Jeffrey Sachs
Jeffrey Sachs

Regional cooperation is important to resolve the crisis the world is going through right now, says development economist Jeffrey Sachs.

He made the remark Thursday evening as the keynote speaker at the international webinar on “The UN in Times of People’s Needs: Rethinking Multilateralism”, organised by North South University’s Center for Peace Studies(CPS) with support from the United Nations office in Bangladesh, to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN, said a press release of CPS on Friday.

“Regional cooperation is extremely important because most of the technologies and most of the challenges that exist are beyond national borders,” said Sachs adding, “Bangladesh shares rivers with India and you need to cooperate together.”

The Director of Centre for Sustainable Development at the Columbia University believed that lack of cooperation in South Asia has dangerous consequences for Bangladesh and other countries in the region.

We cannot suffer another Cold War. There is absolutely no reason in the world to divide the world between China and the United States. It is horrible, stupid, dangerous idea.
Jeffrey Sachs, development economist
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“Within South Asia, we need India and Pakistan not to be militarised to the teeth against each other,” he said adding they should open borders, increase trade and cooperation.

Jeffrey Sachs said, "I know it sounds simple, but God, we need this as a priority because neither country can thrive. And it is dangerous for Bangladesh for obvious reasons, if there isn’t cooperation within South Asia.”

Cold War

He argued that it is a dangerous idea to divide the world between the United States and China.

Jeffrey Sachs, one of the senior advisors of the UN said, "We cannot suffer another Cold War. There is absolutely no reason in the world to divide the world between China and the United States. It is horrible, stupid, dangerous idea. We should be directing our attention to cooperation and the core I would say, is regions need to cooperate with each other.”

He said the world needs to stop the pandemic together through public health and vaccine and second, recovery along the line of sustainable development goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

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UN Reform

UN reform is needed but there is growing resistance and in most of the cases neighbours don’t support adjacent countries, said the economist.

Jeffrey Sachs, said, "I don’t know what Bangladesh’s view is about India to become a permanent member of UNSC, but Pakistan would go completely mad about the idea. The idea of Japan becoming a member is impossible from China’s point of view. So it’s usually the next door neighbor that says no.”

Growing inequality

Four Americans – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk- have accumulated wealth of over 500 billion dollars and it leads to unimaginable wealth at the top, he opined.

The economist is of the view that the world doesn’t need US leadership. “We just need US cooperation.”

Jeffrey Sachs, said, “This is not the way to run a society. This is absolutely inappropriate in a world where we have so much misery and suffering that we don’t have more effective responses.”

The global economic system has failed to provide a framework in which the poor countries can reliably escape from poverty, he said.

Jeffrey Sachs said, "Billions or more people are really stuck and facing great hardship even though the world as a whole is filled with wealth.”

Digital divide

The international system fails to protect environment and countries like Bangladesh are suffering due to this, he said.

Jeffrey Sachs, said, "We have multiple, deep, progressive, rapidly expanding environmental crisis including human induced climate change.”

The world is facing technological transformation, which is disruptive in nature, he said.

It is good to an important extent but very disruptive as it gives rise to cyber warfare, fake news , digital divide and loss of job to automation, he said adding “So we are in a complicated technological transformation.”

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World doesn’t need US leadership

The economist is of the view that the world doesn’t need US leadership. “We just need US cooperation.”

Strongly criticising Trump administration, he said, “75 years after founding of the UN, the United States is no leader of the world economy. I regard the United States as probably the number one Rogue Nation in the world right now.”

The US opposes or fails to join more international agreements than any other country in the whole world right now, he said adding, “Trump, Pompeo and others are extreme right-wing nationalists and extremely dangerous for us as the US citizens, and for the world.”

The United States is trying to create a Cold War with China and tells the countries to pick sides, he said adding “It’s the American mentality, I am sorry to say, it is the context we are dealing with. It’s a mess.”