Book review - The price of civilization: Reawakening American virtue and prosperity

  • Author     Jeffrey D. Sachs
  • Subject     Economics
  • Year          2011
  • Publisher  New York: Random House
  • ISBN   9781400068418
The first part of the book first pinpoints the economic predicament faced by America today. According to Sachs, the free-market ideology stemming from the 1980's has been so pervasive among both Democrats and Republicans that they overlooked the true roots of the American economic problem - its inability to cope with the new global economy. By adopting the free-market approaches, the government cut tax, refrained from spending on social welfare and kept interest rates abnormally low. Not only were these measures unable to tackle the crises, they created more uneven wealth distributions along with other unfavourable social consequences. 

In the second part the author suggests solutions to the problems. They include changing the tax structure, realigning the federal budget to curb the constant national account deficit, reinvesting in social welfare programs, and most importantly, ending the corporatocracy which has exerted an overwhelming power on politics on the last decades.

During the course, the author actually went beyond economics and discussed some of the environmental and social challenges faced by mankind today. Consumerism, Sachs claims, is causing an epidemic of unhappiness in our society while severely devastating the environment. Therefore, while looking for the economic cures we also need to address the psychological, moral and environmental values of our society today in order to regain true prosperity.

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