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Rationality Meets Global Concern

A very interesting and thought-provoking interview by Reason magazine with Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish statistician.

The thrust of Lomborg’s contention is that all those who think they are doing the world a favor by pressing so hard for government responses to climate change are misguided. There are many problems in the world: starvation, poor sanitation, communicable disease, violent conflict, poor education, trade barriers keeping up the prices of goods, etc. Among these challenges are opportunities to save many more lives at a much lower cost. Specifically addressing the spread of HIV/ AIDS, increasing micronutrients especially iron, increasing free trade, and providing materials to prevent malaria were found to be the areas with the most efficient cost/ benefit opportunities.

The principle seems obvious: there are limited resources, we can’t do everything at once, focus on the places where you can make the biggest difference. The proposals that accomplish the most may not be ‘sexy,’ Lomborg gives the example of cheap aspirin which is already available in the West, having the ability to save far more lives than the responses we have tried to implement to combat HIV, malaria, and TB combined.

Here is the link again. This really is a must read for persons concerned with effectively responding to the many global needs.

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