Friday, September 09, 2005

So you'd like to save the world?

Yesterday I listened to a very interesting lecture with the famous debater Bjorn Lomborg, one of the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time Magazine. You can read more about his Copenhagen Consensus initiative here, but his basic idea is that if we really want to save the world, we need to prioritize the actions that will give the most effect given the money spent. He has received a lot of criticism along the lines of "we need to both and everything" and "it is not ethical to prioritize like that". I still think Lomborg has a point; it is not bad if the infamous world community would decide what to do, and then really do it. But still I disagree with him on some points. You can read the list of priority that the Copenhagen Consensus came up with to the left on the website, and my questions would be:
1. Why is free trade on the list, to "fix it" has no real costs, and if you want to include it on the list, shouldn't it be at least on 2nd place?
2. Why isn't war/conflict prevention on the list?
3. What about education and the empowerment of women, that must be very important as well!?
Some aspects of these questions were discussed during the lecture, and afterwards I asked Bjorn Lomborg about war/conflict prevention. He said that they had an expert on that when they did the Copenhagen Consensus in Denmark, but that he had an early flight so he was not present when the final list was decided. Still, Lomborg said that according to the expert, it could be wise to spend money on conflict prevention if you have had a civil war in a country and then end up with a peace agreement. History has shown that those peace agreements are easily broken, so to enforce them could be money wisely spent. As I said, some aspects of Lomborg's work are highly controversial, but the discussions that follow are always interesting.

PS Someone should be able to trace down why this post is called "So you'd like to save the world"?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Henrik Gustafsson said...

Of course, a Lloyd Cole track from the early 90´s. I enjoy listening to him. Cole reminds me of so much...

The theme of the ozonelayer is also used by Morrissey in "The Lazy Sunbathers" from "Vauxhall and I". Another beautful song from one of my favourite albums.

More intersting wiews of what is needed on the global level to reduce powerty can be found in a lot of work from the Swedish parliamentary committee GLOBKOM. They published a lot of intersting seminars and publications. In their last publication ( SOU 2001:96 - En ny svensk politik för global utveckling ) you will find a CD with a lot of interesting academic papers-many of them in english.

I don´t know if Lomborg have any discussion about "global public goods" ( favourite topic for me and Martin Gemzell )On the Globkom CD you will find paper on this written by Erik Eldhagen from Stockholm School Economics-very basic - but worth to read. You will also find work by Douglass North and many more.

Lomborg raises the qustion of corruption. In my opionion - we need to fight against corruption if we want to fight agaianst powerty. Some intersting wiews of the role of corruption of powerty is written by Jeff Sachs. He has another picture than a lot of others here. You can find some countries with good economic development - but they also have a high corruption means Sachs. Maybe he´s right but I still believe that the fight against corruption must go further. Try to visit this interesting website for more on corruption and development : www.transparency.org

Friday night at work. Time to gome home. Someday I might write something about Lomborg and climate change....

9/9/05 19:54  
Anonymous Henrik Gustafsson said...

Of course, a Lloyd Cole track from the early 90´s. I enjoy listening to him. Cole reminds me of so much...

The theme of the ozonelayer is also used by Morrissey in "The Lazy Sunbathers" from "Vauxhall and I". Another beautful song from one of my favourite albums.

More intersting wiews of what is needed on the global level to reduce powerty can be found in a lot of work from the Swedish parliamentary committee GLOBKOM. They published a lot of intersting seminars and publications. In their last publication ( SOU 2001:96 - En ny svensk politik för global utveckling ) you will find a CD with a lot of interesting academic papers-many of them in english.

I don´t know if Lomborg have any discussion about "global public goods" ( favourite topic for me and Martin Gemzell )On the Globkom CD you will find paper on this written by Erik Eldhagen from Stockholm School Economics-very basic - but worth to read. You will also find work by Douglass North and many more.

Lomborg raises the qustion of corruption. In my opionion - we need to fight against corruption if we want to fight agaianst powerty. Some intersting wiews of the role of corruption of powerty is written by Jeff Sachs. He has another picture than a lot of others here. You can find some countries with good economic development - but they also have a high corruption means Sachs. Maybe he´s right but I still believe that the fight against corruption must go further. Try to visit this interesting website for more on corruption and development : www.transparency.org

Friday night at work. Time to gome home. Someday I might write something about Lomborg and climate change....

9/9/05 19:54  
Anonymous Anna S said...

"Are you ready to be Heartbroken" is another good tune (from Rattlesnake though).

Another controversial aspect is the fact that international aid often prolonges armed conflicts...

9/9/05 20:32  
Blogger Eric Sundström said...

...and my favourite song is "Undressed". Thanks for interesting comments, just to mention yet another important aspect of develoment: property rights, as Hernando de Soto has argued.

12/9/05 09:54  

Post a Comment

<< Home