The Price of the Current Civilisation
This paper is an extract from the public lecture delivered by
Professor Dr. Jeffrey D. Sachs, at the invitation of Genting Berhad,
in the Lim Goh Tong Lecture Hall of the Faculty of Business and
Accountancy, University of Malaya. The lecture was the second in
its series delivered on 23 October 2012.
The talk was a detailed examination of current problems in the world
economy and provides pointers to sustainable development for the
future. It begins with explaining four fundamental drivers to global
change: ‘economic convergence’, ‘rapid technological transformation’,
‘inequality’, and ‘environmental crises’. The fact that the US
Government is under the influence of powerful private business
interests, makes it unable to address the stated drivers to the global
change required. Europe also faces similar issues with the added
weakness of adopting a single currency without institutional support.
All the four fundamental drivers to global change constitute issues
for every part of the world, including Asia which is at the moment
experiencing rapid growth in economic development, at the expense
of social and environmental needs. There is a need for high taxes, a
comprehensive social welfare system, public funded healthcare and
investment for the young. Governments should have a long term
economic plan that focuses on achieving the right balance of economic
prosperity, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability.
Keywords: Civilisation, globalisation, sustainability