New & noteworthy: Copenhagen Consensus

First of all, try as it may, the sun didn't manage to burn me today, thanks to this excellent stuff! If you still haven't found the sun cream of choice, here it is.

But far more importantly, you may have heard that a group of economists, some of them Nobel laureates, have come to a consensus in Copenhagen about how to set priorities with solving the world's problems, given that resources are limited. I think this is a highly commendable effort which politicians world wide ought to take note of, but won't in all likelyhood. The group, led by the highly controversial sceptical environmentalist Bjoern Lomborg evaluated a slew of projects with the objective of maximising global welfare with additional resources limited to USD 50 Bio, and they came up with the following top priorities:

1. Diseases: Control of HIV / AIDS
2. Malnutrition: Providing micro nutrients
3. Subsidies & trade: trade liberalisation
4. Diseases: Control of malaria

Interestingly, the relatively worst payoff in terms of global welfare was to be achieved with projects covering:
14. Migration: Guest worker programmes for the unskilled
15. Climate: Optimal Carbon tax
16. Climate: The Kyoto Protocol
17. Climate: Value-at-risk carbon tax

Personally, I have been a very convinced supporter of all liberal measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, until I've read Lomborg's book. His economic and risk management based evaluation of the issue has hit home straight away, and I am not so sure any more at all. The fact that this kind of evaluation is not happening on an operational level, i.e. by institutions and/or people who have the power to implement things, is a confirmation for me that politics is not about solving issues, but first and foremost (and even not illegitimately!) about the promotion of client interests. Every other assumption is naïve I am afraid.

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