Adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, Bjørn Lomborg, writes for Project Syndicate about how we can help fight extreme poverty.
Lomborg cites South Korea’s significant per capita income growth since 1950 as an example of what we should try and emulate in order to help the world’s poorest countries. Many of the United Nations’ proposed 169 development targets for the next 15 years, which are concerned with poverty reduction. However, not all targets are equally good.
Lomborg explains in detail a few of the proposals within the UN development, such as, full employment for all, cash transfers, broadband rollout, freer migration, and lower trade barriers. He believes the single development target that would have the greatest impact on extreme poverty would be the completion of the Doha trade round, which would lower trade barriers between countries.
In order to help the extremely impoverished population of this world, Lomborg states that we must “focus on the targets that promise the biggest impact on the world’s poorest. In fact, our research shows that there are 19 phenomenal targets that – like freer trade – should be prioritized above all others.”
“The final decision about which targets will become global policy will affect the flow of trillion of dollars over the next 15 years.”
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In an op-ed for the New York Times, Ambassador Dennis Ross, one of America’s foremost foreign policy experts on the Middle East, has argued that the Palestinian Authority’s application to the International Criminal Court is only the latest example of its preference for political symbols over true negotiation with Israel that would require concessions.
He calls on European leaders who support Palestinian statehood to stop giving the president of the Authority – Mahmoud Abbas – a free pass, and to put greater pressure on it to seriously consider difficult compromise.
Dennis notes that “Palestinian political culture is rooted in a narrative of injustice; its anticolonialist bent and its deep sense of grievance treats concessions to Israel as illegitimate. Compromise is portrayed as betrayal, and negotiations…will inevitably force any Palestinian leader to challenge his people by making a politically costly decision.”
But going to the United Nations does no such thing, he argues, because “it puts pressure on Israel and requires nothing of the Palestinians.” Resolutions are typically about what Israel must do and what Palestinians should get. If saying yes is costly and doing nothing isn’t, Dennis asks, why should we expect the Palestinians to change course?
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Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Matt Ridley, best-selling author of “The Rational Optimist”, discusses how rich countries can help the poor ones by identifying five “smart aid” priorities.
In September next year, the United Nations plans to choose a list of development goals for the world to meet by the year 2030. What aspirations should it set for this global campaign to improve the lot of the poor, and how should it choose them? Matt argues that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his advisers need an objective way of paring down an otherwise lengthy list of global priorities.
Matt recommends Ban Ki-moon an “unlikely ally”: Bjørn Lomborg, founder the Copenhagen Consensus – an international think tank that tries to prioritise the world’s greatest challenges based on the impact that can be made. Bjørn has invented a useful method for “dispassionately but expertly” deciding how to spend limited funds on different priorities. Every four years, he gathers a group of leading economists to assess the best way to spend money on global development with a simple goal: to create a cost-benefit analysis for each policy and to rank them by their likely effectiveness.
Based on the work of the Copenhagen Consensus group, Matt lays out what his 2030 goals would look like:
- Reduce malnutrition
- Tackle malaria and tuberculosis
- Boost preprimary education
- Provide universal access to sexual and reproductive health
- Expand free trade
Matt argues that although these aren’t the world’s biggest problems, these are the problems for which each dollar spent on aid generates the most benefit.
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