“Jeff Sachs is like the March Hare in Alice in Wonderland, moving from cup to cup. He can never return to any country that headvised, since they all hate him.
It happened in Latin America, in Slovenia, in Poland, a few of the Baltic States, and it was the same in Russia. They maintain that he was of no help and that his advice was wrong. He is a bright and brilliant man and I like him very much, but his public campaign has nothing to do with what he was actually doing. Just nothing.”
Jeffrey D. Sachs, the peripatetic “world-renowned economist” who, for over three decades, has been called upon by leftist billionaires, governments, and international organizations to reshape the economies of entire countries and regions, is both the luckiest and the unluckiest of men.
In his own estimation, the unintended consequences that have dogged his long career of advising distressed areas—from Bolivia to Eastern Europe to Russia to Africa—can be laid at the feet of his critics and faint-hearted foreign collaborators along with a shortsighted American foreign-policy community and the institutional failings of a tight-fisted and purblind IMF.
Sachs, a devoted disciple of John Maynard Keynes, got his start as a self-advertised free-market transition specialist when he signed on as an advisor to Bolivia in 1985 (one year after he became a tenured professor of economics at Harvard), and he first gained notoriety with his claim that he “helped Bolivia to negotiate a debt cancellation agreement with its major bank creditors, which became a template for later debt-cancellation operations.”
Though the banks were said to have suffered a smallish haircut (Sachs never did report the actual amount…