The Economics of Sustainability

Dr. Jeffrey Sachs is a renowned Macroeconomist currently at Columbia University and considered by many a great authority on issues relating to sustainable development.

Any serious person interested in the economics of sustainability should listen to his speech at . His basic argument is that the poorest people in the world are not going to be able to enjoy the benefits of sustainable development without significant, large and continuing net resource transfers from the richest countries.

Many of my reasons for being such a big fan of his views stem from his realistic assesment of many problems as opposed to idealistic theories put forward by many economists. His idea of poor people being poor because they live in poor regions is one of the clearest identifications of the “why”. It leads on to explaining why we cannot impose western expectations on developing nations and that benefits cannot be realised through better governance or structural adjustments will not stand up.

Sach’s views are opposed by number who see his proposals as being naïve (including a prominent lawyer at University of Ottawa – for the Canadians!), pointing towards developing nations who did not need large scale foreign aid. I also personally feel that while he has the right economic idea, further issues need to be factored in. This includes resource scarcity and geo-political implications. Nonetheless, the speech gives great views on the economics of sustainability and his book “The end of Poverty” (2005) gives further realistic solutions to poverty reduction. All comments welcome, I’m open to discussion!

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Posted in economic development, sustainable development

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