Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where to Spend Political Resources

The Copenhagen Consensus Center has come up with a list of the top 30 ways to help the global poor. The most interesting point to me is #2: The Doha Trade Round, whose goal is to lower trade barriers around the world to allow for free and open trade. Not only is little political capital used to complete this goal, but it is regularly opposed by members of both major political parties. Whether in the name of energy independence, food independence, protection of American business, or global working standards, hindering free trade unambiguously hurts the impoverished of the world. In fact, more than 80% of this global benefit would go to the world's poorest countries (this is of course not to say that all countries would not have a net benefit from free trade).

Another thing to notice is that none of these encourage foreign aid to improve governments. I've talked before about the problems with governments giving money to other governments. Many of these can, and should, be done through the private sector.

For the full priority list go here.

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