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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!
This report is an excellent, controversial and refreshing approach to global problems. Daily, the news media and politicians declare that another crisis is urgent. Often, loud, public resolutions accompany these pronouncements. Political blocs form to push through agendas based on those resolutions. The only thing missing from the process is a dispassionate analysis of...
Published on 27 July 2005 by Rolf Dobelli

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11 of 78 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A pretentious and misleading tome
This book is an outcome of the Copenhagen Consensus 2004. Eight economists ranked 38 proposals for spending $50 billion to address ten problems - climate change, communicable diseases, conflicts, access to education, financial instability, government corruption, hunger, migration, sanitation and clean water, and subsidies and trade barriers.
The book proposes that...
Published on 19 Feb. 2005 by William Podmore


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!, 27 July 2005
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Global Crises, Global Solutions (Paperback)
This report is an excellent, controversial and refreshing approach to global problems. Daily, the news media and politicians declare that another crisis is urgent. Often, loud, public resolutions accompany these pronouncements. Political blocs form to push through agendas based on those resolutions. The only thing missing from the process is a dispassionate analysis of whether the solutions make economic sense and, if so, which ones make the most economic sense. This book of compiled essays from the Copenhagen Consensus - as documented in The Economist - provides that missing element. The conference drew from United Nations documents to assemble a list of the most urgent problems facing the world and identified those that presented opportunities for solutions. Then it set the task of identifying solutions that would provide the biggest benefit for the cost, examining 38 proposals for spending $50 billion over four years. Surprisingly, some of the most economically rational projects never make headlines and never turn up in public exhortations. When was the last time you saw someone climbing onto a platform to demand mosquito nets to prevent malaria in Africa? That may not come up nearly as often as adherence to the Kyoto Protocol, which provides a far weaker cost vs. benefit scenario. According to the analysts from Copenhagen, the former seems to be a very sound use of the world's problem-solving resources, but the latter costs a lot and seems to deliver relatively few benefits. We highly recommend this intriguing, sweeping conversation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!, 27 July 2005
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This report is an excellent, controversial and refreshing approach to global problems. Daily, the news media and politicians declare that another crisis is urgent. Often, loud, public resolutions accompany these pronouncements. Political blocs form to push through agendas based on those resolutions. The only thing missing from the process is a dispassionate analysis of whether the solutions make economic sense and, if so, which ones make the most economic sense. This book of compiled essays from the Copenhagen Consensus - as documented in The Economist - provides that missing element. The conference drew from United Nations documents to assemble a list of the most urgent problems facing the world and identified those that presented opportunities for solutions. Then it set the task of identifying solutions that would provide the biggest benefit for the cost, examining 38 proposals for spending $50 billion over four years. Surprisingly, some of the most economically rational projects never make headlines and never turn up in public exhortations. When was the last time you saw someone climbing onto a platform to demand mosquito nets to prevent malaria in Africa? That may not come up nearly as often as adherence to the Kyoto Protocol, which provides a far weaker cost vs. benefit scenario. According to the analysts from Copenhagen, the former seems to be a very sound use of the world's problem-solving resources, but the latter costs a lot and seems to deliver relatively few benefits. We highly recommend this intriguing, sweeping conversation.
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11 of 78 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A pretentious and misleading tome, 19 Feb. 2005
By 
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Global Crises, Global Solutions (Paperback)
This book is an outcome of the Copenhagen Consensus 2004. Eight economists ranked 38 proposals for spending $50 billion to address ten problems - climate change, communicable diseases, conflicts, access to education, financial instability, government corruption, hunger, migration, sanitation and clean water, and subsidies and trade barriers.
The book proposes that these problems - many caused by globalisation, or imperialism as we call it - can only be solved by more globalisation. But are they really global problems, needing global solutions? Aren't these problems spread unevenly across the world's nations? Shouldn't every people make their own assessment of what they must do to improve their lives?
The idea of ranking problems across the world ignores countries' different needs. Each country should decide how much to spend on what. It would be silly to put all their money into preventing diseases, and spend nothing on clean water.
The economists supported public, not private, health services, "Health economists almost universally accept that market failures in health are so great that governments must intervene." But they ranked trade liberalisation third and easier migration for skilled workers tenth. Don't free movements of capital and labour cause problems? As one of them, Jan Pronk, wrote, "Financial and monetary instabilities increase with globalisation, and economic inequality as well" and "Market reforms can lead to ... more rather than less poverty. ... in Africa and South Asia urban and rural poverty increased."
Some of the economists observed that capital controls shielded countries from shocks caused by capital movements. Some noted that migration of professional people from South to North robs developing countries of the fruits of their investment, and reduces wages, and increases profits, in the developed countries. Others believed that the more open the economy, the less unequal and corrupt it was, which would be news to Enron workers in the USA.
The economists ranked at 16th, 17th and 18th proposals to address climate change - two forms of carbon tax, and implementing the Kyoto Pact. "The panel recognised that global warming must be addressed, but agreed that approaches based on too abrupt a shift towards lower emissions of carbon were needlessly expensive."
Finally, though, they did not recognise that some countries do the lot, without aid and without the advice of foreign economists. Cuba, for instance, controls diseases through its universal health services, prevents conflicts, educates all its people, has stable finances, curbs corruption, feeds its people, controls migration, ensures sanitation and clean water for all, and controls pollution. It supports its industries and controls capital and trade. Cuba disproves the book's assumption that capitalism is the best, indeed the only, choice for us all.
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