Economics for a Crowded Planet

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Crises facing humanity – like poverty and disease – are daunting, but economist Jeffrey D. Sachs says they can be solved. He shares his solutions in his new book, Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet.

Event: Jeffrey Sachs will be in conversation with Charlie Rose
Tuesday, March 25 at 8 pm
92nd Street Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall
Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street
To learn more and purchase tickets, go here.

Weigh in: Do you ever feel helpless when it comes to solving major problems facing humanity? Do you agree with Dr. Sachs that those problems all have solutions?

If you can't see the video click here


Jeffrey D. Sachs

Comments [14]

Paul from Congers, ny

I think the main point here is the unsustainability of the population growth.
Very few people understand that, on the left or on the right. Even here, most of us are discussing policy and it divides us. Frankly, just like it's the poverty that divides people in the poorest countries.

Mar. 27 2008 09:38 AM
AWM from UWS


You are correct that the African markets are uncorrelated with the U.S. (excluding S. Africa). Unfortunately, the problem for American investors is finding a reputable and trustworthy entity for investing in Africa.

Most African indexes are symbolic and not investable or African companies are included within "Frontier" indexes. S&P has a couple. As for funds there are several of varying sizes & success. Most recently UK & Russian co's have launched Africa based funds. Sadly, not much movement in the US (too much focus on CDOs, MBSs and their consequences)... but there are people working on that. At this point, you should keep the African capital markets on your radar, when opportunities arise you'll be ahead of the game.

Mar. 25 2008 12:53 PM
jayackroyd from UES, NYC

Sachs not concerned with economic development? He walked away from a superstar trajectory in theoretical economics, where the elite were at the time, in order to work at the Harvard Institute of International Development, at a time when development economics was an intellectual backwater.

Mar. 25 2008 12:40 PM
Henrietta from Manhattan

What is the role of the World Bank and World Trade Org in helping reduce poverty? I have heard that they override local governments and local agendas to promote their own agendas and are also not environmentally sensitive to local issues. Why is there so much resentment to their interference?

Mar. 25 2008 12:31 PM

Hey AWM,

Thanks for pointing that out. I did not know that. It sounds like a great way to get equity investments uncorrelated with the U.S.

Are there indexes or mutual funds that one can use to invest in Africa equities? I was thinking of a very small percentage of the portfolio.

Mar. 25 2008 12:31 PM
Jaime from Queens

Why must all nations follow the same formula for economic development? Why do we not pay South American Nations to maintain rain forest or Africans nations to maintain wild life as their main source of income. Why do we not diversify function by region. We also need to localize food production and remove it from economic control. What plans do we have for mass population movement to deal with the effects of global warming. Water is the main problem that needs to be addressed. Most political problems in developing nations result of this.

Mar. 25 2008 12:31 PM
savitra from nyc

there is an apparent conflict between fighting disease, poverty, unemployment, etc - all of which will serve to increase longevity and population - and the need to reduce growth and resource use. granted that what we need is more intelligent and efficient resource use, how does dr. sachs view this apparent conflict?

Mar. 25 2008 12:29 PM
Eric from B'klyn

I do agree w Prof Sachs... the challenges are daunting... and while I agree that there are solutions to the poverty and climate/energy issues, the necessary changes go to the center of the current economic system which is NOT organized to address non-commercial challenges.

Al Gore is urging changes too and asserts rightly that there is a lack of political will... how to persuade politicians to act is a key unanswered question.

I think Mohamed Yunus' proposal to create a new concept of business offers

Mar. 25 2008 12:28 PM
bob from brooklyn

sachs ,you haven't learned anything its not about actual abilities. its about political will. what do you expect from people who reelected bush and will reelect bush in the face of mccain. we are doomed.

Mar. 25 2008 12:21 PM

Sorry Professor,

Economic growth and getting out of the stone age and shifting from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy reduces population growth. Opening up economic opportunities for one to use their brain instead of the sweat of muscles reduces population. Why? because women then can generate economic activity. The opportunity cost for having children increases and as a result they opt to have less kids and work.

Capitalism helps reduce population.

Mar. 25 2008 12:15 PM
Daniel Piatek from Manhattan

To respond to your question, yes, that's exactly how I feel. And then the question arises, what do I do? What can I do that can create, or bring to bear, those solutions? This has been a pressing question for me for years.

Mar. 25 2008 11:43 AM
AWM from UWS

Hello Mr. Sachs,

When discussing Africa a focus on the encouraging signs and vast potential of African economies and their stock exchanges is as necessary as discussing the sluggish and less than adequate political advancements.

From 2002-2006 the total market cap for African stock exchanges has risen 389% while total value traded has risen 439%. Unlike loans to the government, investment in these exchanges are safe from the hands of African leaders (if it is threatened foreign investors would simply pull out) and would support the growth of existing African economic institutions.

The best way to ensure political change is to narrow the gap between the have and the have nots. Investing directly in the companies that employ Africans, that Africans posses shares in of is a constructive start.

Mar. 25 2008 11:05 AM

Does Prof Sachs regret the use of "Shock Therapy" economics for Russia? Does he feel partially responsible for the rise of Putin?

Mar. 25 2008 10:56 AM

Do you agree that "engagement" is preferable to punishment no matter what the circumstances for a country that has millions of malnourished people, in contrast to its rich government?

Is there a point at which one switches from engagement to punishment?

Do you consider China, or Sudan, to be such a country and where does one draw the line...

...or is there a line when it comes to trying to help poverty stricken folks whose very poverty is a political tool?

Mar. 25 2008 09:09 AM

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