Ray's Reviews > The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity

The Price of Civilization by Jeffrey D. Sachs
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's review
Dec 27, 2011

really liked it
Read from December 27, 2011 to January 03, 2012

There is no single path to reawakening American prosperity with which all Economists fully agree. Most would agree that there are many, many variables which impact the economy. One approach is to returning to prosperity is described in this book by Jeffrey Sachs. Another approach is described in Arthur Laffer's "Return to Prosperity: How America Can Regain Its Economic Superpower Status" which I just completed. Both are relatively recent, and both discuss the importance of and the impacts of cutting taxes. Both men are recognized in their field, and both have practical experience in advising government officials on economic issues. Laffer, in advising President Reagan, and a proponent of supply side economics, and Sachs, in advising several Latin American countries, as well as leaders in China and India, two rapidly developing economies.

While Sachs book seems to include a few more statistics than the Laffer book, and and preaches a little more on social issues. In addition, one key difference between the two books is that Sachs includes a fairness element to his economic views, and hopes to promotes a policy which leads to a more compassionate society as part of his economic proposals. Accordingly, he discusses the social inequity of some of the pure Libertarian ideas as well as some of the policies of the Tea Party. One point which distinguishes his views from the more conservative Laffer book is that he emphasizes the need for the top 1% of wage earners in the U.S. to step up and pay more in taxes, describing why this is both fair and necessary. The point Sachs makes is that Laffer's supply side economics and tax cuts have been the basic policy since the 1980's, which has resulted in increasing national debt, increasing deficits, increased wealth of the top 1% of wage earners, and stagnation of the middle class. Sachs' point is that these policies haven't proved to be as beneficial as promised, the gloom and doom predictions of minor tax increases have not been borne out in practice, and he urges that the policies he is recommending be adopted.

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