Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity” as Want to Read:
The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,574 Ratings  ·  221 Reviews
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE GUARDIAN AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
 
“Succinct, humane, and politically astute . . . Sachs lays out a detailed path to reform, regulation, and recovery.”—The American Prospect
 
In this forceful and impassioned book, Jeffrey D. Sachs offers a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country’s economic ills,
...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Random House (first published October 1st 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Price of Civilization, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Price of Civilization

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Harold
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is by far the best book on current US economics and political theory that I have read. Detailed, clear and persuasive. Starts with an economic history of the past 50 years to show how we have gotten here, and then details why the current political process and economic policy are wrong-headed and destined (if we don't change them) to lead to a serious decline in America's leadership role in the world, and its standard of living. Every member of Occupy Wall Street should read it so they know ...more
David
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first half of this book is scary. Jeffrey Sachs seems to list all of the ills of our civilization. The state of politics, our economy, national values and consumer trends are falling into a deep dive. This book puts all these trends together, and it is very depressing.

Much of this book is about the shared social responsibility of the wealthy, and of corporations. Sachs is strongly against the huge political influence of large corporations. He is definitely a liberal--but that does not mean h
...more
Matt
May 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sachs acts as if he is exposing problems for the first time, but actually, he's ended up preaching to the crowd. Not really sure who'll read this and find out new things about problems in America, although he is a master of using graphs to try to prove his arguments.

The biggest problem here is the disconnect between parts I and II. Part I is spent explaining why and how the system (systems?) is broken, and part II is Sachs's advice on fixing it. But the solutions often seem to gloss over politic
...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
Despite the fact that I completely disagreed with his "painting" regarding the outcome of some of these scenarios I do think the delivery was sharp and to the point. I loved the way he presented the data and tried to engage the reading audience with a myrid of examples and different topics and how they fit in to the current picture of Americas economy and policy. I am not sure if I agree with all of his views, but many of them need to be brought up. I though his information on the collective lac ...more
Andrea
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now I understand what a political economist is. Jeffrey Sachs is an outstanding example of one. This is a superb analysis of the current state of the US economy with an impressive list of suggestions on how to fix it. Prof. Sachs pulls no punches in his critique of both ends of the political spectrum and the damage that they have done to the American political system. He likewise indicts the media and the American people for their short attention span and their dangerous habit of kicking the sig ...more
Doug
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, nonfiction
I've been reading enough of these books that the problem is going to be come combination of:

Inequality
Special interests
Climate change
Entitlements
Debt

At the end of the day, it all boils down to greed and doing things today without any thought as to the consequences tomorrow. I am really wary of anyone who relies on some cultural awakening by young people to right the ship, didn't we go through this with the Baby Boomers and aren't they the ones causing a lot of the mess? The thing is, the author
...more
Bruce
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this incisive and prescient presentation, Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University and an renowned and highly respected international economist, presents his analysis of the economic and cultural challenges that the US is currently facing, and he courageously and convincingly provides recommendations for addressing those concerns.

In Part I, he diagnoses America’s current economic crisis, detailing how prosperity has been lost, the free-market fallacy, and Washington’s retreat from a sense of publ
...more
Danna
Oct 14, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The author explains to Tavis Smiley (PBS) that 99% of us need to wake up and realize our power (like some of us are beginning to do), and that both Democrats and Republicans are simply catering to the rich, for campaign contributions to get re-elected. We need publicly funded elections and accountability, with elected officials who work for the people, not the wealthiest Wall Street investors and brokers. When opposition politicians accuse Obama of class warfare and bailout Wall Street with litt ...more
Toni
Oct 06, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
(Opening paragraph) "At the root of America's economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America's political and economic elite. A society of markets, laws, and elections is not enough if the rich and powerful fail to behave with respect, honesty, and compassion toward the rest of society and toward the world... Without restoring an ethos of social responsibility, there can be no meaningful and sustained economic recovery."

(http://www.randomhouse.com/book/15957...)
Emily
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
(This was the first book I read entirely on an e-reader and I'm surprised how different that was for me than reading a "real" book. I don't think I retained as much about the book as I usually do, but I really liked using the highlight and bookmark features, which made it easy for me to find certain quotes again.)

Mr. Sachs writes passionately and persuasively. "A society of markets, laws, and elections is not enough if the rich and powerful fail to behave with respect, honesty, and compassion to
...more
Graham Mulligan
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Price of Civilization – Economics and Ethics After the Fall
Jeffrey Sachs, Random House, 2011

Sachs says, “Much of this book is about the social responsibility of the rich” and about society’s shared values and the need to plan ahead to achieve common goals. The book is also a diagnosis of the failure of the American economy to achieve society’s common goals since the 1970’s and makes recommendations for future economic reforms. Sachs argues that there is a consensus on some key beliefs about
...more
Jud Barry
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I like to pay taxes," said Oliver Wendell Holmes. "With them I buy civilization." Economist Sachs (Earth Institute, Columbia) says the U.S. badly needs a new governing majority with Holmes's attitude.

At present, however, it appears things are going the other way. Surveying the American civic landscape, Sachs finds the commitment to public values fast eroding, with predictable results: a widening income gap, huge inequities of opportunity, an increasingly divided nation, a "corporatocracy" conce
...more
Mishehu
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Feeling drunk with excess? Need to sober up pronto? A few hours with Jeffrey Sachs should do the trick. What a dismal, depressing state of the union this book presents. In all, though, a completely convincing one. Sachs nails the diagnosis: ours is a failing political economy, spectacularly so on measure after measure. Can we, the masses, be at the mercy of more incompetent leaders or a more venal system of governance? To read this book is to oscillate between righteous anger and despair. But Sa ...more
Brit Cheung
The author prescribed not a few insights in favor of a just social system and a more effective governance. These prescriptions are penetrating and illuminating , but not penetrating enough to pierce a hole to cure all the predicaments us facing. The prescription is good even to the plain eye. The problem is "Will these methods be fully completed by the government"? This plunged me into a strong suspicion.
However, these analysis and prescriptions can provide some food for thought for other gove
...more
H Wesselius
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent analysis of the current economic and political crisis in the United States. Correctly labeling the current American system a corporatocracy, he identifies various lobby groups who have a lock on both parties, leading to a decline of what he calls a civic virtue. In response he cites the need to view gov't as part of the solution and a partner with a market economic system resulting in a mixed economy. Several times he cites the Nordic model as an example for the US to realize that t ...more
Phan
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just a note for my friends who do not frequently use GR: Many well-presented social ills in the first part for US society and politics are transferable to a whole other countries as well (ofcourse to a lesser extent, better examemplary ones also mentioned in the book). This is one of those important book one should read to see "what's wrong with the world" (although the second part left me nothing much to pay high attention to)
Converse

Jeffery Sachs, an economist at Columbia University, is worried about the state of America. He sees a nation in which incomes for many have been stagnant since the 1970s in real (inflation-adjusted) terms, increasing income inequality, a chronic budget deficit and resulting increase in government debt, increased poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and an unwillingness to deal with climate change.


The Price of Civilization is a well documented book with end notes and a list of sources consulted, as

...more
Tanya
I like to read books that challenge my opinions, and The Price of Civilization definitely did that. I felt immediately that I could trust Sach's credentials; he's a clinical macroeconomist who has spent his career advising foreign governments about how to build and improve their economies. He states that in his early years he felt that America was doing well and didn't need his expertise, but our recent financial crises have changed his mind. This book is basically his diagnosis and prescription ...more
Sabrine Faragallah
Fantastic synopsis of the current political and financial state of the US, although the ironic part of Sachs' analysis is that the folks who NEED to read his book before the next election, are still stuck in front of the TV watching distorted media news stations as their primary source of information.

Sach's proposals are too idealistic for practical adoption. The by-gone era's he nostalgically recalls, the New Deal years and the Kennedy years, were the result of a generation devastated by two W
...more
Daniel Taylor
This questions poses an important question - how can American again become a global economic leader? - and it gives clear answers to this question.

The first half of the book diagnoses the causes of America's economic state, chief among them the influence of corporations on government. The second half of the book are proposed solutions, based on goals that can be measured.

What makes this book so appealing is the way Sachs keeps economics connected to the pursuit of happiness. After all, if the ta
...more
Abby
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The kind of unrestrained greed that is now loose in America,” writes economist Jeffrey Sachs, “is leading not to real liberty but to corporate criminality and deceit; not to democracy but to politics dominated by special interests; and not to prosperity but to income stagnation for much of the population and untold riches at the very top.” Sachs explains how we got into this deplorable state and then outlines a plan for getting the country back on track. Diehard righties will not find much to l ...more
David Wink
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, I think Jeffrey Sachs is a brilliant guy, and the message of this book is certainly worth reading. The book's greatest shortfall is that it is a bit simplistic. It even has a paragraph that explains the basic principle of supply and demand. I've read Sachs' other books, and he's always readable, but he's an economist. I go to him because I want data thrown at me. This book is strongest when he is explaining problems with the American economy, and debunking stories told about the econo ...more
Justin
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jeff Sachs is a world-renowned economist who turns his attention to the financial crisis and other issues that the United States faces. He describes the responsibility that every American has to their country and to the rest of the world and how we have recently dropped the ball regarding those responsibilities. All is not lost, though. Sachs goes on to suggest specific actions, both societal and political, that we can pursue to increase the level of fiscal responsibility, standard of living, an ...more
Betsy
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was not quite what I was expecting, but it's an excellent book. I was looking for a book to help me understand economics and the current economic situation of the U.S., and maybe the world. A tall order, but Sachs has a great reputation.

This book does explain how we have gotten where we are economically, but not in a great deal of detail. He also covers political and sociological causes, then goes into solutions. However, his solutions are not very new, and I didn't get a good feeling for
...more
Lynn Johnson
This book made me angry. In a good way. Opened my eyes to the systems in this country that are fueled by greed and injustice. It made me want to do something about it. Sachs shared economic theory in way that was easy for a non-economist to grasp. I appreciated that. I found his solutions to, what I call "a compassion deficit" sound and helpful. However, I also found his solutions somewhat one-sided in that they did not speak for me as an artist. As a woman. It made me understand how important i ...more
Michael Berman
I completely agreed with the author's diagnosis of the US circa 2011 (growing wealth inequality coupled with the wealthy increasingly detaching themselves from any sense of the common good, combined with the pernicious influence of money in politics). The book fell flat, though, in his suggestions for improvement. They were big on the "what" (i.e., "reduce the influence of money in politics") but dramatically lacking in the "how".
Fred Forbes
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since the anti-government, anti-tax movement began 30 +/- years ago, every economic number with the exception of inflation has gotten worse. This book is a great look at what happened, where we are and how to fix it. Since it is written by an economist rather than a politician it is a bit more even handed and less strident than most books of its type. Well done!
Jim
Dec 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book on the US economic turmoil which actually proposes reasonable solutions which are certainly applicable to our Canadian economy as well. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the economy and our future.
Brittany Decker
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely paradigm shifting for me. Can't give it enough stars. Begging my husband to read it so we can talk about it.
Todd
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw Sachs interviewed on the Charlie Rose Show and found his perspective to be very compelling. So I got his book and found his arguments to be very compelling.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream
  • Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future
  • Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget
  • End This Depression Now!
  • Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right
  • The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era
  • Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures and What We Can Do About It
  • Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age
  • Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System
  • That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back
  • The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People Will Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century
  • The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future
  • Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class
  • The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street
  • Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich--and Cheat Everybody Else
  • So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard to End Poverty in America
  • The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better
  • The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as If the Future Matters
6440
Is an American economist and Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. One of the youngest economics professors in the history of Harvard University, Sachs became known for his role as an adviser to Eastern European and developing country governments in the implementation of so-called economic shock therapy during the transition from communism to a market system or during periods of ...more
More about Jeffrey D. Sachs...
“Similarly, though the United States is one of the world’s richest economies by per capita income, it ranks only around seventeenth in reported life satisfaction. It is superseded not only by the likely candidates of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, which all rank above the United States but also by less likely candidates such as Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Indeed, one might surmise that it is health and longevity rather than income that give the biggest boost to reported life satisfaction. Since good health and longevity can be achieved at per capita income levels well below those of the United States, so too can life satisfaction. One marketing expert put it this way, with only slight exaggeration: Basic Survival goods are cheap, whereas narcissistic self-stimulation and social-display products are expensive. Living doesn’t cost much, but showing off does.” 6 likes
“The Millennials, as a result, are less likely to be divided or even torn asunder by the culture wars of the boomer generation. They will live naturally with diversity. They will accept a more activist government. They will be more attuned to environmental needs. All this points in the direction of the mindful economy, if the healing strengths of the Millennial generation’s tolerance and optimism are mobilized for collective political action. What,” 1 likes
More quotes…