Home > Uncategorized > Jeffrey Sachs’ (2021) speech at the UN

Jeffrey Sachs’ (2021) speech at the UN

  1. Craig
    September 9, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    The outrage is spot on of course, but how many outraged speeches does it take to change things? The answer: A zillion with palliative reforms, or one more with the correct set of policy solutions to the most underlying problem because they align with the new paradigm concept that changes the operant conditions of the entire pattern under investigation.

    The keys to paradigm perception are an integration of depth of knowledge, discernment of primacy of problems and willingness to embrace conceptual simplicity…because paradigms are single and singularly efficacious ideas which paired with aligned policies…change everything.

    Let us perceive and act. The Martians are laughing and the earth and its inhabitants are moaning.

    • September 9, 2021 at 8:20 pm

      If that was the difference between Biden and Trump being in power, it sounds more hopeful than Craig is allowing. What I heard was much like Northern Ireland needing solve its problems by becoming part of Eire (meaning Peace): the US needing to become a part of rather than a competitor with the United Nations, and likewise the need for the private corporations now running the world’s food and medication systems to act like citizens of the world rather than rivals to even their own legal government. It is indeed about time we realised Craig’s “conceptual simplicity” by accepting interest-free universal credit from the UN in lieu of fictitious Ponzi bank money, with all its complications of money paybacks, taxation, private rent-seeking and more or less necessary crime. We need the credit to finance our work, but the payback is simply our doing it.

  2. Professor G M Kallas
    September 9, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    I definitely agree with Sach’s presentation, better late than never; why didn’t he come out and say this when he did a neoliberal shock therapy on Russia back in the 90s. He was one of the ‘Harvard Boys.’

    Nevertheless, yes, Sach is correct but also you fails to call out what what that ‘system’ is called:

    It’s called US cold war imperialism:

    Intervention and Exploitation: US and UK Government International Actions Since 1945


    Another major secret strategic plan was Policy Planning Study 23, PPS 23 by the head of the 1948 State Department’s planning staff, George Kennan wherein he wrote:

    [W]e have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population….In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity….To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives.We should cease to talk about vague andunreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are than hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

    Kennan’s strategic vision was meant to provide a rationale for aggressively expanding U.S. empire into the Global South. His planning document was kept secret from the American public because if disclosed would have revealed the true nature of presidential policies: the use of U.S. military power to support multinational corporate expansion into foreign markets. Instead, U.S. Presidents touted ‘democratization’ as mere sloganeering in their cold war propaganda statements in order to manipulate American public opinion and garner public support for dramatically increasing defense spending and expanding the new evolving national security state. [See herein related reports John Stockwell on CIA Secret Wars in the Global South

    and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

    According to Petras, Globalization Unmasked, chapter 4:

    From the 1930s to the mid-1970s, U.S. imperialism in Latin America was constantly challenged by nationalist, populist and democratic socialist regimes and movements. Generally these challenges were reformist rather than revolutionary, in that they called into question elements of the imperialist project but no the whole system.

    In the 1930s and 1940s, President Cardenas of Mexico nationalized U.S. petroleum interests, while Vargas in Brazil, Person in Argentina and the Popular Front in Chile Promoted national industry under protective trade barriers, initiating a widespread movement towards the nationalization of strategic industries in the region. In the 1950s, Guatemalas president Arbenz expropriated United Fruit land and redistribute it among the peasants, provoking a CIA-led coup against his administration a radical-nationalist revolution in Cuba that challenged imperial hegemony in the region. The 1960s and early 1970s saw the emergence of populist, nationalist and democratic regimes and movements through the continent. This long half century of social and political advance led to significant social and economic legislation that legalized trade unions, provided basic social benefits and extended public education and health are to substantial sectors of the industrial working class, public employees, and a in a few cases (Chile, 1970-73) the peasantry.

    As community college political economics and history professor for the past 25 years, I, too, have been arguing for the solution force the end of the US-led controlled G7, IMF, World Bank.

    Yes, Sachs, nice to know that you’ve finally caught with history.

    • Professor G M Kallas
      September 14, 2021 at 7:55 am

      More on Sach’s ‘Historical Political Economic Education…’ The stripes keep changing… why ‘economists’ need more history lessons….

      Jeff Sachs: The US Should Pursue Cooperation with Ch

      COOPERATION…what ‘a concept…’! From neoliberal economics ideologist to … what?

  3. Edmond V.O. Katusz
    September 9, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    My wife lived through the nineties in Russia. She remebers it well, very well, too well. Again the Russian people wether Soviet the or Russian now. WWII left this country in nation-wide PTSS as it were.

    Nine million “boots-on-theground’, no “boots”, forget that dirty terminology. Real live men and women, died as soldiers, died to kick the NAZI out of their motherland. Fathers without sons, mothers without doughters little brothers asking where is my big strong brother?
    О, где мой большой сильный брат?

    For ever gone, those 23-27 million lives and loves

    My father-in-law volunteered at 17 lying about his age. He was one of the lucky ones, to tell the story, but he was mostly silent about it, having been “eingekesselt” by the Germans in Stalingrad, with some comrades; only their piss to drink.

    I know much more gruesome stories, from my Dutch, Ukranian and Russian familyt, too much firsthand.

    The nineties, again Russian people dying in droves because of the godawful lust for power by the people we have “choosen”. Wwho enlist people like Mr. Sachs, who together with Anders Aslund, Chubais, the rest of the nomenklatura pretending to understand how you force people into capitalism, thinking that studying this vile ideology is the same as being able to design it.
    The hubris, the hubris!

    Sachs all the other cronies should brought before a tribunal.
    Sentenced the way Ceaușescu was sentenced.

    “Black shapes crouched, lay, sat between the trees leaning against the trunks, clinging to the earth, half coming out, half effaced within the dim light, in all the attitudes of pain, abandonment, and despair. Another mine on the cliff went off, followed by a slight shudder of the soil under my feet. The work was going on. The work! And this was the place where some of the helpers had withdrawn to die.”

    “They were dying slowly—it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now—nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom.” (Conrad)

    “So it goes.” (Vonnegut)

    • Professor G M Kallas
      September 11, 2021 at 1:07 am

      Yes, agree with your reply.

      To add to Vonnegut… “and the beat goes on…” unfortunately… time to end the US Empire…and get out of multi-trillions wasted… America needs to a major political economic “RESET” and get out of ‘the US Empire business…’

  4. Ikonoclast
    September 10, 2021 at 12:02 am

    Arguing does nothing. It takes a revolution. I know as little about starting a revolution as the next man or woman. I know less about starting a revolution that works rather than going off the rails and making things worse.

    I can only talk in broad principles. In Lars Sylls last post I wrote “We would be much better off searching for and looking at the natural laws (fundamental laws of nature) and moral laws (of consequentialist type I would argue) as the guides to our economic prescriptions rather than looking for “laws” inside our own economic rule sets.” This might be true but how do we push a new set of prescriptions through against entrenched power? Bichler and Nitzan are right, as are others who have said the same thing. It’s all about power, not economics.

    Only a tectonic shift in political economy power and/or geostrategic power will shift matters. This tectonic shift is coming. It’s hard to predict where it will lead. The tectonic shift is the collapse of the West from neoliberalism and the rise of China from authoritarian socialism. Short message, socialism works, statism works and unregulated capitalism fails. However, there are caveats on that too. Nothing is absolutely certain.

    Is the West collapsing? It certainly is. It is collapsing from a high base so the collapse could be quite protracted but there are events which would rapidly accelerate it. The election of Donald Trump for a second term from 2024 would rapidly accelerate the collapse of the USA economy and nation state. Can the West be saved from collapse? Yes, it still could be saved at this stage by a rapid turn to democratic statism or democratic socialism. I would hope that it would be democratic. I do not want authoritarianism to rule the world. It already rules more than 50% of the world, in various forms, even on a lenient interpretation of the term “democratic”. For example, calling the USA democratic really stretches the term. The USA is not really democratic at all. It’s more an elective plutocracy or elective oligarchy. Representatives from two parties are elected to represent the two wings of traditional and entrenched oligarchic power in the USA, liberal money and conservative money. In the old parlance, this means Whigs and Tories. The interests of workers, the poor and the oppressed are nowhere to be seen.

    The competition with China, Russia and their satellites will enforce a move to statism in the West if the West still knows enough to survive. There is no other way. Semi-anarchic, unregulated capitalism cannot coordinate itself adequately to compete with organized socialism, or rather organized state capitalism with some socialist characteristics which is the system of China. The responses to the COVID-19 pandemic illustrate this. Authoritarian socialist China has been enormously successful in combating COVID-19 and almost completely suppressing it. The West has failed atrociously, although the West’s vaccines have thus far been better than China’s and Russia’s. It appears vaccine technology is an area where the West retained a lead. But China’s technological development is so rapid now, they will catch up on that score by 2025, I estimate.

    The West has to stop fooling itself. China has taken a massive economic lead and is extending it month by month. The West is falling behind at a great rate of knots. If it had been a sailing race, the East had already overtaken the West but the race was still relatively close. Or was that the deceptive foreshortening effect of the ideological Fox Network cameras? The contestants were on a broad reach on the second last leg of the race. Then the radical, lightweight spinnaker made of the new, touted, super-diaphanous synthetic minarchist fibre, “neoliberalism”, blew out in a single squall of the COVID-ANA wind. The vessel of the West, called the “Self Deception”, broached and wallowed. The “Rising East” shot ahead in a spectacular cloud of spray and disappeared out of sight. Most of the West, elites and masses, have no idea what has just happened. They all live in false consciousness. The sea-salt rime of ideological blindness and self-delusion clouds their optics and their moral compass is no use as it has been spinning for the whole race. They don’t even know where the next sailing mark is.

    Now, there are caveats on this and the West may not be totally lost. It may be able to reinvent itself. However, the signs to date are not good. In fact, they are terrible. The West appears to be doubling down on neoliberalism and oligarchic capitalism. As I said, without a mass revolution to overthrow the fatal nonsense of neoliberalism, the West is lost. There are a few ways this could go. That would require another post to explicate.

    • Craig
      September 10, 2021 at 4:37 am

      The best way for us to regain economic leadership would be to adopt the policies I have suggested here for so long. Those would (empirically) reduce the private debt to GDP ratio by a huge percentage, double the purchasing power of everyone’s earned income, double the available money for virtually every enterprise’s goods and services, free students from the debt burdens they now idiotically are strapped with, enable us to eliminate most if not all payroll taxes, cut personal and corporate income taxes at least in half, end inflation forever by (miraculously so far as every current economic orthodoxy is concerned) integrating beneficial price deflation into profit making economic systems, re-industrialize the west in the most technologically efficient and ecologically sane way possible, free the government from any fears of inflation and so enable the kind of fiscal spending necessary to survive climate change and last but not least begin a bottom up surge in green energy, transportation and housing consumer products that is 50 years over due. What’s not to like about it?

      In short order with a 50% reduction in price on every product we could re-industrialize and hence the Chinese would be forced to find another huge market to replace ours…obviously like their own for instance. Ah, the end of the vice of export platforms, but paradigm changes being universally beneficial, everyone adapts to paradigm changes…not the other way around.

      We don’t need an economic revolution, all revolutions are betrayed. We need the evolutionary phenomenon AKA a paradigm change specifically in the monetary and financial systems.

  5. deshoebox
    September 10, 2021 at 3:22 am

    Well said, Ikon! I particularly like the sailing imagery, with the potentially powerful but highly vulnerable spinnaker, woven from the finest fibers of a compound known as “Obsolete Belief Systems” blowing out on the first downwind leg. We’re lucky it didn’t take the mast with it. But just to comment on your ‘the West may not be totally lost….’, yes, it is. It really is. Speaking as a typical American, I’m here to tell you that you can’t change my mind about anything. Not a damn thing.

    • Ikonoclast
      September 10, 2021 at 5:13 am

      In Australia, we have a wonderful show called “Planet America”. The title alone sums up how a lot, but not all, Australians feel about Americans (denizens of the USA). We feel that you live on another planet. Many of your base assumptions just seem “off the planet” to us. Of course, we Antipodeans do feel a little bit like that about all foreign countries, even though most of us are, or have been, great travelers. The traveling bit is over I believe due to COVID-19.

      “Planet America” profiles and explains America much better than most American media, IMHO. That wouldn’t be hard when most American media is Fox (A Trumpian mouthpiece not even a Repub mouthpiece anymore) and whatever is the Democrat mouthpiece (NBC or CBS?). “Planet America” is a bit like a PBS show but with humor. Can anyone watch PBS news and current affairs without falling asleep? The “Planet America” hosts make fun of aspects of America but still take it seriously overall (as one has to for any powerful nation). They clearly want to understand it and explain it.

      You may be able to watch Planet America here depending on country ID access issues.


      • Professor G M Kallas
        September 11, 2021 at 12:55 am

        Thank you very much for ‘Planet America’… the ‘anti-history zone’ of the world… that’s why we have surrealist ‘reality TV.’

      • Professor G M Kallas
        September 11, 2021 at 1:02 am

        Gore Vidal would definitely agree with you:

        Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia


  6. Professor G M Kallas
    September 11, 2021 at 1:21 am

    US capitalism is crashing in slow motion: “and the beat goes on…” unfortunately… for the American working class; it’s time to end the US Empire…and get out of multi-trillions wasted on ‘nation-building/destroying business’…… America needs to get a major political economic & historical “RESET” and get out of ‘the US Empire business…’ and take care of its own infrastructure, health, education and social institutions: America’s ‘national security state institutions’ ARE a ‘threat to America’s social security…’ Real Political Economic Democracy is the solution… and the beat goes on…

    • Professor G M Kallas
      September 14, 2021 at 8:29 am

      Some possible solutions: ‘Get out of the US National Security Business….”


    • Professor G M Kallas
      September 14, 2021 at 8:39 am

      Sergeant Hollis’ War: “What’s Democracy Got to Do with It?”
      It wasn’t until our next to last night in Iraq that we’d find someone who could truly understand just how little America’s objectives had changed since Kennan’s time. *

      After three intense days embedded with the U.S. Army in an area north of Baghdad, we are placed on a dangerous “presence patrol” that takes us into Samarra, a hotbed of anti-American violence. That night, after surviving the exercise without incident, we start talking to Sergeant Robert Hollis, a thirty-five-year-old tank commander. Standing in front of a poster of Britney Spears posing with NFL football players, he begins deconstructing the historical parallels between the Second Punic War and the battle he’s been fighting.

      “The Romans took the fight to them,” he explains. “That’s what we’re doing here. They wouldn’t field a credible army on the field of battle, so we came into their homeland.”

      Sgt. Hollis is something of legend in his division, as a fast-talking, hip-hop autodidact from Alabama who spouts off about the Romans any chance he can get. The other guys don’t seem to know whether what he’s talking about is pure bull, or pure genius. Either way, he cracks them up. Tonight, he’s getting serious, and some start listening in.

      “The reality is even the Roman Empire had to fight to secure its way of life,” he says. “When America says liberation, we mean capitalism. It’s about globalization. It’s about expansion of markets. We have to stabilize new and emerging markets in order to secure resources.”

      As he talks, a group of plainclothes Special Forces operatives lock and load their weapons and check their radio headsets.

      He continues, “Can you tell mothers and brothers and sisters that your sons and daughters are dying for capital goods? No, you cannot. You have to make sure you tell them you are fighting for moral, ethical reasons.”

      Then Sgt. Hollis offers a final bleak yet depressingly accurate assessment of the operation’s prospect for success.

      “Will we win the hearts and minds of people? Maybe not in this generation. But you have to think in the long term. Maybe not in fifty years, maybe not in one hundred years. There’s no hate. The problem is one side must win; one side must lose. The war must be won in Afghanistan, and it must be won here to improve our way of life.”

      The problem is not will we win, but what we will have become when we do.
      Anthony Lappe, Stephen Marshal, “Sergeant Hollis’ War,” in True Lies, Guerrilla News Network pp.141-142, 2004

  7. Ken Zimmerman
    September 11, 2021 at 9:49 am

    Perhaps Sachs has changed his spots. But I don’t believe so. In his talk he points out several times that the greater power to borrow at low or zero rate for the world’s ‘poor’ nations is necessary so these countries can PURCHASE technology (electric, water, etc.). And from whom will these purchases be made? The same multinational corporations that have done all the nasty things laid out by Sachs and the panel for nearly 200 years. And, of course borrowing, even at a rate of zero still adds to the debt these nations cannot pay back today. Keeps the international banks in control of their development.

    Sachs and the UN lay out and have laid out in the past the actions the multinationals have taken in the past and seem quite willing to continue to take around the world, particularly in the global south to increase and protect their profits.  From murder, sabotage of governments and economies, invasion, fomenting civil wars, etc. Often with the assistance of the US military, State Department, CIA, and Treasury Department. It seems there are few limits to the actions the US will take to assist the multinationals in controlling and punishing nations that threaten their profits. Other developed nations have acted in similar ways. Some even more extreme (e.g., UK). No lecture from the UN or American progressives is likely to change this situation. But taxing away the money multinationals use to fund these actions, prosecuting and imprisoning corporate executives who greenlight the actions, and prosecuting politicians who accept bribes to pass legislation to protect these actions is a good first step.

    • September 11, 2021 at 11:34 am

      ” the greater power to borrow at low or zero rate for the world’s ‘poor’ nations is necessary so these countries can PURCHASE technology (electric, water, etc.)”.

      You are probably right, Ken, which is why I keep saying (and said above) we need to give them credit [and technical education] instead of loans. A loan of no thing (a fiction) is nothing but a scam anyway.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        September 13, 2021 at 9:35 am

        Dave, since over the last three centuries the developed countries have robbed the ‘developing’ countries of physical resources, political independence, and economic security, it seems only fair, just, and reasonable that the developed countries provide them with whatever they need now to escape these burdens for as long they need the help. No purchase necessary.

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