Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, 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. He has twice been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. He was called by the New York Times, “probably the most important economist in the world,” and by Time Magazine “the world’s best known economist.” A recent survey by The Economist Magazine ranked Professor Sachs as among the world’s three most influential living economists of the past decade.
Professor Sachs served as the Director of the Earth Institute from 2002 to 2016. 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 at Columbia University. He is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Sustainable Development Goals, and previously advised both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN 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. Sachs is Director of both the Center for Sustainable Development, and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network under the auspices of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Sachs is co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and is director of the Millennium Villages Project. Sachs is also one of the Secretary-General’s MDG Advocates, and a Commissioner of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Development. He has authored five books, including three New York Times bestsellers (*), in the past decade years: The End of Poverty (2005*), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008*), The Price of Civilization (2011*), To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace (2013) and The Age of Sustainable Development (2015).
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 with more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more than 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 in recent years has worked closely with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences on the issues of sustainable development.
Sachs works closely with many international organizations, including the African Union, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Food Programme, UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, among others.
Professor Sachs’ work has been pivotal in many of the key junctures of globalization during the past thirty years. In the 1980s he helped several Latin American countries including Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru to end hyperinflations and renegotiate their external debts. He was the leading academic advocate in the United States for reducing the debt overhang of the developing countries and his ideas were incorporated in the global debt-reduction plans undertaken from the mid-1980s onward, including the Brady Plan and the HIPC Program.
In 1989, Professor Sachs advised Poland’s anti-communist Solidarity movement and the first post-communist Government of Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki. He wrote the first-ever comprehensive plan for the transition from central planning to a market democracy, which became incorporated into Poland’s highly successful reform program led by Finance Minister Leszek Balcerowicz. Professor Sachs was the main architect of Poland’s successful debt reduction operation. The Government of Poland awarded Sachs with one of its highest honors in 1999, the Commanders Cross of the Order of Merit. He also received an honorary doctorate from the Cracow University of Economics.
Sachs’s ideas and methods of transition from central planning were successfully adopted throughout the transition economies. He helped Slovenia (1991) and Estonia (1992) to introduce new stable and convertible currencies. Based on Poland’s success, he was invited first by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and then by Russian President Boris Yeltsin on the transition to a market economy. He served as advisor to Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar and Finance Minister Boris Federov during 1991-93 on macroeconomic policies. He received the Leontief Medal of the Leontief Centre, St. Petersburg, for his contributions to Russia’s economic reforms.
From the mid-1990s till today, Prof. Sachs has been involved with economic reforms in many parts of Asia, including India and China. He has been a senior advisor to the Indian Government, most recently on the scaling up of primary health care in rural areas (the National Rural Health Mission), a policy that he recommended and helped to promote through the Indian Commission on Macroeconomics and Health. For his broad-based support of India’s economic reforms he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest honors.
He has similarly engaged with the Chinese Government on many issues of sustainable development, and during 2001-3 worked with senior government officials on China’s Western Development Strategy. He has authored many scholarly and policy papers on India’s and China’s economic reforms. Sachs has also worked in other parts of Asia on a number of development and research projects, including in Malaysia, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and others. He actively supports Bhutan’s innovative strategy of Gross National Happiness. He works with the Government of Jordan on a national program of poverty reduction and with the Government of Qatar on education and ICT initiatives throughout the Arab region.
Since 1995, Professor Sachs has been deeply engaged in Africa’s escape from poverty. He has worked in more than two-dozen African countries, and has advised the African leadership at several African Union summits. In the mid-1990s he worked with senior officials of the Clinton Administration to develop the concept of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). He has engaged with dozens of African leaders to promote smallholder agriculture and to fight high disease burdens through strengthened primary health systems. His pioneering ideas on investing in health to break the poverty trap have been widely applied throughout the continent. He currently serves as an advisor to several African governments, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, among others.
The Millennium Villages Project, which he directs, operates in ten African countries, and covers more than 500,000 people. The MVP has achieved notable successes in raising agricultural production, reducing children’s stunting, and cutting child mortality rates, with the results described in several peer-reviewed publications. Its key concepts of integrated rural development to achieve the MDGs are now being applied at national scale in Nigeria and Mali, and are being used by many other countries to help support national anti-poverty programs. He works very closely with the Islamic Development Bank to scale up programs of integrated rural development and sustainable agriculture among the Bank’s member countries. One such project supports pastoralist communities in the Horn of Africa, with six participating nations: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan.
Since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000, Professor Sachs has been widely considered to be the leading academic scholar and practitioner on the MDGs. He chaired the WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (2000-1), which played a pivotal role in scaling up the financing of health care and disease control in the low-income countries to support MDGs 4, 5, and 6. He worked with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2000-1 to design and launch the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. He worked closely with senior officials of the administration of George W. Bush to develop the PEPFAR program to fight HIV/AIDS, and the PMI to fight malaria. On behalf of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, from 2002-2006 he chaired the UN Millennium Project, which was tasked with developing a concrete action plan to achieve the MDGs. The UN General Assembly adopted the key recommendations of the UN Millennium Project at a special session in September 2005. The recommendations for rural Africa are currently being implemented and documented in the Millennium Villages, and in several national scale-up efforts such as in Nigeria.
Professor Sachs has been the Director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University since 2002. In that capacity, he leads a university-wide organization of more than 850 professionals from natural-science and social-science disciplines, in support of sustainable development. Sachs has consistently advocated for the expansion of University education on sustainable development, and helped to introduce the PhD in Sustainable Development at Columbia University, one of the first PhD programs of its kind in the U.S. He championed the new Masters of Development Practice (MDP), which has led to a consortium of major universities around the world offering the new degree. The Earth Institute has also guided the adoption of sustainable development as a new major at Columbia College. The Earth Institute is home to cutting-edge research on all aspects of earth systems and sustainable development.
In August 2012, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the launch of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), with Sachs as the Director. The SDSN will mobilize scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable-development problem solving at local, national, and global scales. This Solutions Network will accelerate joint learning and help to overcome the compartmentalization of technical and policy work by promoting integrated approaches to the interconnected economic, social, and environmental challenges confronting the world. The Network convenes 12 global expert Thematic Groups on key sustainable development challenges that will identify common solutions and highlight best practices. Over time the SDSN will launch projects to pilot or roll-out solutions to sustainable development challenges and assist countries in developing sustainable long-term development pathways.
Sachs is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Blue Planet Prize, membership in the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Society of Fellows, and the Fellows of the World Econometric Society. His conversation with Tyler Cowen won the Quartz Podcast Award for best business/economics podcast of 2015. He has received more than 20 honorary degrees, and many awards and honors around the world. His syndicated newspaper column appears in more than 80 countries around the world, and he is a frequent contributor to major publications such as the Financial Times of London, the International Herald Tribune, Scientific American, and Time magazine.
Sachs’ policy and academic works span the challenges of globalization, and include: the relationship of international trade and economic growth; the resource curse and extractive industries; public health; the history of economic development; economic geography; strategies of economic reform; international financial markets; macroeconomic policy; global competitiveness; climate change; the role of universities in economic development; and the end of poverty. He has authored or co-authored hundreds of scholarly articles and several books, including three bestsellers, a textbook on macroeconomics that is widely used around the world, and a highly regarded new text on sustainable development.
Prior to his arrival at Columbia University in July 2002, Sachs spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, most recently as 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. He joined the Harvard faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1980, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1982 and Full Professor in the fall of 1983, at the age of 28.
The benefits that the US reaps from having the world's main international currency are diminishing with the rise of the euro and renminbi. And now President Donald Trump’s misguided trade wars and anti-Iran sanctions will accelerate the move away from the dollar.
This summer's fires, droughts, and record-high temperatures should serve as a wake-up call. The longer a narrow and ignorant elite condemns Americans and the rest of humanity to wander aimlessly in the political desert, the more likely it is that we will all end up in a wasteland.
The economics of Medicare for All championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders are actually quite straightforward. Under what advocates call "M4A," health care coverage would expand while total spending on health care -- by companies, individuals and the government -- would decline because of lower costs. More would be paid through the government and less through private insurers.
The idea of sustainable development is that every nation (and local community) should aim for a triple bottom line: economic prosperity, social justice and environmental sustainability. However, many of our politicians have never warmed to the idea.
Aristotle famously contrasted two types of knowledge: “techne” (technical know-how) and “phronesis” (practical wisdom). Scientists and engineers have offered the techne to move rapidly from fossil fuels to zero-carbon energy; now we need the phronesis to redirect our politics and economies accordingly.
Europe’s biggest challenge in resisting US sanctions on Iran is not legal or even geopolitical. It is psychological: European leaders act as if the US still cares about a trans-Atlantic alliance of shared interests, values, and approaches.
The US demands that North Korea adhere to the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and on that basis has encouraged the UN Security Council to impose sanctions in pursuit of denuclearization. Yet the brazenness with which the US demands not true denuclearization, but rather its own nuclear dominance, is stunning.
The EU has taken the lead in responding to abuse by the likes of Facebook, thanks to its new privacy standards and proposed greater taxation of peddlers of online personal data. Yet more is needed and feasible.
Italy – which stands at the border between Europe's prosperous north and crisis-ridden south, and between an open Europe and one seized by atavistic nationalism – will play a pivotal role in determining whether the EU survives long enough to reform itself. The coalition government that emerges will prove crucial.
President Trump recently suggested that the United States should come out of Syria “very soon.” Leading voices of the foreign policy establishment — in the Pentagon, State Department, Congress, and the media — pushed back, calling for the United States to stay in Syria. Trump quickly acquiesced. Trump was right (yes, a rarity) while the security state was wrong yet again. It’s long past time for the United States to end its destructive military engagement in Syria and across the Middle East, though the security state seems unlikely to let this happen.
China’s proposed Global Energy Interconnection – based on renewables, ultra-high-voltage transmission, and an AI-powered smart grid – represents the boldest global initiative by any government to achieve the goals of the Paris climate agreement. It is a strategy fit for the scale of the most important challenge the world faces today.
America’s official narrative has sought to conceal the scale and calamitous consequences of US efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. That is understandable, because US efforts are in blatant violation of international law, which bars UN member states from supporting military action to overthrow other members' governments.
NEW YORK – The World Bank declares that its mission is to end extreme poverty within a generation and to boost shared prosperity. These goals are universally agreed as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. But the World Bank lacks an SDG strategy, and now it is turning to Wall Street to please its political masters in Washington. The Bank’s president, Jim Yong Kim, should find a better way forward, and he can do so by revisiting one of his own great successes.
My remarks will focus on the ethical challenges of one particular aspect of the financial system: the investment management industry. Given the increasing size and importance of this industry globally, I believe that it is of utmost importance that we develop an ethical framework for its functioning.
The Global Partnership for Education, a worthy and capable initiative to promote education in 65 low-income countries, is begging for funds. The fact that it must do so – and for a paltry $1 billion per year, at that – exposes the charade of the US and European commitment to education for all.
(CNN) Americans are paying a fearsome price for global warming. The federal government’s National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported earlier this week that the three powerful Atlantic hurricanes of 2017 — Harvey, Irma and Maria — cost Americans $265 billion, and massive Western forest fires another $18 billion. Scientists have shown that human-induced climate change has greatly increased the frequency and intensity of such disasters.
I am writing from Beijing, China, where forward-looking policies in infrastructure, technology and diplomacy have fueled rapid economic growth and even more remarkable technological advancement. By the mid-2020s, China will most likely lead the world in key technologies for low-carbon energy, robotics and advanced transportation, among other areas targeted in China's long-term development strategy.
With America AWOL and China ascendant, this is a critical time for Germany and the European Union to provide the world with vision, stability, and global leadership. And that imperative extends to Germany's Christian Democrats and Social Democrats.
Energy is the lifeblood of the economy. Without ample, safe, and low-cost energy, it is impossible to secure the benefits of modern life. For two centuries, fossil fuels — coal, oil, and natural gas — offered the key to America’s and the world’s growing energy needs. Now, because of global warming, we have to shift rapidly to a new low-carbon energy system.
Billionaire US plutocrats such as Charles and David Koch, Robert Mercer, and Sheldon Adelson have long played their politics for personal financial gain – even if it means boosting inequality at home and blocking sustainable development worldwide. To stop them, US citizens will need to regain the upper hand in electoral politics.
According to Aristotle, politics should be about the common interest. Yet everywhere we look, narrow corporate interests have pushed aside what’s best for most Americans. By adopting America’s Goals for 2030, we can restore the politics of the common interest and push corporate lobbyists to where they belong, the sidelines of politics.
America today doesn’t just have red (conservative) states and blue (progressive) states, but de facto red countries and blue countries: regions with distinct cultures, heroes, politics, dialects, economies, and ideas of freedom. The recent massacre in Las Vegas suggests that it's time to let them go their separate ways.
Here is a message to investors in the oil industry, whether pension and insurance funds, university endowments, hedge funds or other asset managers: Your investments are going to sour. The growing devastation caused by climate change, as seen this month in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean, are going to blow a hole in your fossil-fuel portfolio.
This article includes excerpts from the 2017 SDGs report - a report that looks at the world, and individual countries' movements towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The exerpts look at the goals of the SDGs, what they are, and how certain areas and countries are doing in achieving the SDGs. It specifically looks at the "spillover" effects that countries have on other's ability to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.
The report comes to five main conclusions:
1. Every country faces major challenges in achieving the SDGs
2. Poor countries need help to achieve the SDGs
3. The universal SDG agenda contains important spillover effects
4. Countries should usefully benchmark themselves against their peers as well as against the goal thresholds
5. Countries and international agencies need to make substantial investments in statistical capacity to track the SDGs
The 2017 SDG Index and Dashboards Report includes individual analyses of each country in regards to their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. This article focuses on the top ten countries in regards to the scores given in this report, and provides the United States (Ranked 42nd) as comparison.
In this article, Jeffrey Sachs, university professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia, discusses the big business of American healthcare and lays out a 10-point plan for achieving a feasible, fair and reasonable healthcare system that limits the monopoly power of the health care sector.
In this article, Professor Sachs discusses how a real tax reform would address four problems. First, it would raise total revenues as a share of GDP, in order to cut the chronic budget deficit. Second, it would address the crisis of falling wages and disappearing jobs facing working-class America. Third, it would curb carbon pollution, which is dangerously warming the planet. Fourth, to spur saving and investment, it would shift taxes toward consumption rather than income.
On May 20th, 2017, Professor Jeffrey Sachs addressed the Global Solutions T20 Summit in Berlin. In this speech, Sachs puts our current economic, social and environmental crises into historical context and addresses the importance of new ideas and solutions to the most pressing issues facing the world today, specifically those in the 2030 agenda of Sustainable Development Goals that were unanimously decided upon in September 2015 by a group of world leaders.
US President Donald Trump and his commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, repeatedly commit an economic fallacy that first-year economics students learn to avoid. And their embrace of economic ignorance could lead to disaster.
"Our generation’s greatest challenge is sustainable development, meaning a nation that is prosperous, fair, and environmentally sustainable. Our nation’s goals should be the Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030."
In this article, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs talks about the need for the new administration to take on the Sustainable Development goals. He states that none of them are out of reach, and that they are reminiscent of the bold goal-setting that has seen so many of America's greatest achievements.
"In short, for a country with the wealth of knowledge, technology, and skills of the United States, we don’t need to settle for a rank of 22nd out of 34 OECD countries in sustainable development. By setting ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, and by engaging thought leaders across the country, the United States could once again set the standard for policy boldness and innovation, and inspire other nations, even today’s adversaries, to work together for a better world."
The Trump administration has recently put forward a budget that includes cuts to the foreign aid program. In this article Prof. Jeffrey Sachs argues the merits of foreign aid.
Sachs' support for foreign aid is rooted in his morality: "My own support for foreign assistance is based on morality. “Justice, justice shall you pursue,” we are told in the book of Deuteronomy. Those who fail to help the poor cast themselves outside of the moral community."
There are also clear, measurable benefits to foreign aid:
"Aid works when its main purpose is to finance supplies such as medicines and solar panels, and the staffing by local workers in public health, agronomy, hydrology, ecology, energy, and transport. US government aid should be pooled with finances from other governments to support critical investments in health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure, based on professional best practices. That’s how the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria works, as one important example. It’s a model of success."
Sachs ends his article with the statement: "There is a real question: Who has aided whom over the past centuries? And can we live in morality and peace?"
In the US, pundits remain fixated on traditional party divides, and not on the deeper demographic changes that are underway. Today’s millennial generation, with its members' future-oriented perspective, will soon dominate American politics, and the country will become increasingly liberal and economically just as a result.
The only sane way forward for the US is vigorous global cooperation to realize the potential of twenty-first-century science and technology to slash poverty, disease, and environmental threats. The rise of regional powers is not a threat to the US, but an opportunity for a new era of prosperity and constructive problem solving.
In this article Jeffery Sachs outlines how and why the U.S. should transition to low carbon energy.
He states that while the Trump administration has talked about the resurgence of coal and other fossil fuels, he believes that the pushback from other world leaders and millennials makes this less than likely.
Sachs' roadmap to a transition to low carbon energy includes three steps:
1. Energy efficiency: cutting back on excessive energy use through switching to energy-saving technologies.
2. Transitioning to zero carbon electricity: by 2050 electricity should be generated entirely by non-carbon sources.
3. Fuel switching: instead of burning fossil fuels in cars, people would use electricity or other substitutes.
Sachs describes that global warming has already had major impacts on the world and the United States of America is in a prime position to use it's readily-available renewable energy sources to transition away from carbon energy and mitigate further consequences of global warming.
When the 2008 financial crisis hit, outlays on both consumption and housing plummeted, yet the investment that should have picked up the slack never materialized. It is time to usher in an era of high investment in sustainable development.
THE SINGLE MOST important issue in allocating national resources is war versus peace, or as macroeconomists put it, “guns versus butter.” The United States is getting this choice profoundly wrong, squandering vast sums and undermining national security. In economic and geopolitical terms, America suffers from what Yale historian Paul Kennedy calls “imperial overreach.” If our next president remains trapped in expensive Middle East wars, the budgetary costs alone could derail any hopes for solving our vast domestic problems.
Jeffrey Sachs begins this article with a description of stagnating incomes "While household median incomes have stagnated since the late 1990s, the inflation-adjusted earnings of poorer households have stagnated for even longer, roughly 40 years" while higher income households have seen substantial increases.
Sachs describes that there are three main factors that contribute to this income inequality: technology, trade, and politics.
Technology has raised demand for higher skilled, higher educated workers and has increased income for those groups while leaving other groups behind. While trade has increased competition for lower skilled industrial workers. Finally, politics in the United States has not tended to favor the working class and instead it benefits those who can pay for lobbying.
Sachs then investigates the policies in the U.S. compared to those in other countries using the Gini index (a measure of income inequality varies between 0 - full income equality across households, and 1 - full-income inequality, in which one household has all the income) to compare countries both through market income and disposable income. He finds that the net distibution in the U.S. is especially low when compared to many other first world countries and ends with the statement that "these income comparisons underscore that America's high inequality is a choice, not an irreversible law of modern world economy."
The US spends $1 billion per year on global education, and $900 billion on military-related programs. Unfortunately, it is not the only country where policymakers believe that sustainable development is best achieved through superior firepower.
Syria’s civil war is the most dangerous and destructive crisis on the planet. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has greatly compounded the dangers by hiding the US role in Syria from the American people and from world opinion.
Brexit is a watershed event that signals the need for a new kind of globalization, one that could be far superior to the status quo that was rejected at the British polls. What is required, above all, is a shift from a strategy of war to one of sustainable development.
Our world is immensely wealthy and could easily finance a healthy start in life for every child on the planet. A small shift of financing from wasteful US military spending to global funds for health and education, or a very small levy on tax havens’ deposits, would make the world vastly fairer, safer, and more productive.
Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba is the first by a US president since Calvin Coolidge went in 1928. Normalization of the bilateral relationship will pose opportunities and perils for Cuba, and a giant test of maturity for the US.
The Paris climate agreement was a large step for the world, but implementation of that agreement is going to be much more difficult.
The U.S. government, and governments across the world will need "a new approach to an issue that is highly complex, long term, and global in scale." This sort of fast paced, wholistic transformation in industry is unprecedented.
Sachs believes that "politics as usual" will not be sufficient to meet the need for this aggressive shift to reduce carbon emissions and that policies that look beyond the short-term political environment are needed to enact the necessary changes. Therefore, Sachs suggests removing the control of day to day planning and implementation of climate change regulation from "short term electoral politics" and creating "politically independent energy agencies with high technical experience."
Syria is currently the world’s greatest humanitarian catastrophe and most dangerous geopolitical hotspot. If the fighting is to stop, any solution must be based on a transparent and realistic account of what caused it to start.
In the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, many observers wondered whether plans submitted by more than 150 governments to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 would be enough. But there is a more important question: Will the chosen path to 2030 provide the basis for ending greenhouse-gas emissions later in the century?
This is the learning and teaching companion for The Age of Sustainable Development, by Jeffrey D. Sachs. Below you’ll find student companions for each chapter (which include chapter summaries, data activities, review and discussion questions), modeling companions to provide quantitative and mathematical background to the concepts discussed in the book, and Power Point slides.
Sustainable development is the central drama of our time. The world’s governments are currently negotiating a set of Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, for the period 2015-2030, following the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which run from 2000-2015.
In this article Jeff Sachs injects some reality into much of the hysteria around entitlement spending. Many have heard the argument that healthcare costs are rising and that the government will go broke paying for programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Sachs, however, breaks down the number of the price increase. In 2012 the President's budget saw an increase in Medicare and Medicaid spending from 5.1% to 5.5%. This was not a substantial increase. Sachs warns that many of the long-term predictions should be taken with a grain of salt, "Mechanical extrapolations that assume that health care costs will rise much faster than GNP between 2011 and 2085 are utterly unconvincing. Why should healthcare costs continue to rise so far and fast when healthcare costs are already vastly over-priced now compared with what other countries pay for the same services? Why should we assume failure decade after decade to use the new information technologies to lower the costs of health-care delivery and administration?"
This article is a reality-check about entitlement spending. Yes, it has grown and will continue to grow, but for programs that help so many people, the last thing that we need is to demolish the entire system.