up of national and global R&D efforts. Call on America’s research universities to add their own brainstorming to the work of the national academies. Later in 2017, the president and Congress should then meet in a joint session of Congress to set forth a new technology vision for the nation and an R&D strategy to achieve it.
    • Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, and Sustainable, w:Good Reads, [3]
  • The US plutocracy has declared war on sustainable development. Billionaires such as Charles and David Koch (oil and gas), Robert Mercer (finance), and Sheldon Adelson (casinos) play their politics for personal financial gain. They fund Republican politicians who promise to cut their taxes, deregulate their industries, and ignore the warnings of environmental science, especially climate science.”
  • We need... a much more competent and honest government. Economic reform and political reform must go hand in hand. Without the one there cannot be the other.
    • The Price Of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue And Prosperity, Good Reads, [4]
  • The Panama Papers opened yet another window on the global system of financial corruption, showing how political leaders and businesses use shell companies in secrecy havens like the British Virgin Islands and many US states to evade taxes and hide corruption and other crimes. Yet the system of corruption depends on another factor beyond secrecy, one that is perhaps even more important: impunity. Impunity means that the rich and powerful escape from punishment even when their malfeasance is in full view.
  • Impunity is epidemic in America. The rich and powerful get away with their heists in broad daylight. ... The Journal recently opposed the corruption sentence of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell for taking large gifts and bestowing official favors — because everybody does it. And one of its columnists praised Panama for facilitating the ability of wealthy individuals to hide their income from “predatory governments” trying to collect taxes. No kidding.
  • Von Hayek was wrong. In strong and vibrant democracies, a generous social-welfare state is not a road to serfdom but rather to fairness, economic equality and international competitiveness.
    • Welfare States, Beyond Ideology, Scientific American 295, 42 (2006)
  • Though the United States is one of the world’s richest economies by per capita income, it ranks only around seventeenth in reported life satisfaction. It is superseded not only by the likely candidates of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, which all rank above the United States but also by less likely candidates such as Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Indeed, one might surmise that it is health and longevity rather than income that give the biggest boost to reported life satisfaction. Since good health and longevity can be achieved at per capita income levels well below those of the United States, so too can life satisfaction. One marketing expert put it this way, with only slight exaggeration: Basic Survival goods are cheap, whereas narcissistic self-stimulation and social-display products are expensive. Living doesn’t cost much, but showing off does.
  • America is losing its democracy as our politicians trade their votes for campaign contributions from the corporate lobbies. We have a corporatocracy rather than a democracy... The Wall Street Journal... is the leading print mouthpiece for the corporatocracy... America’s corporatocracy is governed by vested interests rather than moral or economic principles.... Americans today by large majorities support public education, Medicare, Social Security, help for the indigent, stronger regulation of the banks, and higher taxation of the rich. The problem is... with the failure of our government to translate American values into American policies.

External linksEdit