biggest bang

biggest bang - July 28, 2008 OPINION How to Get the Biggest...

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July 28, 2008 OPINION How to Get the Biggest Bang for 10 Billion Bucks By BJORN LOMBORG July 28, 2008; Page A15 If you had a spare $10 billion over the next four years, how would you spend it to achieve the most for humanity? This is a small amount compared to rich-government budgets. But if we could set aside an extra $10 billion, we could achieve an awful lot. Would you spend your money tackling diseases like malaria, HIV and tuberculosis, which claim millions of lives each year? Would you battle hunger and malnutrition? What about climate change, which many believe is the biggest challenge facing the planet? To get the most bang for your buck -- and ensure that your generosity does the greatest good for the largest number of people -- you will need to prioritize, weighing up the costs and benefits of different options. Unfortunately, we too often focus on the most fashionable spending options, rather than the most rational. Spending an extra dollar cutting C02 to combat climate change generates less than one dollar of good, even when we add up all the economic and environmental benefits. In contrast, a dollar spent on research and development into cleaner energy technology generates $11 of economic good. If that dollar was spent combating heart disease in the third world, it would achieve more than twice that again. Copenhagen Consensus commissioned eight of the world's top economists to identify the global challenges that can be solved most cost-effectively. Over the coming weeks, we will be challenging decision makers and opinion leaders to weigh in on this debate. We also encourage you to go to and respond to this article with your own priorities. But first, our economists describe how much your extra dollar can achieve in a few areas: TRANSNATIONAL TERRORISM Terrorism has become one of the biggest fears. Yet transnational terrorists take, on average, 420 lives each year and cause relatively little economic damage. An extra $70 billion world-wide has been spent annually on homeland security since 2001. Although there has been a 34% drop in transnational terrorist attacks, there have been 67 more deaths, on average, each year. This hike in the death toll is entirely predictable. Terrorists have responded rationally to the higher risks imposed by tougher security measures and shifted to fewer attacks that create more carnage. Increased counterterrorism measures often simply transfer terrorists' attention elsewhere. Installing metal detectors in airports in 1973 decreased skyjackings but increased kidnappings. Fortifying American embassies reduced the number of embassy attacks, but increased the number of assassinations of diplomatic officials. Since counterterrorism David Klein COPENHAGEN CONSENSUS For full coverage, visit our Copenhagen Consensus page .
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measures were increased in Europe, the U.S. and Canada, there has been a clear shift in attacks against U.S. interests to the Middle East and Asia. Politicians who choose to make counterterrorism a priority have stark options. Spending ever more money making
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This note was uploaded on 02/19/2011 for the course AGEC 217 taught by Professor Deboer during the Fall '08 term at Purdue.

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biggest bang - July 28, 2008 OPINION How to Get the Biggest...

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