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Thursday, February 27, 2014

What do the People Say they Want (from probably the largest global survey ever)?

Survey says, overwhelmingly, a good quality education. Better healthcare is number 2, followed up by better job opportunities. But last on the list is, action on climate change.

The Washington Post reports on real-time results from an ongoing survey by the UN that is answered by over 1.4 million people over the world. The data is accessible here. Play around with it; it's pretty cool.

I've always seen the problem of climate change as the same problem of why the common room in shared apartments is always the dirtiest. The tenants are aware of it, even despise it, but nobody wants to start cleaning up because the costs of doing so are private, while the benefits are shared by all. And so is it with climate change: cleaning up entails costs whose benefits are probably realized far in the future when the present generation is dead. Unilateral action by countries to tackle climate change entails costs, while the benefits are shared by all.

Now if only there was such a thing as a world government... The world is in need of global citizens.

HT to Ian Thorpe, @ithorpe.


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