When the world’s problems come up in conversation, as they often do, there is a tendency for some people to sigh and complain about how “complex” it all is, or to wish that “someone” would figure out how to “solve” all these problems, etc. To which I emphatically say: “We already know what to do. The problem is getting people to do it.” Sure, we don’t have a cure for Cancer, or for AIDS, we haven’t yet invented a political system which is truly democratic, nor have we found a truly efficient solution for fossil fuels, etc. But, we do know how to mitigate most of the problems we face, and there is, in fact, broad consensus amongst experts (at least among those not paid to lie about the facts on TV) as to how most of these problems should be solved. So, in that spirit, here is a list of concrete steps that can be taken to solve some of the world’s problems:
There is also a broad consensus on what the proper reaction to terrorism should be. It is two-pronged: directed at the terrorists themselves and at the reservoir of potential support.
An extensive study by the U.S. General Accounting Office found that the streamlining which would occur in a single payer system would immediately generate $34 billion dollars in savings from insurance overhead alone. It went further to conclude that, ’If the universal coverage and single-payer features of the Canadian system were applied to the United States, the savings in administrative costs alone would be more than enough to finance insurance coverage for the millions of Americans who are currently uninsured.
Just by “consolidating and accelerating” existing trends toward greater efficiency — at an estimated cost of $180 billion over a decade — the US could eliminate oil imports by 2040, according to an RMI report released Monday.
There can be peace only when Israel withdraws from the territories it conquered in 1967, leaving an uninterrupted West Bank as part of a viable Palestine.
Yes, “the devil is in the details”, but I strongly believe that it isn’t solutions we lack — but the will to enact sensible policies in the face of bold face lies and misinformation. The only real problem is how to mobilize people to take political action to create a climate in which serious and honest discussion about these and other issues can take place. Sure, we could use some new ideas, but the fact is that we all seem to spend 90% of our time correcting misperceptions rather than actually dealing with the details of sensible solutions.
Somebody should create a “solutionpedia” — like Wikipedia, but devoted to common-sense solutions to the problems we face.