James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

10 ways to make a better world

September 15, 2009

Here is the list from New Scientist:

1. Base economic policy on scientific evidence

2. Legalize drugs

3. Give police your DNA

4. Find non-economic measures of success

5. Study climate geo-engineering to see if it would really work

6. Tax carbon and equally distribute the proceeds

7. Embrace genetic engineering

8. Protect the seas

9. Pay people to feed energy back into power grid

10. Move to a four-day work week

Comments

Can’t say I agree with giving DNA to law-enforcement – that just opens the door to widespread abuse in my opinion.

Also, embrcing genetic engineering is not reasonable because not enough work/research has been done on the subject. If you’re talking about figuring out how to replace organs for terminally ill or that vein, OK; if you mean trying to feed the planet with zombie crops and cloning whole beings, not OK.

Lastly, legalizing all drugs is dangerous. Most narcotics are incredibly addictive and finally lethal. Marijuana is not, so maybe it has a place (in private) in our society.

As far as the first point, I’m not sure I understand what the author means…? There is nothing scientific about economics – there is only common sense and the problem is the lack of such for people in positions of authority over our economy. We entrust our livelihoods to corporations, but we mandate them to be, at best, morally confused. To make longer-term fixes to the economy a system of ethics needs to be implemented (AND enforced) and the concept of bourses needs to be reexamined. This may seem way-out there, but maybe a system of hard market-caps can be introduced, allowed to grow at the real rate of inflation. That would limit size but still encourage growth…?

Something to chew on, be it to excoriate me or what have you.

Posted by the Shah | Report as abusive
 

1. “scientific evidence” varies from person to person, especially when statistics are involved.

3. Giving police your DNA wouldn’t do much to curb crime (it might facilitate IDing bodies I guess…). Criminals wouldn’t volunteer it. Police would have to *take* it.

4. Absolutely.

6. Distributing revenue from carbon taxes equally would lead to the government becomeing dependent on the money and working less to fix the problem.

7. Genetic Engineering…of what? Crops? ok. Beef? sure. People? no.

8. Absolutely

10. A 4 day week would make my life happier, but I’m not sure how that translates into a better world overall. It would really only affect people working 5 days a week now. Anyone in the service sector (retail, food services) wouldn’t be impacted at all.

 

Legalize drugs, genetically engineer my lungs so I can hold more smoke in them, and give me a four day work week! SWEET!

Posted by kyle | Report as abusive
 

1) Base economic policy on Constitutional law and true free market principals.

2) Agreed

3) No heavens no! Repeal the patriot act.

4) Agreed and currently in use! :)

5) Ehhh… Ok just STUDY it.

6) No. Seek peace. Think how much we could cut carbon if people got along.

7) No. Do away with political parties.

8) Agreed as well as the land, sky, and space.

9) Perhaps for now until the grid is no longer a necessity.

10) Personal decision but people are far too busy and kids are in school far too long.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive
 

1. Abolish the income tax.
2. Abolish the Democratic and Republican parties.
3. End the war on drugs and re-legalize all drugs.
4. Elect a Libertarian president.
5. Promote bimetallism.
6. Abolish all insurance companies.
7. Outlaw pick-up trucks, baseball caps and country
music.
8. Remove all U.S. troops from every country.
9. Establish nuclear power plants in the U.S.
10.Prohibit anyone over age 62 to drive.

Posted by Mufaso | Report as abusive
 

All but one are not horrible ideas. That DNA idea sucks! We already have a system of law enforcement that is too often heavy handed in their pursuit of good press and glorious statistics. Giving these guys yet another tool to subvert and mishandle will only empower the wrong group. Besides, if forensic science is foolproof and ironclad, how will politicians evade justice?

Posted by RH Pyle | Report as abusive
 

Here is the list from New Scientist:

1. Base economic policy on scientific evidence
They do that now. Then it hits the political process and emotions mess up all the science on both ends.

2. Legalize drugs
Turn it from a cost to society to a revenue source.

3. Give police your DNA
A citizenship database, perhaps? Having it on file is better then a SSN, and moves from claiming to be a citizen, to being a citizen. No DNA, no citizenship? You can’t prove who you are, after all…

4. Find non-economic measures of success
Ah. Pipe dreams are hard to quantify. Exactly how do you compensate someone for being better at making people feel good then someone else?

5. Study climate geo-engineering to see if it would really work
Well, they’re trying. We’ve just got this little problem called ‘self-interest of nations’ in the way.

6. Tax carbon and equally distribute the proceeds
That’s going to happen with national politics at play? Nice dream, however.

7. Embrace genetic engineering
This is nothing more then what nature does, on a faster scale. We should be embracing it.

8. Protect the seas
Water is life. Pollute the seas, everything dies.

9. Pay people to feed energy back into power grid
Standard policy now, gets us away from reliance on central energy producers, a good thing, encourages green energy.

10. Move to a four-day work week
Don’t know about this. Are we moving to a 5-day week, too? I suppose it would create more jobs because less would get done, but you might as well say give everybody a 20% pay cut then, too.

==Bob D.

Posted by bob | Report as abusive
 

1. Yes. Science is one of the most powerful tools created by mankind.We are foolish to base it on anything else.

2. Yes. We waste too much money and too many lives trying to enforce drug “prohibition”. The illegal activities of the black market are worse than supervised access to drugs. Also, must promote different positive behaviours, sports, community, arts etc.

3. No. Do not give police your DNA. Give police your cooperation.

4. OK, or calculate the economic value of nature and include in decision making.

5. Yes, study new geo-engineering technologies, but ACT on reducing the negative effects of existing geo-engineering technologies (greenhouse gases). We need to move orders of magnitude faster than we are. We need a “moon-shot” program for greenhouse gas reduction or alternatively a “war on carbon”.

6. No. Use pollution laws to enforce a sustainable (carbon neutral) economy. If the critics are right and greenhouse gases don’t cause global warming, then we have erred on the side of caution.

7. No. Control genetic engineering. There are many existing and potential benefits, but there are also many dangers. Now, everyone is worried about possible natural mutations of the H1N1 virus. What would happen if man made mutations created pandemic?

8. Yes. The seas are the last “wild west”, anything goes.

9. Yes. Pay for green energy.

10. Yes, also job sharing.

Posted by patrick brousseau | Report as abusive
 

This is a USA biased list, but I agree on all of the items. I would include dismantling all armed forces around the world, melt every weapon and put the unemployed military force to work in africa, asia and south america, on famine, health, education and shelter.
A better world is a world where everybody has the same opportunities.

Posted by Juan Lagarrigue | Report as abusive
 

1. Base economic policy on scientific evidence
This is a galactically stupid idea…Any economist worth his salt will tell you so..

2. Legalize drugs
Actually NO..Also a galactically stupid idea…We must keep certain drugs illegal.

3. Give police your DNA
They can pull it from my cold dead hands.

4. Find non-economic measures of success
I agree, It addition to the free market system

5. Study climate geo-engineering to see if it would really work
I agree

6. Tax carbon and equally distribute the proceeds
Also a galactically stupid idea. Will never work nor happen in my lifetime.

7. Embrace genetic engineering
Maybe – Ethics and Morality issues

8. Protect the seas
We do that now…Not just everyone on this earth does.

9. Pay people to feed energy back into power grid
A great idea.

10. Move to a four-day work week
For who ?

Posted by Reginald Goddard | Report as abusive
 

…under “Political Risk: Here is the list from New Scientist:” – oxymoron or paradox ? Shocking article.

1. Base economic policy on scientific evidence: scissors beats paper.

2. Legalize drugs: yeah right, like in Afghanistan ?

3. Give police your DNA: yeah right and why, guilty before charged ?

4. Find non-economic measures of success: will we be paid for this ?

5. Study climate geo-engineering to see if it would really work: yeah right, and donate 6 billion PC’s for research purposes to include all ?

6. Tax carbon and equally distribute the proceeds: this would require an accounting system to calculate the tax in the first place.

7. Embrace genetic engineering: I only want to play God when making a baby.

8. Protect the seas: too late she cried.

9. Pay people to feed energy back into power grid: they will require a budget to create/store and channel this energy back in the first place.

10. Move to a four-day work week: …and work 10 hours each day, I am in.

Mufaso, unless you are joking or creating feeble debate, you belong in the jungle with Rafiki.(posted September 15th, 2009 10:58 pm GMT).

Posted by Casper Lab | Report as abusive
 

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