The Price of Civilization

The Price of Civilization

Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity

Book - 2011
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For more than three decades, Jeffrey D. Sachs has been at the forefront of international economic problem solving.  But Sachs turns his attention back home in The Price of Civilization, a book that is essential reading for every American. In a forceful, impassioned, and personal voice, he offers not only a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country's economic ills but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity.

As he has done in dozens of countries around the world in the midst of economic crises, Sachs turns his unique diagnostic skills to what ails the American economy. He finds that both political parties--and many leading economists--have missed the big picture, offering shortsighted solutions such as stimulus spending or tax cuts to address complex economic problems that require deeper solutions. Sachs argues that we have profoundly underestimated globalization's long-term effects on our country, which create deep and largely unmet challenges with regard to jobs, incomes, poverty, and the environment. America's single biggest economic failure, Sachs argues, is its inability to come to grips with the new global economic realities.

Yet Sachs goes deeper than an economic diagnosis. By taking a broad, holistic approach--looking at domestic politics, geopolitics, social psychology, and the natural environment as well--Sachs reveals the larger fissures underlying our country's current crisis. He shows how Washington has consistently failed to address America's economic needs. He describes a political system that has lost its ethical moorings, in which ever-rising campaign contributions and lobbying outlays overpower the voice of the citizenry. He also looks at the crisis in our culture, in which an overstimulated and consumption-driven populace in a ferocious quest for wealth now suffers shortfalls of social trust, honesty, and compassion.

Finally, Sachs offers a plan to turn the crisis around. He argues persuasively that the problem is not America's abiding values, which remain generous and pragmatic, but the ease with which political spin and consumerism run circles around those values. He bids the reader to reclaim the virtues of good citizenship and mindfulness toward the economy and one another. Most important, he bids each of us to accept the price of civilization, so that together we can restore America to its great promise.  

The Price of Civilization is a masterly road map for prosperity, founded on America's deepest values and on a rigorous understanding of the twenty-first-century world economy.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Random House, [2011]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ℗♭2011
ISBN: 9781400068418
Branch Call Number: 330 SA14
Characteristics: 324 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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voisjoe1 Sep 29, 2013

From 1970 to 1977, the top CEO/Avg Worker Ratio compensation was at 30 and then skyrocketed to over 1000 in 2000 has been reduced to 775 at about the time that the Clinton tax increase produced a rare period of surpluses. In 1929, the top 0.01% made a whopping 5% of the nation’s income, which FDR reduced about 2%. Then the Bush tax cuts increased the 0.01%’s share of the national income to 6% for another “ gilded age”. Many economists said such savage inequality in our society makes it extremely easy for the economy to fall into a depression or great recession. Sachs makes many proposals for us to reduce the inequality of America, but he wrote this book before the great gerrymandering of state districts and federal Representative districts, which have created a huge advantage for the Republicans in these elections where they can win a large majority of seats with much less than 50% of the overall vote. Now it seems to me that rather than the majority passing good laws to improve America, we will have to wait until the majority gets sick of the crazy minority Republicans attempting to pass laws to increase income inequality, laws allowing corporations to freely pollute the air and water, passing laws to make it difficult for middle-class to get college educations, etc.

jlazcan Dec 17, 2011

Sachs offers an honest account of the current economic and political environment in 2010-2011. He exposes the government (Democrats & Republicans) disregard for the will of the US citizenry and explains his view of how and why we got into the situation we are in. Sachs covers taxes, unemployment, wealth, political influence, poverty, entitlement programs, pollution, education etc. Obviously change is needed and the status quo only serves a small portion of our populace. What the author does that many other books don't do is offer solutions to the problems. This sets him apart and even if his solutions are not a precise roadmap they are a good indication of what needs to be done and what can be done.

debwalker Nov 15, 2011

Recalling a conversation with someone in California about Canada's GST. His point was that taxes are the price of living in a decent society, and that America's failure to understand this was leading to its decline.

"The Sachs recital has drawn predictable wrath on the right, where, as if to prove the author’s point about a cheapened debate, the book is being savaged in The Wall Street Journal and other organs, not by scholars but by dutiful politicians and comfort bloggers. It points up the ultimate futility of Sachs making a case so at odds with a deeply entrenched system with little sense of how that predominant opposition is to be overcome. If Democrats and Republicans now agree on anything, it is their refusal to expand government and pay Sachs’s trillions as a price of any civilization any time soon."
Roger Morris
Globe and Mail


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