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 OpinionJournal.com 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:
more at: How to Get the Biggest Bang for 10 Billion Bucks - WSJ.com