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The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity Hardcover – October 4, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781400068418
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400068418
  • ASIN: 140006841X
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for THE PRICE OF CIVILIZATION

"An important assessment of what ails America, and a must-read for policymakers."--Kirkus Reviews

"Best known for advising postcommunist and impoverished countries on development strategies, economist Sachs (Common Wealth) takes on the cesspool of debt, backwardness, and corruption that is the United States in this hard-hitting brief for a humane economy... a must-read for every concerned citizen."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

“There is no shortage of books on why laissez-faire is bad theory and dangerous practice. For a succinct, humane, and politically astute tour of the horizon, it’s hard to improve on Sachs’s The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity.”--The American Prospect

"Jeffrey Sachs’s new book is a landmark in this great and essentially American tradition, setting out with luminous clarity the narrative and the analysis of how the US and the wider world has been traduced and seduced by debased ideology, racist reflexes and huge vested interests from its liberal and enlightened roots. Indeed, Sachs by his life and his writing goes far to restore one’s wavering faith in the informing inspiration of the post-1945 new dawn, faith in economics, faith in America and faith in humanity."--The Spectator

About the Author

Jeffrey Sachs is the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and special adviser to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. He is internationally renowned for his contributions to solving some of the world’s most daunting economic and social crises, in his roles as a leading scholar and as an economic adviser to governments and international organizations around the world.

More About the Author

Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. He is internationally renowned for his work as an economic adviser to governments around the world.

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Customer Reviews

I urge everyone to read this book.
Beth Browde
In this sense, Sachs's book is at least a step in the right direction.
Tiger CK
Very well written and easy to understand.
Edouard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

241 of 255 people found the following review helpful By Tiger CK on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In the Price of Civilization Jeffrey Sachs makes a powerful call for significant changes in the way the U.S. government manages the economy. According to Sachs, an economics professor at Columbia University, Washington has not devised policies that meet the challenge of globalization. Rather than investing in education and infrastructure, as many Asian countries have during the last twenty years, they have resorted to popular short-term stimulus measures such as cutting taxes and reducing interest rates. These problems have been exacerbated by lobbyists whose influence over Republicans and Democrats has made meaningful change impossible.

Sachs argues that the best solution for these problems is for Washington to move toward a "mixed economy" in which a more effective government plays a larger role in regulating businesses. He believes that the current problems in the American economy are structural and not short-term. With the Republicans and Democrats both seeking solutions that will prop up the economy for a year or two rather than address the structural issues, the United States is on the wrong course and not likely to return to the levels of prosperity it previously enjoyed. These problems can only be solved if the government makes a long-term commitment to investing in industry in part by raising taxes on the wealthy and reducing the growing gap between the rich and poor.

The Price of Civilization is divided into two sections. The first section covers The Great Crash and gives a thoroughly detailed description of the mistakes made by American elected officials. He critiques free market capitalism as well as those politicians who have blamed big government for the United States' difficulties in meeting the challenges of globalization.
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89 of 96 people found the following review helpful By R. Sampson on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In "The Price of Civilization" Jeffrey Sachs, one of the top economists specializing in poor and developing countries, turns his attention to the problems facing the United States, a task that he finds himself "deeply surprised and unnerved" to have to undertake.

Sachs is a strong proponent of the "mixed economy" and argues that while the free market works in most cases, it cannot be expected to solve all problems by itself. Government has a crucial role, and Sachs lists three primary goals: efficiency, fairness, and sustainability. In order to achieve these things, government must provide services like regulation, redistribution of income to protect the most vulnerable, and investment in public goods like infrastructure and basic scientific research.

Sachs argues that, beginning with the Reagan administration, the U.S. government has increasingly abandoned this role, and has been more and more subject to capture by corporations and the wealthy elite. As a result of this, and of a distracted consumption-focused population, policy makers have underestimated the impact of globalization and failed to make the necessary investments and adaptations to insure the country's success in the future.

Sachs' prescriptions include increased public investment, especially in education, and a dramatic reduction in military expenditure. He also argues convincingly throughout the book that marginal taxes on the wealthy should be increased, as the rich are not paying their fair share of the "price of civilization."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Whether you are from the left or the right, Democrat or Republican, this is the book you must read to understand America. It is extraordinary because it is completely understandable. There is no jargon. This is a totally understandable narrative of what America is facing today and what we as concerned citizens can do about it.
Any undergraduate in college can tell you that economics is more about advanced mathematics than anything else. Warren Buffett, America's most famous investor will tell you that if he needed calculus to make investments, he'd still be delivering newspapers in Omaha. What Sachs has done is come at us with the truth, the unvarnished, unfiltered, objective truth as he sees it.

He pulls no punches and makes no pretense at protecting anyone else's feelings and reputation. He admits voting for Obama, and then tells us why the President has failed us miserably. He will vote for Obama next time as well, but he doesn't mind making point after point why the current programs in effect and proposed can't possibly work. His analysis and conclusions are impeccable. There's no bias here. This is the information you and I as citizens of the Great Republic desperately need and we are not getting it anywhere else.

Mass media wastes our time with the same old recycled nonsense from both sides of the aisle, but not Harvard trained Jeffery Sachs. He comes right at us and tells us that Washington gives us gimmicks after gimmicks when we need long term planning that makes sense. He is absolutely straight forward when he informs us that the millions of jobs lost to China through globalization are GONE FOREVER. The problem is structural unemployment and nobody in the government has attacked it.
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