Common wealth

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Book Review: Common Wealth – Economics for a Crowded Planet. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2008.

Jeffrey D. Sachs paints in this monograph an alarming picture of the world and arguesthat the current ecological, demographic and economic paths are not sustainable.
The author is a leading international economic advisor. He is amongst others the Director of The EarthInstitute at Columbia University and 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 NationsSecretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals.

Sachs believes that market forces alone will not be sufficient to overcome the current issues. Publicpolicy and global cooperation will be needed for everyone to live sustainably and peacefully on our crowed planet. Global conflicts and massive immigrations towards nations with unsaturated resources canbe avoided if developed nations fight against poverty by investing in global prosperity.

In my opinion, at the first glance the structure of the book and the solutions itproposes seemed very practical. However, when finishing reading it I realized that it only gave an introductory approach on the issues. I expected that Sachs would give more concrete ways to improveglobal cooperation; instead his argumentation was more descriptive than prescriptive.
In my point of view he was right in drawing an optimistic vision on the feasibility of the changes, asit is important to fight cynicism and defeatism in order to enable change. Nevertheless, his overly simplistic vision appears as rather naïve. All the issues he mentioned are complexly interrelatedand he failed to point out the importance of the vested interest of corrupted politicians and the irrational selfish behavior of many stakeholders.
Additionally, he did not put enough...