JJ Spending This Week With Economist Jeffrey Sachs

22 02 2011

Free! — no admission, registration, tuition. Materials not included and I may need to buy a book or two, maybe not. We’ll see.

It only took a cup of coffee, some battery power and less than ten minutes to get started with a world class professor (see his vita at end of post):

“Both [parties] are completely unrealistic . . . what’s happening in this country? . . .Both parties are financed by wealthy people . . . everyone caters to the top. . .
American influence is waning, American infrastructure is crumbling . . .except if you’re rich and you have a lot of money to invest, you’re investing in China. . . our politics is SO ODD right now, because it’s driven just by the very top. . .pure propaganda [of] Big Oil . . . food prices are at all-time highs, there’s instability all over the world. . .energy crises, food crises, do we talk about any of that in our country? Absolutely not.”

‎Next I found a short profession of his thoughts on education. Real education, not schooling: education to help our kids learn about the real world IN the real world, to “Think Big”, to experience and understand what’s being systematically twisted and lied about for the basest motives, in our textbooks and classrooms and broadcasts, even in the hallowed halls of the capitol buildings and courthouses we built to express and effect our American Dreams. So what does the Doctor order? Unschool them in the real world and encourage every opportunity for them to get out in it and unschool themselves:

“The irony is not that we are at an abyss that is unavoidable . . .it’s almost the opposite. We’ve unlocked the ability to promote economic development in all parts of the world. We have at our hand, the ability to end extreme poverty. We have before us either already existing or within reach, technologies . . .the question is whether we can BRING KNOWLEDGE TO BEAR on these solutions and then FIND A COMMON PURPOSE.”

Then comes the class-length learning, via Google, which I’ll be queuing up later today with an cheese-and-onion omelet and a dollop of sour cream, possibly a student-priced glass of sauvignon blanc. School was never this much fun!

Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. From 2002 to 2006, he was Director of the UN Millennium Project and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed goals to reduce extreme poverty, disease, and hunger by the year 2015. Sachs is also President and Co-Founder of Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization aimed at ending extreme global poverty.

He is widely considered to be the leading international economic advisor of his generation. For more than 20 years Professor Sachs has been in the forefront of the challenges of economic development, poverty alleviation, and enlightened globalization, promoting policies to help all parts of the world to benefit from expanding economic opportunities and wellbeing. He is also one of the leading voices for combining economic development with environmental sustainability, and as Director of the Earth Institute leads large-scale efforts to promote the mitigation of human-induced climate change.

In 2004 and 2005 he was named among the 100 most influential leaders in the world by Time Magazine. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, a high civilian honor bestowed by the Indian Government, in 2007. Sachs lectures constantly around the world and was the 2007 BBC Reith Lecturer. He is author of hundreds of scholarly articles and many books, including the New York Times bestsellers Common Wealth (Penguin, 2008) and The End of Poverty (Penguin, 2005). Sachs is a member of the Institute of Medicine and is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Prior to joining Columbia, he spent over twenty years at Harvard University, most recently as Director of the Center for International Development. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Sachs received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard University.

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6 responses

23 02 2011
Nance Confer

Can we vote for this guy for President?

23 02 2011
JJ

I think the one we’ve already got knows this stuff, too. The sticking point says Professor Sachs, is that last part: getting enough Americans to vote in enough legislators to get the money out of politics!

So it’s a Catch-22. The only way to fix it is to first fix it . . .

What that tells me, is the only way to fix it (elect those who will legislate money out of politics and confirm enough SCOTUS judges to uphold that on appeal) is to first fix it (educate enough Americans on why it can’t be fixed any other way and how they are being duped by all the money in politics, into advocating and voting against their own interests.)

25 03 2011
Colleen

Thanks, JJ. Those were great. I’m going to get one of his books from the library today! 🙂

20 10 2011
JJ

His newest book is “The Price of Civilization” about which he told NPR:

[I]t’s time for the wealthiest, richest and most powerful people in this country to play their proper role, to have the civic virtues to support America’s recovery — to stop saying that everything is theirs, and the rest of society has to suffer.

I want the people at the top to have responsibility once again. First, to follow the law, because this has been an era of corporate recklessness and scandal and illegality.

“So, part of civic virtue is being lawful once again. But another part … is sharing in the responsibility in our society. And I believe that the richest and most powerful people have done very well over the last 30 years — but they have not done right for the American people. And it’s time that they do.

21 10 2011
bpbproadrunner

Get rid of the law that declare corporations as people first.

21 10 2011
JJ

Or else keep that and hold them accountable as people! Every corporation with civil and criminal convictions for fraud, for example, ought to be treated by society just like individual people with convictions, and multiple felonies would draw the “three strikes and you’re out for life” penalty just as it does for other people . . . so much for all the major oil and energy companies, most of the insurance and financial corporations, etc.

They (the corporations) would all be serving long sentences of criminal shame locked out of our public square, unable to do business or move freely to prey on the populace or even “exercise their vote” with money as speech, unless and until they “pay their debt to society” — and that wouldn’t mean just paying off the lawmakers to let them re-offend with impunity. People can’t do that; it’s judicial bribery. Why can corporations as people?

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