- [Full Video] GEEF 2018 Speech by Jeffrey Sachs
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Jeffrey Sachs, a world-renowned economist and senior UN advisor, delivered an urgent message: It’s not too late to save the planet and humankind but time is running out. Sachs explained why the current market system and politics pose a major hurdle to our very own survival and how we must act now to overcome the challenges.
Global Market Economy & Its Challenges
The world market has achieved an economic triumph in the past 75 years. According to the IMF, the world is expected to produce about $13 trillion in 2018, which is an average of $18,000 per person on the planet.
However, our market system does not work fairly. Income inequality is rising in most major economies in the world and gaps between the rich and the poor is the widest in history. The market does not operate to protect the environment. Our heavy use of fossil fuel is driving climate change. We intensively use our land, creating what scientists call one of the greatest extinction processes in the history of earth.
Accomplishing Sustainable Development Goals
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a way for us to set an alternative course to correct this system. To accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals we need governments that are effective in regulating the economy in ways that are fairer, and more environmentally sustainable.
We need to make conscious choices when it comes to picking which technology to use. For example, we need to put a stop to using coal-fired power plants, actively take up electric cars and halt the production of vehicles with the internal combustion engine.
The financial system has to change. Most of sustainable development financing is too complicated for financial institutions to do it alone. We need a long-term financing, supported by government action and private finance. Development finance involves designing complex projects that encompass land use, regulation and choice of technology, while tapping into pension funds, insurance funds and other long-term pools of financing.
Development financing is more complicated than we’re used to because the problems are more complicated than simply making money. Other challenges to achieving the SDGs include vested interests, corporate lobbying, corrupt government and politicians more interested in wars than sustainable development.
Role of Universities
At this time of turmoil, we need a cooperative approach because we are all stuck in this together and the role of universities is crucial. Universities are the institutions that can look ahead and mobilize knowledge. Universities do not have vested interests, and are not out for a profit. It is the institutions looking for truth, and most importantly with young people. Young people should take this challenge and together we should fix the world.
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