The book “Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet” is written by Jeffrey Sachs, a famous economist from the Columbia University. His work is devoted to the economic problems of our planet and to the global issues in general. The author focuses on the existing threats for the global population in different spheres of life and presents various ways of improving the situation. In this book, both the environmental and human-caused problems are analyzed.
According to the author, there is a number of problems which need to be solved in the nearest future. These are overpopulation, poverty, irrational use of natural resources, unhealthy economy, urbanization, environmental crisis, climate change, etc.
Sachs illustrates every issue with many considerable examples; what is more, the author gives the diachronic evaluation of the issues, which means comparison of the situation throughout the flow of time. The main point of the book is showing that all the mentioned problems were caused by humans. The author even mentions the HIPPO term, which stands for the consequences of human activities: Habitat destruction, Invasive species, Pollution, Population increase, and Over-harvesting.
Sachs outlines marine fisheries and various species of animals as those most badly affected by humans and proves that the climate change is also a result of human activities. In addition, one of the most important problems outlined by Sachs is proper organization of the world economy and international policy, as far s that the gap between the developed countries and the countries of the third world is expanding gradually. All the statements are supported by numerous statistical data, which makes the author very convincing.
Sachs presents a number of solutions for the problems he defined. Firstly, he offers four possible policies which can reduce the harm caused to the environment. Among them is taxing the companies which pollute air and water. Secondly, the author describes carbon capture and sequestration or using hybrid cars as a way of preventing the climate change.
Thirdly, Sachs points to the need of economizing the water resources. Next, the author mentions lowering the total fertility as a method of halting the population growth. Finally, few phases are presented for countries to go through in order to improve the economical situation in the world.
In my opinion, all the raised issues and set goals are very objective and important. The author proved to be very inventive while presenting his ideas about how to overcome the global problems in all the spheres of human life. I liked the idea of abiding the Geneva Convention and the Convention of Biological Diversity, which will help to save the environment with its various species.
Another issue which is very important and is explained in details is overcoming the poverty traps. The author mentions the countries where the violent behavior and high crime level is caused by an extreme poverty.
To fight such results, he offers public works projects, increase the number of educational establishments, increase the agriculture productivity etc. I think that these suggestions can and should be implemented in life and that they can serve as an instrument for developing both the healthy economy and healthy thinking of the nation.
Besides the mentioned points, however, there are some ideas which seem to be either not realistic or not really helpful. For example, the general overpopulation of the Earth is caused mostly by the countries of the third world, where the demographic situation is uncontrolled by Government.
Nowadays, however, many people in Europe, especially in developed countries like German prefer being sterilized to having children due to a set of reasons, such as career or dissatisfactory material state. That is why the idea of regulating the population growth seems to be irrational: while some countries indeed need this policy, others may need the reverse program to be implemented.
Another issue which I found confusing is preventing the air pollution. Sachs mentions the mechanisms for collecting the carbon dioxide from smoke stacks or straight from the sky. In my point of view, this solution should be developed further, as the gathered substance also needs to be kept somewhere.
So is there point in constructing the new buildings for keeping the carbon dioxide inside? In addition, what size should one of such buildings have to be able to keep even a daily amount of the substance produced by one factory? I think that this idea and its effectiveness are rather doubtful.
Moreover, although the idea of global economy and cooperation seems to be effective, Sachs did not take into consideration the fact that it still has to be governed by someone. Even if all the most powerful countries unite in order to help the poorer ones, they still would need a leader who would control their work. As a consequence, such policy can lead to international conflicts.
The book ”Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet” by Sachs is an objective critical analysis of the current economical and social situation of the world. Unlike the other books related to the same issues, it is very global and complex. The author manages to cover all the burning issues of the modern world and stick to one fibula.
What is more, Sachs doesn’t use any euphemisms to talk about the problems. Being extremely strict and confident, he sounds very convincing. This makes the book especially interesting for those who are eager to know the real economical and political situation of the world. All in all, Sachs does not only present a book on Economics, but also gives a detailed analysis of the existing world problems and tries to develop a plan for their solution.