Jeffrey Sachs

Jeffrey Sachs, is the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is also Director of the UN Millennium Project and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed goals to reduce extreme poverty, disease, and hunger by the year 2015.

Recent Articles

How to Live Happily with Robots

It takes extensive government intervention to assure that gains of automation are broadly shared.

(Photo: AP/Shizuo Kambayashi)
This article appears in the Summer 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here. Machines do indeed eliminate jobs. And on the whole, we should be grateful. In the biblical telling, humanity was condemned to hard labor following the expulsion from Eden: “By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread.” Yet machines have offered us some respite, easing our burdens and raising living standards. The armies of robots and other smart machines now on the horizon can ease those burdens further, if we humans are smart enough to act so that the benefits of these technologies are widely shared. Market forces alone won’t do the job. Smart machines may raise productivity and output on average, but market forces will tend to concentrate the gains among a fraction of the population—those with high skills and wealth—and leave behind the rest, notably the young, the poor, and the workers displaced by the machines. Government policies are needed to ensure...

The IMF and The Asian Flu

The International Monetary Fund casts itself as valiant superhero, swooping in to rescue troubled countries from self-inflicted financial disaster. In fact, the demands for austerity it has recently imposed on fundamentally sound economies in Asia and elsewhere have made their problems much worse.

T he International Monetary Fund has displayed its awesome power in recent months in assuming the central role in the unfolding Asian financial crisis. Since July, the IMF has organized financial bailouts totaling more than $100 billion of public funds in Indonesia, South Korea, and Thailand. Yet the IMF is almost unknown to the American people. Its vague public image—carefully tended by the institution itself—is something like the cartoon in a recent Time magazine profile: The IMF, garbed as Superman, sweeps low over the earth, extinguishing financial blazes. But a careful examination of the actual record shows that the IMF, loyal to financial orthodoxy and mindful of creditors to the neglect of debtor countries, often pours oil on the flames. Consider the IMF's recent actions in Asia. Asia's current crisis has all the ingredients of a financial panic made in the private sector. Asian banks are large debtors to foreign banks, and a large part of the debt is very short-...