Out of Control Policy Blog

How would you spend $50B?

Stop thinking about yachts and prime rib binges. What if you had to decide how to spend all that dough to help developing nations?

The Copenhagen Consensus project has posed that question to an expert panel of eight, including three Nobel Prize winners (including PW contributor Vernon Smith, see page 2).

What was at the top of the list? Fighting AIDS in Africa. Fighting global warming was at the bottom. Read the full story here.

This exercise in prioritization doesn't seem to have much shot of being codified into law. Still, it's the kind of practice we would hope politicos at all levels would consider.

For example, it would seem that even conservative law-and-order types would be swayed by the argument that–since we have a finite amount of cops, prison cells, etc–let's catch all the murders and rapists before we waste time with drug users.

And there's certainly room for improvement. The FBI reports that in about 53 percent of violent crimes, no one is arrested let alone convicted. The figures are much worse for property crime.

A government that concerns itself with almost everything will do almost nothing right.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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