(Photo from Wall Street Journal)
by Brett Garfinkel
In their Saturday Essay column, The Wall Street Journal asked Peter Singer and Bjorn Lomberg, two global development experts, to respond to this question: Does Helping the Planet Hurt the Poor?
Peter Singer summed up his response as this:
“No, if the west makes sacrifices.”
Bjorn Lomberg summed up his response this way:
“Yes, if we listen to green extremists”
The opposing beliefs of the two are captured in this statement by Bjorn Lomberg:
“…Fortunately, there is a more sensible way forward that could use the same $250 billion that the European Union is expecting to waste annually on ineffective global warming policies. First, we should spend about $100 billion a year on research and development to make green energy cheaper and more widely available. Mr. Singer argues that it is not ethically defensible just to hope for a “technological miracle” that will allow us to end our reliance on fossil fuels…”
Lomberg believes that were going to spend too much money on policies that have to little return on investment and that this capital can be used to help the impoverished with programs that have been time tested.
I would love to open this to the public to see where Heifer supporters stand. Click here for a link to the Wall Street Journal piece.
Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the Heifer in Brooklyn blog.
Why? Because there can never be too many acronyms. But seriously, learn these two; you’re likely to see more of them in the future. They both describe “shifting global economic fortunes,” according to a Wall Street Journal article
BRIC has been around for a while. It refers to large but previously poor countries—specifically Brazil, Russia, India and China—which are now rapidly growing economies with plenty of natural resources that subsequently wield greater power. If BRICs are rising, then HIICs are their counterparts heading the other direction. “Heavily indebted industrialized countries” are those economic giants like the U.S., Europe and Japan that have been slipping due to questionable fiscal policy, overspending and the economic downturn.
From the NYT
‘s Schott’s Vocab
, quoting the WSJ
piece: “[HIICs] are displaying the kinds of investment risks traditionally associated with global backwaters. ‘Developed markets are basically behaving like emerging ones,’ says HSBC’s Richard Yetsenga. And emerging markets are quickly becoming more developed.”
In a recent blog post
about the growing number of chronically hungry in the world, I mentioned the rise in commodity prices from 2006 to 2008 as one culprit. Those spiking commodity prices also effected consumer food prices in the U.S., which rose sharply in 2007 and 2008.
Commodity futures have again been on the rise, as rising production costs suggested an impending increase in prices for consumers. The USDA was forecasting a 1.5-2.5 percent rise in food prices for consumers, but a new estimation lowers it to 0.5-1.5 percent, according to a report
from The Wall Street Journal
‘s MarketWatch. The announcement also quells fears of food inflation. (The predictions were not so rosy
earlier this year.)
While the USDA’s forecast means we can continue to expect low prices at the grocery store, prices for some foods will increase more than the average:
“Consumers can expect to pay more for meat at the store. … In addition, prices for sugar and sweets could be up as much as 3%, dairy products up to 2.5%, and cereals and bakery products as much as 2%, the USDA reported.”