Make Dams and Food, Not War and Ethanol

A dollar of prevention is worth many times that in cure, researcher pleads
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2008 4:55 PM CDT
Make Dams and Food, Not War and Ethanol
A tiger at a wild animal park in northeast China bitten to death by four other cats in a fight stemming from a food shortage.   (AP Photo)

Ethanol is among the "poor solutions to high-profile problems" researcher Bjorn Lomborg blasts in the Wall Street Journal. According to calculations by his Copenhagen Consensus, “carbon mitigation policies” return only 90 cents for every dollar spent; in contrast, he writes, $1 billion spent on tuberculosis would result in an “annual economic benefit” of $30 billion.

Lomborg’s premise is simple: spend smart. “Acknowledging that some investments shouldn't be our top priority isn't the same as saying that the challenges don't exist,” he writes. “It simply means working out how to do the most good with our limited resources.” Economically, the Iraq war pays back 9 cents on every dollar; preventing civil wars could make $9 out of every greenback. (More international aid stories.)

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