Dear Jeff Bezos, what are you going to do with all that money?

Economist Jeffrey Sachs discusses how the megarich can help millions of children by donating 1 percent of their wealth.

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  • In 2006 there were about 700 billionaires with a total net worth of about $3 trillion. Today there are 2,208 billionaires with a total net worth of $9.1 trillion. A tiny fraction of that wealth could keep millions of kids alive and in school.
  • Jeffrey Sachs, who argues that the world economy isn't "exactly fair," proposes the ultra rich give 1 percent of their collective wealth — about $100 billion — to help meet everyone's basic needs. "What I know — as an economist that has worked all over the world, including in the poorest places in the world— [is that] little bits can save lives and make futures for the children of this world..."
  • If plutocrats don't give voluntarily, Sachs recommends putting an SDG levy, a Sustainable Development Goals levy, on 1 percent of their collective wealth. "We're going to get this job done. We're going to get every child healthcare. We're going to get every child into school."

America’s Next Moonshot: Cut Poverty 50% by 2030

In the summer of 1969, America did the extraordinary. Let’s do it again.

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Optimism, as defined by economist Jeffrey Sachs, is more than just a translucent, faraway wish. It means having bold goals and acting on them—even if you have no plan or existing knowledge of how you'll get there. The US was once good at this: In May 1961, President Kennedy stood before Congress and announced that the US would land a man on the moon and bring him back safely before the decade was out. In the summer of 1969, that mission was achieved. If American politicians, scientists, engineers and the public could unite for the space race, then the same is unquestionably possible for the urgent humanistic causes of poverty, inequality, and curbing global warming, which will create millions of climate refugees this century. Optimism doesn't just require vision and determination—it needs a deadline, as JFK showed. By 2030, let's mobilize our optimism to cut poverty in half in America, and make a decisive move to renewable energy.

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A Columbia Professor Grades Trump’s Economic Policy

Jeffrey Sachs, from the Rust Belt himself, shares his thoughts on Trump's economic plans and shares some red flags to watch for as new policy proposals surface.

Politics & Current Affairs

The Rust Belt was promised a lot this election – will those promises, which are now transitioning into policies, be made good? Economist and UN advisor Jeffrey Sachs is a Rust Belt native himself, and believes it’s in the hands of people in that area to take an informed look at the economic proposals of the Trump administration – will these proposals benefit the average person, or is there misdirection and populist scapegoating at play that will only serve to make the rich richer? Sachs provides some red markers to watch for when listening to policy proposals, and offers a question to keep in mind: "Who is going to pay for that tax break?" It may not be the answer the people of the Rust Belt signed up for. Jeffrey Sachs's most recent book is Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, and Sustainable.

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Can Universal Basic Income Fix America’s Inequality?

Can't the U.S. be a little more like Scandinavia in its ethos? Fixing inequality in America will take more than economic reform, it will also need a cultural shift.

Technology & Innovation

From a human rights and decency standard, everybody in a society should be able to meet their basic needs, says economist and Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs – but he questions whether a popular proposal known as Universal Basic Income (UBI) is the way to achieve a better standard of living in the U.S. At its simplest, UBI is an unconditional base salary that is paid to all citizens of a society, no matter their employment status, current wealth, attempts to gain work, and regardless of how they intent to spend it. Sachs sees the value in the idea, but isn’t confident in the proposal’s no-strings-attached nature – will some people coast for free off the hard work of others? A guaranteed basic income experiment known as ‘Mincome’ in Canada in the 1970s showed a just a 9% reduction in working hours among two main groups of citizens: new mothers, using their additional income to extend their maternity leaves and spend more time with their infants, and teenage boys who were using that income to stay in school. A new UBI trial is planned for 2017 in Ontario, and many nations await the results.

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