‘This is an impressive exercise in presenting complex subject matter in plain English, and relating the practicalities of life- subsistence agriculture and water management, for example – to the biggest ideas of modern science’ – Martin Vander Weyer, The Daily Telegraph ‘His new book ! bursts with ideas and is suffused with what can only be described as irrepressible optimism’ – Ed Pilkington, The Guardian
In this book Jeffrey Sachs, one of the world’s leading economists and author of the bestselling The End of Poverty, analyses and addresses the great, and interconnected, global challenges of the twenty-first century. A series of cascading threats to global well-being – the most significant being environmental degradation and rapid population growth – bear down upon our increasingly crowded planet. All of them are solvable, Sachs argues, but potentially disastrous if left unattended. Our task is to achieve truly sustainable development, by which he means finding a global course which enables the world to benefit from the spread of prosperity while ensuring that we don’t destroy the eco-systems which keep us alive and our place in nature which helps sustain our values. How do we move forward together, benefiting from our increasing technological mastery, avoiding the terrible dangers of climate change, mass famines, violent conflicts, population explosions in some parts of the world and collapses in others, and world-wide pandemic diseases? How do we steer global politics when there are now so many who believe they are entitled to a hand on the wheel? In answering these questions, Common Wealth examines, digests and judges vast quantities of information from many different fields of study in each of the interconnected areas of politics, economics and ecology. Sachs shows that there are different ways of managing the world’s technologies, resources and politics from those currently being followed, and that it should be possible to adopt policies which reflect long-term and co-operative thinking instead of, as currently, disregard for others and ever-increasing barriers to solving the problems which we collectively face. The very idea of nations that scramble for global power, natural resources and international markets is passe, and must be replaced by a new era of global co-operation around shared goals. Common Wealth is a book that appeals equally to both head and heart, and one which no globally thinking person can ignore.